The BEMW Rally Team has returned after another successful event at Cowra last weekend. Despite several ‘notable incidents’, both car and team performed strongly to secure an impressive result of third Outright Open (/1st RWD).

Only two weeks prior to the rally, it appeared funding issues would keep BEMW out of the Pipe King Cowra Shire Rally. However, with the generous support of John Mills from Kumho Motorsport Tyres – who supplied four new tyres for the event – and some other local support, the team made it to the event to contest their place as reigning champions.

The competitive stages mainly took place on shire roads, which are known for their firmer surface and more open, flowing style. Along with this comes the promise of more speed – something that became evident as the BEMW team posted averages speeds of more than 130 kph in four of the stages.

True to form, the car ran very reliably. The only minor issue was the passenger side window not shutting completely, meaning the car subsequently filled with dust. This forced driver Mark Callina to remove his glasses, which found their way onto the floor where they interfered with his feet. Approaching a corner at 170 km/h, Mark was unable to react in time and sent the car into a slide across the long grass, narrowly missing a fence.

Another near-catastrophe occurred when the team was confronted with a reckless local driving the wrong way up one of the closed rally roads during a competitive stage. Coming over a rise at almost 170 kph in their BMW, Mark and Matt were confronted with an old Daihatsu Charade doing approximately 50 kph in the opposite direction. Concerned for the safety of the drivers following him (and for the driver in the offending vehicle), Mark slowed down and radioed an alert to rally control. Fortunately, no incidents occurred despite the man stubbornly continuing on his way up the road all the way to the starting point, although the team lost a significant amount of time as a result.

Finally, a spin on Stage 7 saw the BMW shoot backwards into the scrub after loose gravel on the corner failed to provide the expected grip. Once again, there were no injuries to car or crew so the BMW continued on its way having lost just over ten seconds of time. Interestingly, this was approximately the margin between the third placed BEMW team and the second placed team, while the event winners finished with a 19-second lead.


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