Local ACT driver John Stilling has emerged as the winner of last weekend’s rugged “TRUSSME” National Capital Rally. Co-driven by Frank Brookhouse, Stilling brough his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 home 2minutes 39 seconds ahead of Michael Boaden and Helen Cheers (Lancer Evo 7) who were in turn a further 2.43 ahead of Darren Blair and Jim Gleeson (Subaru WRX Sti). Four wheel drive turbo cars filled the first seven outright placings with eighth place being taken by the extremely well-driven Hyundai Excel of Glenn Farrant and Jason Wood.


Sixty-nine entries were received for the main event and a further 15 entries for the Classic section of the event. Hot and dusty conditions faced competitors with temperatures already into the low thirties as crews took the start on the Saturday morning. The weather was to be a determining factor in the outcome of the event which saw an unusually-large number of retirements in the Canberra forests. More than 50% of the field (36 in total) retired with a range of problems. Worst affected were Sean Herbert/Peter McLaughlan who rolled their Subaru WRX Sti on the very first stage, while Darren Gillis and Graham Flear (Datsun Stanza) did the same on SS5.

Provisional Results:
1. John Stilling/Frank Brookhouse (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 2:08:58, 2. Michael Boaden/Helen Cheers (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 2:11:37, 3. Darren Blair/Jim Gleeson (Subaru WRX Sti) 2:14:20, 4. Leigh Gotch/David Green (Subaru WRX Sti) 2:14:22, 5. Thomas Barret/Michael Barret (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) 2:14:27.

In the Classic Rally Car Challenge section of the event, Bede Austin, co-driven by Aaron Tams in a Datsun 180B,  recorded a narrow 19 second victory from veterans Ross Dunkerton and Alan Stean (Datsun 240Z) after a fierce battle which saw times for both crews see-saw back and forth throughout the day. Such was the pace at the head of the field that there was a margin of 6 minutes 28 seconds between Dunkerton and third placed Ian Wilson/Byron Langslow (Toyota Celica). Of the 15 entries in this section, only six were classified as finishers, the remainder succumbing to a variety of problems. Terry Trewern/Andrew Ormesher rolled their Toyota Celica and pre-event favourites Geoff Portman/Ross Runnalls retired their Datsun Stanza on SS7 with engine problems. Local hotshot Kari Dirickx was expected to be well up amongst the leaders but broke a driveshaft on his Datsun 1600 on the fourth stage, ending his challenge.

Provisional Results:
1. Bede Austin/Aaron Tams (Datsun 180B) 2:24:53, 2. Ross Dunkerton/Alan Stean (Datsun 240Z) 2:25:12, 3. Ian Wilson/Byron Langslow (Toyota Celica) 2:31:30, 4. Alex Mueller/David Robinson (Commodore), 5. Gerald Duyvestyn/Ian Buddery (Escort) 2:33:38.

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