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Young gun Steve Mackenzie highlighted his future credentials when he swept into the Pedder’s Suspension Power Stage at the recent Rally Victoria knocking Brendan Reeves out of the running.
 

For Mackenzie who still runs with green P-plates on his Ford Fiesta it was a major breakthrough as he looks to progress to the highest levels of the sport.
 
Unfortunately the excitement of the Power Stage quickly evaporated on only the third stage of the rally later that afternoon when he was forced to the side of the road.
 
“Broke a driveshaft about halfway through the Ada Creek stage,” said Steve, who was vying for the win in the rallyschool.com.au Australian Junior Challenge.
 
But with main rival Glen Raymond also hitting problems on the very same stage Mackenzie started the second day of the rally filled with renewed hope that his title chances were still in play.
 
“On the Saturday we broke a gear selector and ended up with only one gear. If I could select a gear it was always the wrong one, so we knew there was no point continuing,” he explained.
 
“It was incredibly hard to take,” Mackenzie said of the disappointment in retiring both days and seeing Raymond take the Juniors win. “I’d tried to stick as close to Raymo as I could before the retirements.”
 
With the 2013 season ending on a sour note Mackenzie has consoled himself with his plans for next season where he will debut his own locally developed G2 Ford Fiesta, the car built to the same outright regulations as the Championship winning Honda Jazz and rallyschool.com.au Mazda2.
 
Mackenzie explained that the decision to develop his own car over purchasing an existing car was not an easy one.
 
“I’ve been looking at options since the first Round last year,” he stated. “We had a couple of options lined up with existing cars that fell through. We looked at existing R3 spec cars but we felt that there weren’t enough freedoms to make them totally competitive against a G2 spec car.”
 
“It was not a very easy decision to make but I know the (Ford) Fiesta is a good package and it works.”
 
With only a couple of weeks left before everyone shuts down for the Christmas and New Year break Mackenzie is trying to take advantage of every second.
 
“At this stage the car is all stripped, it’s off to get the roll cage next week, the suspension is getting made and the gearbox has been ordered,” explained Mackenzie.
 
“I’m trying not to think about how many days there are until the first Round next year. If nothing goes wrong it’ll be finished right up to the very last day!
 
“We know the Fiesta has a great motor, so we won’t be spending too much time on that area of the car. Our main focus is on the suspension setup and we’re getting great help there from Jamie Drummond with suspension angles and that sort of thing,” continued Mackenzie.
 
And with the first Round of the 2014 season, the National Capital Rally, due to start at the end of February Mackenzie isn’t completely confident he’ll be able to make the start line.
 
“I definitely want a really good test before the first rally. If we can’t get a good test in or we’re not confident the car is absolutely perfect then we’ll pull the pin and wait for the next rally.”

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