Only needing to finish 11th or higher, Aaron Bowering limped home 10th at the weekend’s South West Stages to clinch the 2017 MRF Tyres South Australian Rally drivers’ championship.
This was despite a bruising encounter with a kangaroo in his Subaru Impreza WRX.
Gary Brown in a Mitsubishi Galant VR4 won the event by almost three minutes from his nearest rival, with his co-driver Mike Dale taking the navigators’ title.
The final round of the SARC was a blind (non pacenoted) event based out of Heywood in Victoria, using four stages repeated twice – once in daylight before a repeat loop under the stars.
Bowering entered the event with Ross Shephard calling the corners, with his regular co-driver, Nathan Lowe, directing this event and subsequently sacrificing his own championship.
The pair was switched on from the very start with a level of commitment that had to be seen to be believed, setting a blistering time on the opening 19km stage which saw them over a minute clear of Brown/Dale. They would go on to win the opening four stages.
Behind them, the Galant VR4 of Paul Heenan and Lisi Phillips lost fifth gear on SS1 before the gearbox eventually gave up, ending their run in the top five.
The Mitsubishi Lancer of David McDonough and David Langfield fared little better with a broken oil line ending their event early.
Entertaining the spectators with plenty of spectacular slides, speed and consistency awarded Shane Alker and Karien Heimsohn a sensational second outright in their Nissan 200SX, with Neil and Andrea Gehan rounding out the podium in a Subaru Impreza WRX.
Paul Knopka/Molly Spalding (Subaru) and Marc Butler/Peter Sims (Honda) completed the top five.
Photos: Craig O'Brien
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