Dwyer dominates SARC field at Rally SA
Mitsubishi EVO VI crew Declan Dwyer and Craig Adams have dominated the MRF Tyres S.A. Rally Championship component of Lightforce Rally SA, fastest in all 10 stages.
Their winning margin over the two heats was a total of three minutes 28 seconds.
The shorter format this year saw the SARC crews not run during the day on Saturday, using only the four night stages used by the ARC competitors.
With two runs each of Goldfields and Trial Hill Reversed (up), Dwyer grabbed the lead from the beginning, from NT’s Ben Kittle and Caroline Vale (EVO X), points leaders Aaron Bowering and Nathan Lowe (Subaru WRX), Dave McDonough and Darren Masters (EVO VI) and Matt Selley and Hamish McKendrick (Ford Escort Mk II).
Selley was also having fun chasing Frank Kelley’s similar Escort in ARC Classic.
First car to strike trouble was Stephen Mee and Matthew Harriot’s 2WD Corolla with a broken driveshaft.
Sitting seventh outright and second 2WD, Marc Butler and Peter Sims’ Honda Civic lost time with a stick through the radiator, losing time on Trial Hill but coming back after repairs to set respectable times.
Next to strike trouble was Bowering, with a flat tyre on the rerun of Goldfields, whilst McDonough was out from third position with a broken driveshaft.
Ross Kingham and Lisi Phillips’ usually very reliable Volvo 242, dropped out with engine problems.
Dwyer finished the night one minute 10 seconds ahead of Kittle with Selley third 43 seconds behind, but 11 seconds ahead of Gary Brown and Mike Dale (Mitsubishi Galant VR4).
For Heat 2 on Sunday there were six stages, consisting of two each of Crawford and Corryton Park and one each of Telephone Road and Buddys.
McDonough’s car had been repaired but co-driver Masters fell ill overnight and was replaced by Dave Langfield. Neglecting to inform the stewards of the change saw them excluded from the results.
Butler deranged the rear suspension of the Civic on a bank on the opening Crawford, but pushed on for the rest of the event, deciding he would lose less time to do that rather than do repairs.
The pair were to receive the Atlantic Oils Spirit of the Event award for their determined efforts each day.
Dwyer led from Brown, Kittle and Bowering, with McDonough suffering power steering problems on Telephone Road, rejoining after service
The second run through Crawford saw fifth-placed Ben Calder and John Caldicott’s WRX STi out after hitting a rock and tearing out brake and clutch lines whilst ninth-placed Dale Cagney and Ken Moore’s EVO III retired with suspension problems.
McDonough returned to set second-fastest time to Dwyer on the first run through Corryton Park, the event’s longest stage, ahead of Kittle and Selley.
The final stage, also through Corryton Park, saw Dwyer finish the day two minutes 17 seconds from Brown,10 seconds in front of Kittle and Bowering and Selley over two minutes back.
The final round of the MRF Tyres S.A. Rally Championship is the South West Stages Rally in Heywood, Victoria on 8 October.
With bonus points on offer, Bowering and Lowe’s points lead is far from safe.
Photos: John Lemm and Frank Kutsche