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Glenn Brinkman and Steve Richardson mirrored the achievements of the Brisbane Lions, by winning their third Gallangowan event in as many years.

The Gallangowan Rally, long considered the ‘grand final’ of the Queensland year, was not a round of the state championship for 2007, but still ended the year on a high with a good field and great rally roads.

The Goodyear AutoCare Sumner Park Rally, sponsored by John Spencer, was a 100 kilometre ‘club’ rally with just 13km of liaison to form a tight and challenging event.

Brinkmann and Richardson’s effort was more amazing, considering this was also achieved using the third different car in three years. Having sold his immaculate Evolution 9 during the week, Brinkmann bought a ‘stop-gap’ Evo 6 from Trevor Stilling to keep rallying while the first batch of Evo 10s make their way to Oz.

Taking a well-deserved second place in the recently acquired ex-Steve Shepheard Evo 6 was Erik Johnsson/Drew Crossley. Johnsson picked up the ’07 QRC-winning car when Shepheard also elected to order an Evo 10 for the ’08 season.

Rounding out the top three was NSW driver Joanne O’Dell, who had experienced local co-driver Tony Best in the left hand seat of her Evo. 1. Joanne’s result is the first time a woman driver has been on the podium at Gallangowan.

The organising committee for this rally wanted a ‘feel-good’ event to end the year, and with the QRC status lifted, it opened the rally to include ‘Schedule R’ cars, of which there were a few.

The event at Gallangowan (2 hours north of Brisbane) was designed to be a ‘fun event’, and included an innovative prologue event to determine the final starting order. 48 entries were received, of which 46 excited teams arrived in Gallangowan on Saturday to go rallying for the last time this year.

The Gallangowan Oval soon took on the vibe of the rally ‘circus’ as people and cars started arriving to set up their camps. While the day looked like it would produce a few showers (which it did) the area was pleasingly comfortable, unlike some past years with imposing summer heat.

A leisurely start to the day saw the prologue kick off at 2pm, to have the field sorted and seeded for the 4pm commencement of competition. On one of the better sections of road around Gallangowan, the top cars set the pace with Brinkman, John Spencer/Alan Stean (Datsun 1600) and Matt van Tuinen/Margot Knowles (WRX) equalling for the best time. Dave Gaines/Nikki Doyle (240K) were next up, followed by O’Dell, then another three crews equal on times.
Down the field, Ryan and Rebecca Smart (Datsun 180B) caused a shock when they also met the quickest time, while Ross Cox/Bernie O’Halloran (VR4) recorded the third quickest time overall. Smart and Cox were running the Clubman rally, and remained in that group.

Sadly, Wes Depper and Peter Clydesdale (Datsun 1600) rolled on the prologue stage and were to go no further.

An intermittent shower kept everything cool, and settled what little dust there was as the revised starting order readied themselves. The route was comprised of three different stages, each run twice to offer up 108 competitive kilometres. The stage names were in deference to past Clerks-of-Course with SS1/4 called ‘Crackles’ (Craig Porter), SS2/5 ‘Beauty Baz’ (Barry Neuendorff) and SS3/6 ‘Rev Reddiex’ (Jim Reddiex).

Interestingly the second test was a staggering 37 kilometres long, combining fast straights and some twisty, tight forestry roads. This stage would prove to be the undoing of a number of co-drivers.

Brinkman settled into his new car quickly with a win on the opening stage, taking an 8 second lead over Johnsson – who was also revelling in the newfound speed and handling (and braking) of his Evo. 6. Positions 2-6 were separated by single seconds.

Peter Glennie/Bob Carpenter were impressing the spectators in the 400hp Toyota Landcruiser off-roader. Peter was a past winner at Gallangowan and makes an occasional return to the event.

SS2 saw the retirement of Rob Dixon/Peta Davies (Datsun 1600) who were listed as having “..no rear end..”!! Matt van Tuinen turned the tables on the long stage with a solid win over Brinkmann, with Spencer in third in his ‘classic’ mega-horsepower Datsun.

Richard Anderson/Martin Darch had overheating problems in their Alfa Romeo with the inside of the car becoming a green-tinged steam-bath!
Gaines/Doyle were doing their usual amazing feats in the 240K, while Dave Ovenden/Cate Kelly were also having a strong run in their RX2.

Similarly Jamie Lawson/Chris Munro were showing a turn of speed in their Celica GT4 that kept them at the pointy end of the field. While van Tuinen’s good effort faded in turbo smoke on the way back to service, Brinkman followed up with a stage win on SS3 to lead the field into the regroup.

Gaines took a great runner-up position on the stage, in front of Johnsson.
Unfortunately the sponsor’s run also came to an end when Spencer’s Datsun showed signs of a loose flywheel and his impressive Datsun was parked for the rest of the day. One day, he’ll finish a Gallangowan rally!!! Steve Allmark/Mario Czornyi retired the pretty little Renault Clio ‘pocket-rocket’ as well with engine mount problems.
Of the Clubmans, Smart opened his account with a win on SS1, but also retired on the long stage with engine problems to hand the lead to Ross Cox in his VR4.

Cox took a strong win on SS2 over Wayne Menzies/Chris Baxter (Celica) and followed up to claim SS3 – establishing a good lead. Alan Clunes/Gavin Wieland were showing their usual speed and consistency to challenge strongly in their ‘Digga’ Mazda 323GTR. Gideon Street/Daniel Grisinger retired their nice Peugeot 306 during this stage.

At the end of the daylight stages, the outright lead was held by Brinkman/Richardson in the ‘main event’ and Cox/O’Halloran in the Clubman event.

Brinkman/Richardson – 35:43
Johnsson/Crossley – 36:42
Gaines/Doyle – 36:47
O’Dell/Best – 37:24
Ovenden/Kelly – 38:16

Of the Clubmans, the running order was:
Cox/O’Halloran – 38:15
Menzies/Baxter – 39:49
Clunes/Wieland – 40:28
Casper/Malpas (Mazda 323) – 41:18
Penfold/Bolt (1600) – 41:39

The Silverstone Competition Tyres Gemini Rally Series was also well represented on the weekend, and the progress scores for the one-make series was:

Lawrence/Nunn – 41:26
Tim Dillon/Adrian Dillon – 42:20
Ed Williams/Joseph Brennan – 42:30
Nathanial Dillon/Graeme Offer – 43:02
Grant Brecknell/Aiden Brecknell – 44:58

Following the service and re-group the road book took the field back over the same stages in the same order.

Other retirements to that point included Mick Oldano/Eric Giles with engine problems in his RX2 and Ben Lynagh/Rex Morris (Gemini) with no lights.
Brinkman continued on his merry way as he done in the past with complete reliability, forging a rock-solid lead and increasing his margin by nearly another minute over the long 37 km SS5.

In a brilliant display Gaines was the best of the rest, sitting in second outright by the end of SS5 in the Datsun 240K.

With a cracking time on SS5, he had overtaken Erik Johnsson…….then on the last stage, as they, it all turned pear-shaped.

With just 10 kilometres to go, the crew was unable to finish the stage or the event – retiring in a sad finish to a great day. Johnsson, O’Dell, Ovenden and Lawson simply moved up a notch to round out the top five. The Datsun 1600 of John Keen/Jason Lea also retired on this stage after sitting in the top 20.

At the rally finish back at Gallangowan, Brinkman/Richardson had wrapped up their triple-treat of Gallangowan wins. Although this year’s rally was not a championship event, the honour of winning will remain an achievement – as every finish at Gallangowan becomes.

Johnson/Crossley combined well in the ex-GSA championship-winning car, and Steve Shepheard was on hand during the rally as ‘technical advisor’ to Erik – also very happy to see the vehicle continue on its successful way. Also fighting hard inside the top ten were the diversely different cars of Mike and Matt Bailey in a newly acquired ex-Murfett Nissan Pulsar GTi-R, and Anthony Tanzer/Lee Wilson in their Mark 1 Escort 1600.

To add to the excitement of the event, the 10th place-getter was the RX7 of Danial and Aamee Hetherman – nephew and niece of the event secretary Sheridan and part of the rallying Hetherman clan.

In the Clubman Rally, Ross Cox/Bernie O’Halloran took their VR4 to top place, followed by Wayne Menzies/Chris Baxter and Allan Clunes/Gavin Wieland.

This result should award Cox the 2007 Clubman Series drivers’ title.
Kent Lawrence/Chris Nunn took the Gemini honours, over Tim and Adrian Dillon and Ed Williams/Joseph Brennan.

The presentation was extremely well-attended at a late hour, but all were very well-behaved and extremely appreciative of the efforts put in by all of the organisers in delivering such an enjoyable event.

The catchcry for this rally was ‘Because you’re never too old!” – promoting the fun aspect of rallying that some may think has gone out of the sport.

Over a solid 108 kms of top rally roads the event offered everything including the opportunity for 2 young drivers on ‘L’ plates to compete safely (and legally) and finish their first rally. Congratulations to Clayton Chapman and Matt Daniels.

RESULTS
1. Glenn Brinkman/Steve Richardson, Evo 6, 1:12:15
2. Erik Johnsson/Drew Crossley, Evo 6, 1:16:01
3. Joanne O’Dell/Tony Best, Evo 1, 1:16:57
4. Dave Ovenden/Cate Kelly, RX2, 1:19:08
5. Jamie Lawson/Chris Munro, GT4, 1:20:07
6. Peter Glennie/Bob Carpenter, L’Cruiser, 1:20:33
7. Darren Jones/Julie Woodworth, Skyline, 1:20:39
8. Mike Bailey/Matt Bailey, Pulsar GTiR, 1:21:16
9. Anthony Tanzer/Lee Wilson, Escort, 1:21:22
10. Danial Hetherman/Aamee Hetherman, RX7, 1:23:35

CLUBMAN SERIES EVENT
1. Ross Cox/Bernie O’Halloran, VR4, 1:19:41
2. Wayne Menzies/Chris Baxter, Celica, 1:21:08
3. Allan Clunes/Gavin Wieland, 323GTR, 1:21:24
4. Marty Penfold/Scott Bolt, Datsun 1600, 1:23:42
5. Mark Casper/Mark Malpas, Mazda 323, 1:24:17

GEMINI CHALLENGE
1. Kent Lawrence/Chris Nunn, Gemini, 1:24:06
2. Tim Dillon/Adrian Dillon, Gemini, 1:25:12
3. Ed Williams/Joseph Brennan, Gemini, 1:26:05


 

 

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