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Last weekend Jimna State Forest, two hours north of Brisbane set the stage and turned up the heat for the running of the 2011 Good Night Rally, all under the cover of darkness. The first all night rally held in Queensland for a decade made a return to Queensland's south eastern forests, with a competitive distance of 114 kilometres and comprising of eight special stages.
 
For 21 multi-club entrants from across Queensland and from as far north as Rockhampton, it was time to brush the dust of those spotties, align the headlights and check the navvies map light as teams were pushed to the limits and extremes of an all night rally event.
 
As nightfall approached, crews were at the ready, SS1 was kicked into gear with a start time of 6:30pm, 114 kilometres and 7 hours lay ahead. After the running of the first two stages Rob Bishop and Jo O'dell in their Evo 1 held a 33 second lead over Mark Neary's Subaru Sti. SS3 proved to be the turning point and downfall for several teams as the failure and attrition rate had compounded and began to reach boiling point.

First to retire was Marius Swart with clutch problems in his Super 2000 Volkswagen Polo, closely followed by Jamie Lawson's Commodore Ute leaving the road with minimal damage and getting stuck mid stage and also John Barr and Debbie Dillon were lucky to escape unscathed as their car abruptly left the road and careered down an embankment.
 
The high attrition rate of across the night of rallying continued to grow as unseasoned co-drivers to the extreme conditions started to fall ill due to motion sickness complications.
 
Upon completion of SS5, the Datsun 240K of Dave Gaines and Nikki Doyle led and reigned supreme over Tim Dillon in his Hyundai Lantra with a lead of just under a minute. However this lead was regrettably short lived as the Gaines 240K suffered a heavy rolling crash on SS6 causing substantial damage to the car and leaving driver and co-driver bumped and bruised.
 
With the last three stages to run 12 entrants were left and many cars and teams were starting to show extremes of fatigue with nine of the twenty one starters withdrawn. The rally was fast approaching it's penultimate end as the fog rolled in, and the rally moved into the early hours of the morning, with only the strongest would prove successful to be crowned victors of the 2011 Good Night Rally.
 
After 114 kilometres of intense gruelling competitive stages and the clock hitting 2:00am, outright victory went to Tim Dillon and Mark Malpas in their Hyundai Lantra. Following a close 28 seconds behind, in second place went to Rob Bishop and Jo O'dell in their Mitsubishi Evo 1, and third place went to Grant Brecknell and James McIntosh in their WRX Sti.   

- Story and photo by Kristan Hayes

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