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The NGK Rally of Melbourne was a real family affair with lots of kids on hand to support their parents.  Darren Windus’ son looked the part, all decked out in his Pirtek gear.  It was terrific to see him rush up to Simon and Sue Evans at the first service break, and wish them all the best for the rally.  

The Evans’ kids were there, too and daughter Eden was one of the first on hand to give her Mum a big hug after clinching the ’07 title.

Mick Ryan, from Molly Taylor’s service crew, also brought his son along for the weekend.  He was handing out lollies to all the team just prior to Molly re-starting on Heat 1 after her earlier encounter with a rock.  “Have a lolly,” he said to Molly, “and don’t hit any more rocks!”

The Reeves family also brought their kids along for the weekend, although they were all there as competitors.  Unfortunately it wasn’t a happy family weekend, with both Brendan, co-driven by sister, Rhianon, and older brother Nathan, crashing out on the same stage on Heat 1.  

John Allen had a busy week, taking out the honours with Ray Vandersee the weekend before in the Mt Buller Sprint.  Things were going really well for he and driver Stewart Reid in their Toyota Corolla Sportivo in Heat 1, until one of their wheels rolled down the road ahead of them!  They ran out of late time, but came back with a vengeance in Heat 2, finishing sixth.  Stewart’s days in the Holden Precision Driving Team certainly showed as he impressed everyone with his car control around the Healesville Sportsground Super Special on Sunday.

There was plenty of support for TRD’s Sue Evans who has been nominated for CAMS motorsport personality of the year.   “Vote for Sue” posters adorned the TRD service tents and a number of keen supporters were seen wearing “Vote for Sue” t-shirts.

One of the nicest looking cars in the event was the beautiful orange Subaru Impreza of Craig Brooks and Daniel Willson from Tasmania.  Competing in Rally of Melbourne for the first time, the pair had an excellent run, finishing seventh on Saturday and 11th on Sunday.

Michael Guest’s weekend got off to a bad start when he hit a rock on SS1, resulting in two flat tyres and a hole in the sump.  After some hasty repairs, he and co-driver David Green, continued on in the sweet-sounding Ford Fiesta, finishing a remarkable fifth at the end of Heat 1.  Sunday saw the pair win the first two stages, before Simon Evans stepped on the gas, but the Ford duo impressed, and second place was just reward for a season that hasn’t been without its frustrations.

Guest’s team-mate, Darren Windus, wasn’t so lucky.  He was matching Evans’ pace early on Day 1 until engine failure brought his rally to an early end.  Despite expecting the first season of the Fiesta’s to include plenty of teething problems, it was still a painful end for the likeable Windus.

The Raymond brothers again showed they have the pace to match it with the best.  After intercooler problems, and then hitting a kangaroo at 150kph on Saturday, they finished the day in eleventh place and were full of confidence going into Heat 2.  Sitting in fifth, with just two forest stages to go on Sunday, it all came horribly unstuck when they rolled their Subaru and were unable to continue.  The pair will return to the Championship in their recently purchased ex-Neal Bates Toyota Corolla.

Victorian’s Justin Dowel and Matt Lee had a sensational weekend.  Finishing Heat 1 in ninth and Heat 2 in fifth place, the Mitsubishi crew now lead the Victorian Rally Championship with one round to go.

Paul Batten and Craig Jones clinched the Rally Challenge title with a fine result at Melbourne.  Finishing both Heats in the top ten in their Subaru Impreza WRX, the pair were deserving winners of the title, having won seven of the eight heats they contested this year.

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