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The Townsville City Autosports Club Inc. couldn’t have asked for more. Glorious blue skies and a light sea breeze greeted the 22 rally starved competitors on the morning of Wrighty’s Cardwell Classic Rally.

Officials were briefed and then sent out to man the stages while service crews did last minute checks on tyre pressures, fuel load and making sure all things important were tight and right.

Competitors had a drivers briefing at 9.30am and then suited up to do battle over 12 stages of the Cardwell forestry roads which were smooth and fast on some sections and very unforgiving on others. There was a very high attrition rate which saw only 12 cars start stage 8.

Gerard McConkey from Brisbane came up to navigate for Shane Ogilvie in the big V8 powered Ford Maverick ute and couldn’t believe how high he was in the air compared to the normal style of rally car he sits in, but it got better after they started as the Maverick had a mechanical failure which put the ute on its drivers side leaving Gerard getting a fear of heights strapped in the passengers side.

In the afternoon the breeze dropped off creating a dust issue for some of the tailenders in the field. It didn’t seem to bother Nathan Mullins, even though he was seeded 17th. With some expert guidance from his navigator Wade Hickey, they strung together very competitive times, even blitzing the last night stage by ten seconds over third  place and 22 seconds over first place to finish second outright on the day.

Greg Van Dinter / Richard Wall took first outright after a couple of their closest rivals fell by the wayside with mechanical issues leaving them in a league of their own. Gary Meehan and his long time navigator of 30 plus years Greg Gifford from Sydney had a bit of luck finishing third outright as fourth place was only 22 seconds behind with a Terratrip not working to give them the distances to each call of the notes.

The never give up award had to go to Sam Woodger and Peter Trezona in their Datsun 1600 which broke a diff cradle on the first stage. They limped back to service park and welded it back up and then went out again and broke it again, back to service park and this time Sam cut a piece of steel off his trailer and fabricated a new cradle and off they went again. On stage 9 they broke a half shaft in the driveline and Sam changed it on the side of the road with a spare he always carries and only had one car pass him before he got going again.

The small community of Cardwell benefited from the influx of people over the weekend and the local Lions club did well catering for the whole event including the presentation dinner. One band of volunteers who have made all of our club rallies and hillclimbs a success are the Townsville Amateur Radio club who provide communication ensuring all of our competitors are monitored throughout the stages ensuring their safety in case of an incident requiring a quick response from the rally directors. The club thanks Blue and his band of merry helpers.

For full results go to www.tcac.net.au

Results: 

Outright Totals for the 12 stages:
 
1st Outright – Greg Van Dinter / Richard Wall – Ford Escort Mk2; 1h 17m 45 s
 
2cnd Outright – Nathan Mullins / Wade Hickey – R30 Skyline; 1h 21m 52 s
 
3rd Outright – Gary Meehan / Greg Gifford – Datsun 180B SSS; 1h 22m 18s
 
Class placings:
 
P3:
1st – Gary Meehan / Greg Gifford – Datsun 180B SSS; 1h 22m 18s
 
2cnd  – Leif Hickey / Grant Cooper – 1981 Mazda 626; 1h 35m 39s
 
P4:
1st  – Greg Van Dinter / Richard Wall – Ford Escort Mk2; 1h 17m 45 s
 
2cnd  – Nathan Mullins / Wade Hickey – R30 Skyline; 1h 21m 52 s
 
3rd  – Graham Struber / Neil Jaunzems – VS Commodore; 1h 25m 07s
 
3C:
1st – Bruce McCarthy / Chris Harrison – Mitsubishi Starion; 1h 22m 40s
 
2cnd – Sam Woodger / Peter Trezona – Datsun 1600; 1h 53m 08s
 
3rd – Ross Johnson / Janet Johnson – Toyota Corolla; 2h 01m 35s

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