The Bega Valley Rally held on the June long weekend was a hotly contested event with a staggering seven championship divisions on offer to keen competitors from NSW, VIC and the ACT.

This year there were over fifty entries.  Ten stages were included in the day’s itinerary.  The addition of two extra stages for this year’s event allowed a greater variation in the length of the stages compared to last year, varying from around 5km to 34 km.

In total, the event was 435km, of which 175km (40%) was competitive.

For the Victorian Rally Championship (VRC) division, the event was conducted in two heats (each consisting of 5 stages) of 78km and 96km competitive.  Stage lengths were: 13.8 km, 5.6 km, 22.2 km, 19.4 km, 17.3 km, 19.9 km, 9.4 km, 19.8 km, 33.4 km, 13.8 km.

The Rally Team of David Nutter and Jenna Kelley and the David Nutter Ford and Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars Service Crew arrived in the beautiful seaside town of Eden on Friday evening and finalised preparations on Saturday.  Team photographer Nathan Hubble from organised a team photo shoot at Snug Wharf on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday morning dawned cloudy with some light drizzle as the team headed to the start location at the Wharf and relaxed with some friends and a good hearty breakfast.  At 8:26am it was time to go.

The stages were wet and slippery for most of the day.  It was surprising to see there weren’t many cars off the road during the event.  Most DNF’s were mechanical.

David and Jenna had an uneventful morning with the car performing well apart for a mystery electronic glitch causing a misfires.  Servicing was easy for the eager service crew, with only minor issues to be sorted out including the misfiring that had caused loss of power and speed.

After the third service and refuel pit stop, the crew lined up near the start control to head out for the final two stages.  The David Nutter Ford and Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars Service Crew had presented the car beautifully, clean of mud, for the final leg.  As the crew arrived to book in they were told Stage 9 had been cancelled as it was too dangerous.  They were given a book out time, and then immediately came back into the service park (much to their service crew’s alarm) to wait for 40 minutes before transporting to the final stage of the rally, Stage 10.  The delay was so all competitors competed the last stage in the dark.

Eventually, the team were on their way again and arrived at the start of the final stage.  The stage was very sloppy and David drove it well.  Approximately ten km’s from the end of the stage, there was a high pitched screeching noise.  The crew at first thought perhaps a guard was rubbing on something, however when they began to lose drive, they knew it was more serious.

“The noises grew very loud and crunchy.  I wasn’t sure that David could hear me so I began repeating calls and letting him know how far the end of the stage was, with each intermediate distance I called,” said Jenna.

“Something kaput here, hardly any drive at all.  Lots of crunchy noises, have to drive gently, keep up the momentum, have to cruse through the stage, save gear changes, stay in 4th gear, including 2nd or 3rd or 5th corners to save stress on the box & clutch & diff & shafts,” David yelled out during the stage above all the nasty noises.

Finally, the team arrived at the finish of the stage where a group of spectators were gathered, discussing the potential diagnosis.  Jenna received the stage time of 10m:50s much to the surprise of the crew considering the lack of drive, (most other crews were in the 9 minutes) and then made the first directional call for the trip back to Parc Ferme.

David had a difficult time getting the car to move forward, especially across the highway.  The crew’s biggest concern was how they were going to tackle the hills and roundabouts.  David continued to drive and back off to get drive, then drive and back off the entire way to keep the car moving.

“I was so happy to arrive at the finish and have the car parked in Parc Ferme.  It meant that even though we didn’t place as well as we expected, the final result of 19th Outright for the combined interstate event was a very pleasant surprise!” said Jenna.

“In the Victorian Rally Championships division we placed 11th outright!  Well done to us!” said David.

The Rally Team would like to thank the following sponsors who make their rallying possible: David Nutter Ford Used Cars, Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars, Castrol, Hayman Reece Tow Products, David Nutter Subaru Parts & Service, Sign Active, The Tint Joint, The Layne Beachley Aim For the Stars Foundation, plus the series sponsor, Exedy clutches and the Melbourne University Car Club Team, the David Nutter Ford and Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars Service Crew and all the volunteer officials and directing team.

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