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It seems rallying is increasingly being recognized as a family sport, with close members of some families heavily involved in all levels of the sport.

 

Down Pakenham way, in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Simon and Sue Evans are the best-known family rally team in the state, if not Australia, thanks to their participation in the Australian Rally Championship for the Toyota team. With plenty of publicity being given to their exploits in the local media, it was no surprise when another family team decided to take up the cudgels and have a go at this exciting sport.

Perhaps it’s not so surprising that brother and sister rally competitors, Jesse and Samantha Robison, got involved in rallying. After all, Jesse used to work for the Evans’, preparing rally cars, while Sam works for CAMS, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport where talking rallying is a daily occurrence. Their father, Tom, also has roots that go right back to rallying and motorsport, having been a competitor in dirt bikes some years ago.

The pair have been together for several years and this year are competing, along with Simon and Sue Evans, in the Australian Rally Championship. But while the Evans’ are driving a state-of-the-art Toyota Corolla Sportivo, Jesse and Sam drive an ageing Subaru Legacy 4WD Turbo rally car, “a bit of a dinosaur”, as Sam puts it.

Of course they realize that rallying is expensive and they can only hope to do better if fortune smiles on them in the form of a big sponsor.

“We currently have the support of Autobarn Narre Warren who have been very supportive of us. You can only be competitive by spending money and by having driving talent. We are leading the P6 class in the ARC this year, but we won’t be able to compete next year unless we can find a major sponsor,” she added.

Jesse (21) and Sam (23) have been rallying together for the past four years in a Suzuki Swift and a Datsun 1600, but realize that to be on the podium they need the extra power of a 4WD turbo. Their current Subaru Legacy, while still reasonably competitive in its class, is nevertheless around 15 years old and is getting a bit long in the tooth.

So while they might be stuck with the Legacy for a while yet, the pair are looking forward to the final round of the Championship, the NGK Rally of Melbourne on September 23 and 24.

While Pakenham might be a fair way away from the Yarra Valley where the rally is to be held, they have both competed there before and hope that a little home-town knowledge will help them to gain yet another class win and a favourable outright finishing position against the best rally crews in the country.

While they’re hoping there might be a talent scout on hand to sign them up for a drive next year, they aim to go into the rally with 100 percent commitment and prove that they have the skill and dedication to go that one step further.

A better car would make all the difference, but there’s no doubt that Jesse’s driving skill and Sam’s ability to read the pacenotes, finely tuned over the past four years, will shine as they roar around the Yarra Valley’s wine country later this month.

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