Preview: Jenolan Rallysprint
- 9th April 2010, 8:43am
The roads around Hampton have a reputation of providing quality rallying to test the over-subscribed field of 60 AMSAG competitors. The stages consist of flowing roads connected by tight-apex junctions, with surfaces changing from slippery red clay through to hard gravel. In addition, the stages wind in and out of harvested forest areas which provide further challenges as drivers will need to adapt to changeable road conditions.
This years event has been shortened due to Forestry activity, meaning the event will now be run over 3 stages which will be repeated 3 times, giving a total competitive distance of nearly 70km’s with minimal transport between stages.
One of the main features of the Specialised Brake and Clutch Service Jenolan Rallysprint is the compact nature of the event. The service park is situated just off Jenolan Caves Rd and is a constant hub of activity with servicing, scoring, catering and toilet facilities all at this location.
As has become customary over the last few seasons, all AMSAG events run in two categories – Classic and Open. And this year sees the return of always entertaining Class E for classic vehicles with an engine capacity over 3.0 Litres, this class is typically dominated by V6 & V8 Holden Commodores.
The Classic category at this event consists of a number of competitors looking to step up to the challenge of “knocking off” 2009 Classic Series Champions Bill Brown & Trent Murphy. Brown & Murphy in their immaculately prepared Datsun 1600 will be looking to carry on the fantastic form that saw them take out the top honours in last years Championship.
The runners up from last years Championship Mark Bramble & Michael Bannon, will be missing out on this round after making some upgrades to their Mitsubishi Galant over the off season, Michael will be navigating for a new Rookie Driver, Matt Rath, in his first full rally and will be looking to pass on some of his experience in the AMSAG Series to the young driver.
Last year’s Third Place getter Jim Middleton returns in his Holden Commodore with new navigator Kate Murphy, the pair finished 3rd overall Classic in the Cowra event last year and will surely hope they can either repeat or better that result this time round.
Also looking to take up the challenge to the Classic Series category will be a few old names and new names in the form of, Jeff David & Grant Geelan in their sublime sounding Porsche 911, Dave King & Shane O’Hara in the rebuilt Nissan Skyline (Shane will be looking to overcome his navigating hoodoo and finally finish an event), Jamie Waterhouse & Tim Hammond will make a return in the awesome little Datsun 120Y.
Also sure to figure in the top of the field will be 3 beautiful sounding BDA escorts being run by the Series Sponsor John Hills of Pipe King with Mike Tuckey along side him, and in the sister car will be John’s son David & his navigator Paul Bennett who last year ran a Lancer Evolution in the Modern Category, the pair will be looking to have a bit more sideways fun the superbly built Mk1 BDA. The third BDA will be Ian Hill in a Mk2 BDA, this car is also very well presented, Ian is a very experienced campaigner and will sure to be a pace setter.
The Open Series will be an interesting battle between 2wd and 4wd vehicles, with Jamie and Gavin Neale starting as the first car on the road in their Mitsubishi VR4. They will be chased by a pack of 4WD Turbo’s in the form of Michael & Chris Long in a Subaru Legacy, Scott Kuhner & Jon Parker also in a Mitsubishi VR4. Gerald Schofield & Jim White return in their Mitsubishi Evo VI that won them the Modern 4WD Championship in last years AMSAG Series and will be looking for a good finish as well.
The Open 2WD Category will be hotly contested as well, with 2009 Champion Mark Callinan & Matt Wilson in their superb sounding BMW heading the charge, chasing hard behind them will be Jason King & Lee Cross, Brett Kuhner & Megan Powell both in SR20 Turbo Datsun 1600’s.
And for the first time in a number of events there will be 3 entrants in the Class U, AMSAG’s class for any vehicle that do not comply with the normal vehicle regulations and also “Off Road” type vehicles. For this event there will be Mick King & Brett Maytom and the rock spitting V8 Skyline, Boyd & Sam Walters in the Safari spec Holden Rodeo and Jack & Philip Wenban in a Holden Jackaroo.
Spectator information is available via the AMSAG Website - www.amsag.com.au. Competitors interested in upcoming AMSAG events as part of the 2009 Pipe King Rallysprint Series can also find information about the club at the website.
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