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Gore driver Andrew Graves won the recent 2016 Dusky Forest Rally in West Otago.

Andrew and Hayden Graves on the way to victory in the 2016 Dusky Forest Rally. Photo: Becky Ladbrook, Fast Exposure

Graves, with his 13 year old son Hayden co-driving, took a 30 second victory in the Eastern Southland Car Club's Clubmans Rally in his Mitsubishi EVO 3 over Carter Strang/Stewart Robbie of Wallacetown in an EVO 6, with another Gore pairing, David Kirk and Michael Kelly third, also in an EVO 6.

Graves took the lead after the opening stage of the MLT/Heartland Hotels/Ernslaw One Ltd supported event and had built a 14 second margin over Strang before the Wallacetown driver struck problems in the fourth stage. Strang bounced back to win the fifth and final stage, the only one not won by Graves.

Graves was pleased to take back-to-back wins after winning the Lawrence Rally just a fortnight ago.

"Once again I had a good fight with Carter. He struck problems in Stage 4 which gave us a bit more time on him. It was great to get two wins back-to-back, great for the car, the team and the sponsors.

“It's good to have the car back on the trailer in one piece after two good results and great to have Hayden in the co-driver’s seat. The club ran an amazing event in a small space on a beautiful sunny day."

Third placegetter Kirk, and Outram driver Glenn Frew, had a good battle throughout the day with Kirk eventually prevailing by just 2 seconds after he beat Frew in the last stage by four seconds, to leapfrog him in the overall results.

Fifth was the first of the 2-wheel-drive car, the Hillman Avenger of Barry Mills/Mark Allington of Balclutha, who were followed home by another Balclutha driver, Paul Goatley in a BMW 318.

Australian John Spencer was seventh in his Datsun 1600 in an outing to prepare for the Silver Fern Rally, while the top 10 was rounded out by Dave Jenkins of Riverton in a Subaru Legacy, Richie Chadwick of Dunedin (Toyota Corolla GT) and Ricky Cockburn of Dunedin in an EVO 1.

Frew took 4-wheel-drive honours in Class D, while Mills was the Class C winner for 2wd cars 1601cc & over.

Richie/Rachel Chadwick of Dunedin won Class B for 2wd cars of 1301cc-1600cc. The couple dropped some time early after leaving the road and just managed to snatch the class lead off Graham McRae of Invercargill on the final stage. Ian Warren of Dunedin (Suzuki Swift MK1 Gti) won Class A for 2wd cars of 0-1300cc in 16th place overall.

The winner of the Catlins Coast Rally, Vaughan Edie of Invercargill, suffered electrical problems in Stage 1 but recovered to set a succession of third fastest stage times throughout the rest of the day, while Kevin Laird of Alexandra encountered sun strike on a tricky part of the first stage, going off the road and being lucky to avoid major damage.

Jim McDonald of Gore struck a fuel sensor problem early on but resumed later in the event to record some good stage times. Brayden Palmer of Dunedin and Quentin Hazlett of Tapanui both retired early on, Palmer with overheating problems and Hazlett after an off road excursion.

Clerk Of The Course, Roger Laird of the Eastern Southland Car Club, said competitors loved the roads, some of which were shaded by a canopy of trees and left slippery by rain during the week. However they dried out as the day went on. The weather for the event was superb with sunstrike causing problems for several competitors.

- Lindsay Beer

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