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As expected, the Launceston crew of Marcus Walkem and Damien Grimwood were always going to be the team to beat in the second round of the Tasmanian Rally Series, the Armour Timber and Hardware Hellyer Rally.

But it wasn’t without some great attempts by others to knock him from his perch, like Craig Brooks, who came out firing with the “Vic Huddlestone Cup” his clear intention to take home. His SS1 time was 10 seconds clear of Walkem over a twisty trying stage that included a water crossing in the first 2kms. The same stage saw Sheldrick and Sheldrick in the V8 Commodore only take 650 metres  before they had their first “off” for the day. Lynn Rattray, also out of retirement for this event was next 5 seconds down on Walkem but one second clear of Jason White in the Total Lock and Alarm Evo 5.

It was here that White started to get all the gravel experience and confidence back getting a second fastest, second then equal first with Walkem to round off Heat one 51 seconds down.
Wylie and Catt in the Subaru hung in there at the end of the Heat to be a further 28 seconds down on White and holding out Rattray by just 4 seconds. Brooks tally was a first then a second and a third then disappeared from the score sheets in SS4 as cobwebs in the fuel lines ruined his comeback and was not worth wrecking an engine by continuing.
 
In the battle of the 2WD’s Rattray Junior was another one blasting out of the blocks in the Turbo VL and surprised Barrett/Weldons Fire Arrow by 5 seconds and Clark/Morris in the rapid RX7 another second back. Barrett fired back posting fastest times on the next three before he too began having alternator problems which were to retire him at the end of SS5 and off the pace  fourth fastest in 2WD. Heat one saw a win to Clark beating Barrett by 33 seconds and Rattray another 39 seconds in arrears.
 
Heat 2 lost one stage leaving just 75kms over 4 stages for crews to compete but started with a cracking 40 km blast out to Peegra road which saw Walkem take 21 seconds out of White who was trying everything he could to keep up the pace.

Wylie/Catt were another 25 seconds off white and had opened up an 11 second gap to Rattray/Hills in the immaculate Pirtek Subaru. With Walkem’s Lancer taking another 29 seconds from the next best in the 17.2km SS7 the interest and focus was on the battle between White/Maguires Evo 5, Wylie/Catt in the WRX and Rattray/Hills in the later WRX with White and Wylie equalling on 10.46 then Rattray on 10.47.

With SS8 deleted this left just 2 short stages heading home to the finish in Stanley. The 8.2km Mathers reverse brought the crews over the high speed crests heading back to the final spectator point and saw the demise of Kurt Wylie and Matt Best in the” Team Wylie” second WRX as they ran wide on a downhill left hand corner and literally fell off the road.

Again Walkem dominated being 17 seconds faster than Rattray who also took 7 seconds back off White and Wylie as the crews headed to the last stage, the 8km blast down Spionkop road and back over the water crossing. Rattray proved he was not to be discounted taking 5 seconds off White, 9 seconds off Walkem and 14 seconds off Wylie.

As the crews transported back to the seaside village, computers saw Heat 2 winners Walkem/Grimwood  1.10 clear of White/Maguire with Rattray/Hills third a further 25 seconds back.
Wylie and Catt hung in there to be just 5 seconds away from Rattray in fourth place.
Victorian crews Brett King/ Lucas Zinsstag in the Impreza RX and Glen Mcintyre/Stephen Eccles in the P3 Toyota Celica who ventured down for the event fitted in well with the locals and had a smooth consistent run to the finish even bringing some ‘humour” at the spectator points and controls.
 
Once again the 2WD battle became very entertaining and showed off some exceptional efforts for the event. With Barrett/Weldon a no show in the Fire Arrow for the second heat, everybody expected Clark and Morris to romp away in a class of their own but it was not to be. He dominated the 40km SS6 beating Stuart Rattray and Jamie Young by a massive 57 seconds and showed just how good this combination was.

But a new player started to emerge. Former sprint car ace Ashley House was piloting his fathers BMW E30 in his first ever rally. This magnificent sounding car quickly became a crowd favourite. He and navigator Griffin Poke were only 5 seconds off Rattray in SS6, equal first with him as they took 1 second back off Clark who was third fastest in SS7.  With 2 stages left House/Poke were fastest being 5 seconds quicker from Rattray and Clark who equalled on 5.21.

Again the fast, cresty final stage saw Rattray fighting back and took back 9 seconds from Clark who equalled with House.

Clark won the Heat and the battle for 2WD and finished a very creditable 6th outright with Rattray and House lining up behind him in 7th and 8th.

Just in front of Clark was Keith Abblitt and Adrian Hodgetts in the earlier WRX that were hampered with” Driver” sickness throughout  the event but hung in there to finish first in P6.

In ninth place overall were sponsors of the North West Car Club Rally series Jamie and Simon Vandenberg from North West Mowers who dragged out their tired and ageing Evo 3 Lancer to again compete in this long standing local rally.
 
Jason White took out the honours in the North West Mowers club rally from Lynn Rattray/Lindon Hills with Stuart Rattray winning 2WD from new stars House/Poke.

Next event for the club rally series will be the “Oonah Ocker Rally” on the 10th of August  as the third round of the Tasmanian Rally Series moves to Geevston in the states South a fortnight later on Aug 24.   For all results and info go to www.nwcctas.net

- Steph Peters
 

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