Round 3 of the EXEDY Victorian Rally Championship & BATRONIC Hyundai Excel Series, the George Derrick Memorial Rally, run on Saturday 16th July, was based in the picturesque town of Avoca.

The team arrived in Avoca on Friday afternoon before final preparations and road testing of the car plus driving light set up took place that afternoon.

Saturday morning started off a little frosty as competitors prepared for a full day of racing.  Teams braved the cold and bombarded the local businesses for breakfast and hot coffee at the local pie shop that featured about forty varieties (including crocodile pie), before attending the driver’s briefing.  Was this a sign of things to come, where a stump would ‘bite’ the car?

The first car was off at 10am with the team of David Nutter and Jenna Kelley seeded high and scheduled to start at 10:10am.  The team set off confidently and as there was a short transport and no warm up stage it, it was a matter of dialling in as fast as possible.  The first stage saw the team settle into the event on a twisty and narrow stage.

Stage two was an improvement with some nice, smooth driving from David. Heading back to Avoca for a fifteen minute service break including fuel top up, the crew made some minor adjustments and refuelled the car before the team set off again.

Stage three began with the team really getting on song into the event. However, 600 metres into the stage, the triple apex of a high speed corner with a soft graded water run off channel caught the team out and the car slid on the damp gravel and went a little wide.

A misplaced tree stump at the edge of the road caught the front left corner of the car, ripping the stump out of the ground and causing the car to jump over it, damaging the wheel and suspension enough to impede further forward progress.

“Out of a tightly packed competitive field of 35 cars, 7 (or 20% of the field) had a challenging time in the same hard to see, tightening right hander, with two going straight ahead & beaching on the gravel and another four going extra wide into, or over the edge of the road nearly joining us!  We’d rather have been in the 80% that got around without a tricky outcome,” quipped David.

“I think we might have been taking Layne Beachley’s advice too literally by Aiming for the Stars with the stump jumping!” joked Jenna.

Some great driving saw Tim Roberts from the Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars workshop, with Graham McGrath on board, finish Heat one in 10th and over all in 12th position, ahead of some more powerful cars.

Other team retirement reasons included items from the usual excuse list, like a broken diff, gearbox, suspension, exhaust and other minor mechanical impediments.

The Service crew happily lent the Raymond Team parts & equipment for the second event in a row, allowing them to proceed.

“Just wait till they get the invoice,” David said, rubbing his hands together with a big smile.

The trusty service crew from the Rally Team workshops at David Nutter Ford & Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars towed the car out of the stage and packed it on it’s way ready for a few needy repairs and preparation for the next event the Akademos (which is pace-noted) to be run near Thornton, on October 15th.

Due to the early retirement, David and the Team also had an opportunity to test the fantastic local Pyrenees Reds.

The Rally Team would like to thank;

David Nutter Ford Used Cars, Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars, Castrol, Hayman Reece Towing Products, Hayman Reece Berwick, 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 CCRMIT Car Club Team, Hubble Photografix, Golly Photo Motorsport Photography, Craig O’Brien Photography, the David Nutter Ford and Berwick Volkswagen Used Cars Service Crew and all the volunteer officials and directing team.

Photos courtesy of Golly Photos and Craig O’Brien

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