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Brothers Brayden and Blake Wilson have won their first-ever rally, the SR Automotive Manumbar Rally, the second round of the P3 Solutions Queensland Rally Championship. The young pair showed maturity and speed beyond their years, steering their new Mitsubishi Evo 9 to victory amongst a stellar field of competitors. The rally always has a sweet spot amongst rally crews, attracting well over 40 entries of quality teams, boosted by a range of new and returning teams coming back to the sport. Entries came from as far north as Townsville, and as south as Armidale for the SE Queensland location. Starting in Nanango and finishing in Manumbar, cars tackled over 120km of gravel roads that provided both thrills and a serious challenge for those wanting the championship. Second place for the event, and first 2WD, was the talented Ryan Smart, with Hugh Reardon-Smith, in a classic Datsun Stanza. Ryan gained the respect of his peers in an outstanding performance.

Ryan Smart in his Datsun Stanza. Photo: CH Images

Third outright were Melinda Bergmann and Larisa Biggar in a Mitsubishi Evo 9, keeping out of trouble while maintaining the pace. Fourth were Marius Swart and Alan Stean driving their VW Polo S2000, who managed without a working clutch for the final stage, but still banked valuable championship points. A number of contenders suffered troubles throughout the day. Glen Brinkman and Harvey Smith (Mitsubishi Evo 9) were leading on the penultimate stage, with pressure from Wilson behind, however, a puncture on the last stage meant they came away with fifth. Guiding their immaculately prepared BMW E30 for the Clubman win was experienced navigator-turned-driver Dominic Corkeron, with Dennis Neagle by his side. Second was Rhys Simmons and Mick Baker in a Hyundai Excel, with third Craig Mole and Simon Teed (Datsun 1600).

Melissa Bergmann was an impressive third. Photo: CH Images

It was a close battle for the Novice category. Townville pair Christopher Carney and Lacey Wade (Toyota Corolla) were leading until they went off road, failing to finish the final stage. Michelle Van Der Wilk (with Kevin O'Connor) was applying the pressure and achieved her second victory in as many rallies in her Subaru. Newcomers Gary Dutton and Jennifer Garth (Toyota Celica) finished second, and Marcus Connelly and Ray Priest (Datsun 1600) rounded out third. The fastest Junior driver went to Ryan Williams in a Hyundai Excel, and fastest Junior Co-driver, was Blake Wilson. The event organisers, Brisbane Sporting Car Club, had plenty to manage considering a multi-venue event with a large field, but handled the challenge in a manner that earned high praise from competitors, volunteers and the local communities. The Wilson brothers are now leading the P3 Solutions Qld Rally Championship on 45 points, with Swart/Stean on 38 and Bergmann/Biggar 29. The next round will move just south of the border to Bonalbo for the Accent Benchtops Working Dog Rally, which will also be a round of the MTA NSW Rally Championship.
  • Report: Larisa Biggar
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