Rally debut for 17 year old
- 25th August 2008, 9:05am
Saturday, August 23 marked the rally driving debut of Canberra teenager Tristan Kent. Kent who turned 17 last Wednesday and passed his licence on the same day, travelled to the Central North Coast of NSW to compete in the Rally of the Manning Valley based out of Taree.
Tristan has been involved in rallying for many years, navigating for his father Mark since he was eligible at the age of 12, and regularly competing in the ACT series and some NSW and Australian championship rounds. He is probably most famous for the 2007 Rally of Canberra where he co-drove for Peter Jerie who had the spectacular crash over the Mineshaft.
Tristan has been planning his rally debut for many years, and is debuting in his father's old rally car, a 1985 Subaru RX turbo. This is a good solid car to learn in and is quite capable of some solid results. Also on board for his debut, Tristan has enlisted Ray Baker as his co-driver. Baker has competed as both a driver and co-driver right up to World Rally level and uses his experience to help Tristan grow as a driver.
The Rally of the Manning Valley was held over eight stages with 133km being competitive. Seven of the stages were held at night, with some of the stages quite slippery from recent rains, whereas in other areas there was dust. They were very tricky conditions for Tristan to negotiate in his first rally.
With Tristan starting 31st out of 33 cars, it was definetely going to be a late night, with the first car starting at 3pm. The front cars, headed by Glenn Brinkman from Queensland and Steve Forsberg from the Central Coast, were all recent model Mitsubishi Lancers, a lot more highly developed than Tristan's reliable but slightly older technology, Subaru.
The rally, due to the conditions, became the survival of the fittest with many cars having trouble getting through the course. Tristan ended up finishing 16th and 1st in class. The event was won by Steve Forsberg, taking his first win since returning from a several year sabbatical.
Tristan's next event will be the Bay Stages Rally at Bateman's Bay on September 7, followed by the Caltex Airport Starmart Rally in Canberra on September 28.
For more information on Tristan and his rally adventures, please check out www.bakermotorsport.net
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