The 2011 Bega Valley Rally continued the history of this fantastic event, with this year's competition run out of the fishing township of Eden on the NSW South Coast.

The 2011 event was a round of the NSW Rally Championship, the Exedy Victorian Rally Championship, the Batronic Hyundai Rally Series and the NSW Excel Rally Series. Most importantly, the event continued the Excel interstate rivalry established since the series inception.
A contingent of nine Hyundai Excels formed part of the rally, with Victorians being represented with 5 crews, and NSW fielding 4 crews. Excel crews got together Saturday night on the eve of the event, to compare form and stories.
Sunday morning saw the crews set off from Eden's Snug Cove Wharf under cloudy skies, with some overnight rain making many crews nervous about the conditions that they may face throughout the day. SS1 was Broadwater West, and Steven and Brent Mackenzie showed their pace from the start, taking the Excel stage win from Tony and Nikki Moore, with Bob Slattery and Kate Murphy next, and fastest NSW Excel.
The short second stage (Hayfield) was cancelled, which had crews going straight to SS3, the 22.4km Bungan test. Here, the Moore's showed their speed to win the stage over the Mackenzie brothers, showing the dominant speed of the Victorian crews. Next was the NSW crew of Fro Horobin and AJ Crowley, taking time to knock off the rust from an Excel hiatus.
At the first service break, John Carney from Gunnawyn Motorsport and Leigh Garrioch were providing assistance to many of the Excel crews as they came in, but the reliability of the Excels shone through, with most crews simply needing windows cleaned. The leading crews were showing some attention to tyres, with the inclement conditions putting an emphasis on grip over power.
Back into the forests for SS4-Maxwells, where drama struck the crew of Thompson and Briede, with an off-road excursion causing damage to the car in the form of a bent left front control arm and some minor panel damage. The next stage, Old Bridge also caused some consternation, with an Extreme Caution creek crossing dampening the pace of the crews of Moore/Moore and Slattery/Murphy.
SS6 was the 20.57km Banksia test, which saw the stopping of the stage for Slattery/Murphy, with the FIV required as the crew took an off-road excursion. Both crew were taken to hospital for tests, and released later that evening with only minor injuries.
SS7-Windglass saw Moore/Moore recover from their amphibious adventures back to pace to take the stage victory before SS8-Falkner marked the end of the short event, where Mackenzie/Mackenzie once again showed the rest of the Excel field a clean set of heels, with Horobin/Crowley 2nd fastest only marginally beating out the young NSW crew of Ryan McShane and Daniel Geering. With the battle for the NSW Excel Series decided on the short event results, only Horobin/Crowley continued to fly the flag against the Victorian crews who continued.
SS9-Naghi was scheduled to be the longest stage in the event at 33.75kms, but with the conditions worsening throughout the day, organisers had to cancel the test which left only the 13.17kms of the Broadwater East stage (SS10), the reverse running of the first stage of the day. Despite the rain, this stage proved to be as grippy and challenging as it's first running, with almost all Excel competitors improving on their times despite the rain and the darkness.
The final Excel results had the Victorian Mackenzie brothers walk away from the rest of the field, with NSW crews Horobin/Crowley and McShane/Geering only able to clean up the minor placings.
The results for the respective series look like this:
Batronic Hyundai Rally Series Round 2:
1. Steven Mackenzie/Brent Mackenzie
2. Peter Morrison/Sue Wasson
3. Jonathan Byrnes/Stuart Diggins
4. Tony Moore/Nikki Moore
5. Andrew Thompson/Corey Briede NSW Excel Series Round 1:
1. Fro Horobin/AJ Crowley
2. Ryan McShane/Daniel Geering
3. Andrei Artomonov/Gleb Bonch
DNF Bob Slattery/Kate Murphy

Photos by John Doutch

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