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Former Australian Privateer Rally Champion, Brad Goldsbrough, proved far too good for the strong 53 car field that started last weekend’s two-day AASA Australian Rally Championship opener, the Bathurst RSL Club Rally of Bathurst

With his brother Ashley navigating, Goldsbrough was a class act, driving his older Datsun 1600 in the event’s Classic category from #5 starting position. He was fastest on the day’s first special stage by 38 seconds, a lead he held until the finish of the event on Sunday

Second outright in only his sixth rally was Sunny Corner youngster Chris Schofield, with his partner, Olivia Munro, also in a Datsun 1600. He put in a great effort to show he's a star of the future. The Schofield team had very little sleep on Saturday evening, as they almost entirely rebuilt the car to have it ready for Sunday.

Sydney driver Jeff David was also impressive, finishing third in a Porsche 911, with Grant Geelan his navigator

After a 3 minute 06 second overnight lead, the hard charging Goldsbrough broke the backs of the remaining competitors on Sunday in the first special stage of the day, the gruelling 50km Special Stage 11. His time of 34 minutes 20 seconds was a full 45 seconds faster then next best, Jeff David.

The 4WD turbo challenge started to fade from the first stage, when Scott Kuhner blew a turbo in his Mitsubishi Evo 5, and international star Ron Cremen (after starting car 1) had a gearbox failure in his Evo 6 and retired after Saturday’s seventh special stage after setting some very fast stage times.

Bathurst driver, Gareth Morgan Thomas, had problems as well, but it wasn't his Subaru WRX STI that caused his demise. His navigator, David Brown, had a bad bout of car sickness and on SS4 they withdrew, only to find a replacement navigator in Mathew Ruggles, so they continued two stages down and out of contention

For Joe Chapman and his father, John Chapman, both from Bathurst, it was a cruel blow to have a turbo blow on their WRX STi Subaru on Saturday in the tenth and final stage, after they had been recording some very tidy times. They replaced the turbo overnight, but in the first stage on Sunday morning found an oil leak, which indicated a second turbo was about to  go, so they retired

The attrition was very high, with only 27 of the 53 starters completing the entire course, although the fire tracks within the Sunny Corner State forest were not to blame, according to experienced Bathurst navigator and director David Robinson, who had finished a fine 18th outright with his 20 year old son, Andrew, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer

"I have been in that forest a lot in rallies, and I don’t think I've seen it look better. Sure, it's tough and hard, it always has been, but you can't blame the conditions for the attrition,” Robinson said.

“Instead, look at the retirements, there was Catty (David Catt), and he was the only one who crashed. The majority of retirements were just mechanical failures."

After the event, competitors were quick to heap praise on AMSAG rally director David Aitchison on a job well done, all saying how well organised the event was.

While the Goldsbroughs won the event outright, they also lead the Classic section of the AASA Australian Rally Championship, ahead of Schofield/Munro, and David/Geelan in third

The 4-wheel drive modern category is led by Gerard Gotch and Rodger Peterson (Subaru Impreza WRX), ahead of John Joyner/Chris Warwick (Evo 6), and Morgan-Thomas/David Brown.


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