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Jenna Kelley and Steve Raymond joined forces for a one-off event at the Akademos, a pace noted round of the Victorian Rally Championship last weekend. The following is their report on this event:

Raymond and Kelley kicked off with recce on Saturday in cold and slippery conditions that also included snow and temperatures ranging from two to eleven degrees. The pair worked well together on recce and made three passes over each stage to ensure the notes were spot on.

Finally the event was under way, flagged off by the mayor of Alexandra.  This was Raymond's first event in two years, previously he'd driven a Corolla and now had the opportunity to run the ex-Glen Raymond Subaru Liberty. It took Steve Raymond a little while to get used to the new driving style required for the 4WD car, and the crew had two spins on Stage One, resulting in a beached car but with no damage.

Raymond and Kelley were assisted in getting the car back on the road, and with just two minutes of late running time left, proceeded to the end of the stage.  On the second stage, they were surprised to see regular ARC competitors Brendan Reeves and Brenton Kaitler off the road within three corners of each other, showing that the conditions were catching out even the experienced pacenote competitors.

On Stage 2 the Liberty lost the clutch bolt and the crew were forced to drive around having a clutchless car.  Raymond handled the car well and after another two stages, headed in for service to ensure the required repairs were completed.

At service, the service crew replaced the left rear drive shaft, fitted new brake pads, replaced the clutch bolt that had come off, and did a spanner check. The crew also noted that both of the front shock absorbers had small leaks which pumped out a large amount of oil.  A quick repair was made, but with no replacements the crew decided to continue on with underperforming suspension.

Over the next four stages, the team made up a large amount of time, and if they had not had the spin and a minor off, the crew would have easily placed higher up the order.  Unfortunately, the spin pushed them out of contention and into last place, but both Kelley and Raymond were extremely pleased to finish the event and get some testing completed.

Jenna Kelley's next event is the Mt Buller Sprint on November 1 - 3.

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