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Consistent speed and reliability rewarded Bryan van Eck and Jim Gleeson with victory in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay on Saturday, August 12. Under clear skies in the basking sun on the south coast of NSW in the township of Batemans Bay, a total of 38 crews gathered on the banks of the Clyde River for round three of the Gary’s Motorsport Tyres NSW Rally Championship. The event consisted of 137 competitive kilometres across six stages, using the stunning private and forestry roads of the Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven Shires. Bryan van Eck took the honours at the completion of the first 31km stage, a second clear of championship leader Tony Sullens/Kylie Newell (Subaru), with the tail happy Mitsubishi of Richard Shimmon/Brett Kerr a further second adrift. For the second year running Tony Sullens would encounter dramas at this event, this time with a suspected battery terminal issue forcing him to stop twice on SS2, losing valuable time and dropping down the leaderboard. The Mitsubishis of Tom Ryan/Nick Ryan and Tom Clarke/Preston both had lucky escapes on SS2 after running off the road and into a bank. A stage win for Shimmon/Kerr saw them return to the first service break with a slender eight second advantage over van Eck and the rapid Ryan boys. Van Eck narrowed the gap to five seconds on SS3 before taking the lead at the completion of SS4, when Shimmon dropped time before retiring with gearbox failure on the penultimate stage. Impressive speed and a stage win on the final night test rewarded the Ryans with second outright, while Irishman JJ Hatton and co-driver Steve Fisher ensured it was a clean sweep of the podium for Mitsubishi. Sullens/Newell recovered to finish fourth ahead of Clarke/Preston. Andrew Travis/Arron Topliff (Nissan Gazelle) were first 2WD home in sixth after a lengthy battle with the Escort RS1800 of Thomas Dermody/Eoin Moynihan. The final round of the NSW Rally Championship is at Rally Australia in November. WATCH THE ACTION .....click here to see the official video review from the Rally of the Bay.
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