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Long time motorsport enthusiast Mike Conway has entered this year's marathon "Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial" and although the event is not until September, he's already put in over 500 hours of preparation, and the job's not done yet!

Mike brings us his story so far.


When I first heard about the Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial, I quickly decided I wanted to run in the event. That was the easy part – the next question was, who else might want to join me on this adventure?

As my PowerPlay business partner and some-time navigator was unavailable, my next obvious choice was UK resident, Dave Woodgate.  Dave came out to Australia to navigate for me in the 2004 Classic Adelaide tarmac rally.  We won the Heritage part of the event and ran fourth outright in our one and only event together.  He said if I ever wanted him for another event, he would jump at it.

That led to a quick email to Dave and in less than ten minutes the reply came back, “YES, wouldn’t miss it.”

So, that’s the rally car filled – Driver Michael Conway; Co-Driver Dave Woodgate.

The next question was, would we have a service vehicle or run the event on our own? If we wanted to have a go at doing well, we would need a certain amount of help and spare parts. My competitive nature is strong and I would struggle to just go in the event without trying to do well.  So, who would we get to help service?

In the past we have had good friends who have been able to help with servicing duties, so a few emails and phone calls and Paul Jones, part of the 2004 Classic Adelaide-winning team, was on board.  Paul will drive one service vehicle along with my wife, Samantha.  Sam and I were part of David Officer and Steve Ashton’s service crews in the 1995 Mobil One Round Australia Trial, so the opportunity for us to enjoy the same sort of adventure, but this time with me competing, will be great.  Now I’ve just got to get her in the navigator’s seat!

Service crew – Paul Jones and Samantha Conway.

So, that’s the team – well, not quite.  Phil Eather, a long time motorsport competitor in all forms from the heyday of ‘70’s and ‘80’s gravel rallying through to the latest tarmac rallies, will also be joining us, along with a good friend and motorsport enthusiast, Gary Brennan.  Phil competed in the 1979 Repco Round Australia Trial in a Datsun 180B, and his assistance and knowledge of classic rallying and these types of events, will be invaluable to our team.

A long time friend and club motorsport competitor, Jon Evans, has also expressed interest in being involved in our team, so we now have two service vehicles and at least six people on the team, which is significantly more than I had originally envisaged.

I am looking forward to the event and to enjoying the camaraderie of those involved with our team.   Now we just need a car!

Visit RallySportMag.com.au on Friday when we’ll bring you Mike’s story on choosing and preparing his car for the event.

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