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Far from celebrating their third Australian Rally Championship title win, Simon and Sue Evans have spent much of their time since their victory at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

While happy to have secured another title, and their first as privateers, the husband and wife have admitted that their victory has felt a little hollow, with close friends Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth being injured in a terrifying accident on the final stage of the event.

Competing in the South Australian Championship event, Reeves hit a tree near the end of the super-fast Eden High stage. He sustained heavy concussion, a chipped bone in his vertebrae and lots of swelling, while sister Rhianon has several breaks in both her legs.

The Evans’ spent a lot of time at their good friends’ bedside after the event, and waited to see Rhianon after one of several operations to her legs, before driving through the night to return home to Victoria.

“It’s fantastic to win the championship, but our thoughts are really with Brendo and Rhi at the moment,” Sue said. “It was a terrible crash and we’re glad that they’re both going to be okay.

"After our similar crash in Tasmania a few years ago we know what they are going through. Both Brendo and Rhi are great mates of ours, and it was important that we showed them our support after their accident - like others did when we had our big crash."

Rhianon faces a long road to recovery after the crash, with several weeks in hospital followed by rehabilitation. It has put her Asia-Pacific Championship program, in which she co-drives for Kiwi Emma Gilmour, on hold.

Reeves, meanwhile, is determined to get himself fit for the final of the Pirelli Star Driver competition at Repco Rally Australia in a month’s time. With a six-event WRC program on offer, the 20-year old Victorian is eager to get back behind the wheel as soon as possible.

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