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The Central Coast’s leading rally team is on a high as they head for this weekend’s final round of this year’s Australian Rally Championship, secure in the knowledge they have already achieved their dream.

Wyong-based couple John Mitchell and Jo Cadman have been officially recognised as the 2013 4WD Australian Rally Champions, the title being the culmination of a year of incredibly hard work in the sub-category of the Australian Rally Championship.

Their victory came after they finished first in class during the Australian round of the World Rally Championship, which was run on the Coffs Coast in September 12-15.

The pair had poured their resources into repairs and maintenance on their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 but it was looking as if they would not make the start at Coffs because they ran out of money. Then a last-ditch effort at ‘crowd funding’ through the ‘GoFundMe’ website was a huge success, giving them enough to pay for fuel and tyres, and cover food and accommodation for the team.

“It was the most amazing situation – we just couldn’t believe the response we had, not just from friends and family as you might hope, but also from complete strangers,” says Jo Cadman.

“We were overwhelmed by their generosity, and as a token of our gratitude we have left all the names on the bonnet of the car so they can enjoy Rally Victoria – the final found of this year’s series – with us.

“Yes, we already have the title in the bag, which is a dream come true for both of us, but despite the pressure being off, we feel we need to be there. We need to be out the front and cross the finish line and prove we are champions – and then we want to celebrate properly with all the people who have helped us achieve this!”

While funding is still very tight, Cadman says she and Mitchell are totally focussed on getting to Victoria and achieving this goal. Both have spent years – and a lot of money – making it to this point.

“To be honest, I don’t think either of us really believes yet that we are the champions. It wasn’t announced until after Rally Australia had finished and while we enjoyed the champagne on the podium at the event, that was in the belief that we had simply won our class at the event – not that we were also the outright category winners for the year.

“We are so looking forward to competing in Victoria, knowing in our hearts that the dream we’ve shared with our amazing team for so long is now a reality. It will be fantastic!”

Mitchell, an operations manager, and Cadman, a television production executive, have been together for 14 years and have a seven-year-old son, Harrison, who will be at the event with them. Mitchell is a dual NSW State Rally Championship winner, having won the title first in 1999, and then again in 2010, with Cadman.

Rally Victoria will be run over two days (November 15-16) in West Gippsland’s Shire of Baw Baw, 100km east of Melbourne. The event is centred around Lardner Park in the town of Warragul. It’s the final round of this year’s six-event series.

Photo: John Doutch

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