Pedder well on top in Scouts Rally SA
- 2nd August 2014, 10:09pm
In a shortened second Heat Scott Pedder continued his domination of Scouts Rally SA, finishing 47.2 seconds ahead of Brendan Reeves in second place and over two minutes up on third placed Adrian Coppin.
The second day of Scouts Rally SA has suffered significant delays with a number of major incidents forcing event organisers to rejig the schedule on the fly, including the cancellation of Special Stages 12 and 13 and the addition of a third pace around the Gawler Showground tonight.
Pedder charged out of the blocks on this morning’s three forest stages to open an immediate 13.8 second lead over second placed Jack Monkhouse, while Reeves was a further 8.8 seconds further adrift in third.
“It was a great start to the day,” said Pedder. “The car was fantastic, yet it was even more slippery out there than yesterday because all the cars have passed over the roads and brought all the mud to the surface.”
Reeves admitted he was struggling with the handling in his Mazda2, and attributed the conditions to his gap to Pedder. “The car just feels unnatural. When you’re turning you get understeer and then it snaps to oversteer,” Brendan said.
Alan Roe, who had been running in seventh, withdrew at the mid-morning service after he found a problem with his Ford Focus ST’s brakes. “We found the front brake rotors had cracked right through. As happens we’ve got rear spares but no fronts.”
Following mid-morning service drivers ventured onto the high speed Council roads, with the Goldsfields and Tweeden stages. Pedder took advantage, putting his current speed and confidence in his Renault Clio to good use, opening a further 8.0 seconds on SS9.
And then on the following stage, Tweeden, Pedder almost doubled his advantage by taking a further 17.6 seconds off Reeves who unknowingly had moved up to second. Behind Reeves on the road, Jack Monkhouse had suffered a major accident in his Nissan Silvia, flipping the car on to it’s roof and in the process a fire ignited essentially burning the car to the ground.
While Monkhouse and co-driver Darren Masters escaped unhurt from the blaze, Scouts Rally SA organisers were forced to give nominal times to the trailing drivers and re-route crews around the stage.
“Hit a rock that was on the apex of a 6th gear crest at about 180km/h which sent us rolling into the trees forwards, backwards and upside down,” said Jack.
“Fairly scary to say the least, then it burst into flames about 30 seconds after we got out of it. Crying shame considering we weren’t trying to prove anything and were just out there doing skids and putting on a show for the fans.”
Back at service Reeves was hurriedly looking for improvements in the handling of his Mazda. “We changed the ride height last night to get better balance, and just now we’ve lifted the rear ride height to try to push the front down,” he explained.
The change must have worked, with Reeves taking his first stage win for the day, beating Pedder by 2.1 seconds on the third pass over the Dewells stage. “I got Scott on that stage, it’s the best the car has felt so far. We’re getting there, we’ve had to make small changes on the run because the weather has changed everything since we tested earlier in the week.”
Delays throughout the day, including Monkhouse’s fire, and an off road excursion for both David Thompson and Barry Lowe in the Classics, forced organisers to dump the final two forest stages. Crews instead transported directly to Gawler for the rescheduled three passes over the 1.05km Showground stage.
On the first run Pedder held the advantage over Reeves, while Reeves reversed that on the second run, before
At the conclusion of a long day’s rallying Pedder finished the Heat victor with an eventual advantage of 47.2 seconds. “Today has gone very, very well! Our only problem has been that the dash hasn’t been showing what gear I’m in,” said Scott.
“We went out fast on the Tweeden stage, that was the highlight, and we managed to get the 2WD record. The car was great on that stage, it was such a pleasure to drive.”
“The delays today haven’t been ideal, but when you think about Jack (Monkhouse) watching his car burn to the ground, well everything else kind of pales in significance. So if that means we stand around for half an hour or an hour I can live with that,” Scott added.
Reeves meanwhile was reflecting on the fortunes of his day. “Scott has continually been able to pull small gaps on us all day. I think the setup changes we’ve made on the run today have worked, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
Adrian Coppin held the Citroen advantage yesterday, and he continued that today, finishing third ahead of teammate Tony Sullens in fourth. “I pushed early and the first stage was great, we got within a second of Brendan. Maybe my confidence was a bit high after that because then on the next stage we had a spin!”
Coppin had been the first on the scene of the Monkhouse crash saying; “It’s never exciting to come across a car on fire in the middle of the forest. Luckily they were ok and we got the problem (fire) solved,” he said.
Sullens, who admitted his baffled him pace yesterday, said he was continuing to scratch his head during today’s second Heat. “I lay awake last night wondering what to do, and this morning we went softer all round with the suspension. I went out on the first stage and though I did really well but I got smoked. No clue, I thought I was nearly there but now I don’t know.”
Local young gun Guy Tyler rounded out the ECB ARC finishers, bringing his Renault Clio home in fifth despite being stuck in third gear during the day.
A high level of attrition once again hit the field, with Michael Boaden joining Jack Monkhouse and Alan Roe on the retirements list, Boaden reporting that he was unable to use second gear up until the point his gearbox failed.
“The gearbox gave up the ghost about three quarters of the way through the Goldfields stage. We’re going to try to see if we can do something about it but we won’t know until we get it apart,” Boaden explained.
In the Classics Neal Bates controlled the day despite having to run with a failing carburetor in his Celica RA40, finishing the day over five minutes ahead of Porsche driver Jeff David and third placed Ross Kingham’s Volvo.
“The car has been going unbelievably well despite a carbie drama today,” commented Bates. “I had to disconnect the fuel on the rear cylinders on the way into service, so we got here on just two cylinders.”
The day in the Classics was dominated not by those who finished, but more so by those who did not. Stewart Reid was rampant on the opening stage, catching and trying to pass the Holden Commodore of Barry Lowe until a stick flicked up from Lowe’s rear tyres, jamming into Reid’s Audi’s radiator and ending his day.
On the same stage David Thompson understeered off the road on a slippery right-hander, spearing off the road in his Ford Falcon GTHO and sinking it into a flooded ditch almost up to the boot lid.
Then on the Tweeden stage Barry Lowe misjudged a corner over a blind crest, tripping his Commodore off the road and into a roll. The car sustained heavy damage to the right rear section of the roof and arrived back in service missing both right side doors.
The National 4WD category too has suffered from retirements, with young local James Rodda not restarting today after suffering ECU problems yesterday in his Subaru Impreza, leaving the Mitsubishi’s of Henry Nott and Tim Ramages to fight it out.
It proved to be a short fight, Ramages losing over three minutes on the second stage before eventually retiring with mechanical headaches on the morning’s fourth stage. In the end Nott ended the day in the lead by over seven minutes to second placed Bill Monkhouse.
And lastly the Side-By-Side Rally Challenge saw its top two contenders, Polaris’ Cody Crocker and Can-Am’s Michael Guest, both breaking the drive belts not once but twice on today’s stages.
“We broke the first belt on the opening stage, and then another on Tweeden,” explained Guest. “Iain Hughes broke one as well, and Cody broke two on Tweeden as well. The problem is the speed of the stages, we’re flat out for minutes at a time, it’s crazy.”
Those dramas have allowed Les Chivers to claim the Heat victory in his Can-Am, and the similar vehicle of Nathan Chivers had looked on course for second until a last stage place swap saw Iain Hughes jump into the runners up spot.
Sunday’s action at Scouts Rally SA consists of a further ten Special Stages, finishing with one further pass around the Gawler Showgrounds, before the ten fastest drivers across all categories will face off in a show down to crown the fastest ahead of the champagne finish.
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