Successful tarmac series continues in Sydney
- 20th December 2016, 12:30am
Tarmac rallying has significantly increased in popularity due to the continuation of a Sydney-based series held on a week night during summer.
The Whiteline Tarmac Rallysprint series is held at Sydney International Dragway on a Thursday evening and is a concept in rallying that has allowed people with very little exposure to the rally genre to experience the excitement and challenges of special stage rallying.
With three rounds now complete, the event has had record fields of over 80 entries at each round. Round three was oversubscribed with a staggering 93 entries received by the time entries closed.
The Rallysprint series sees crews battling it out over a 3.5km stage across various tarmac roads within the Dragway complex at Eastern Creek, from around 5pm to 10pm during daylight savings.
The series is organised by North Shore Sporting Car Club and the event is run as a Level 1 Single Club Rallysprint. The event offers traditional gravel rally exponents, tarmac rallyists and novices new to the sport the chance to have a fun night battling the clock as the sun sets.
The Thursday night format was chosen to allow rally enthusiasts the opportunity to indulge in their sport across summer, without cutting into family and leisure time on weekends. It is also time efficient with the venue located close to the geographic centre of Sydney.
The December event started with a damp opening stage and over the next four stages, gradually got wetter as a constant drizzle set in. The wet surface would change the dynamics of the event and Round 2 winner Matt Cole, in a rear-wheel drive Mazda RX7, struggled for grip. His night came to an end when he crashed through a chicane barrier and ended any chance of a good finish.
It was to be a night dominated by 4WD cars with the Mitsubishi Evos coming into their own on the slippery surface. Stephen Marlin, with his co-driver son Alex, won the overall previous series and had already been on the podium in the current series. He wasn’t finding the conditions ideal, with a spin in the opening stage dropping him down the leader-board.
ARC regular, Harry Bates, with Coral Taylor co-driving, was entered in his S2000 Corolla and he too spun in the opening stage, however, clawed his way back to a class win and a third outright finish, his first podium at the event.
In second outright was Neville Shears and Michelle Shears in a Nissan GTR-R35, and winning the Round 3 event was Round 1 winners, Phil Heafey and Greg Stock, in the less than stock Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI.
The event attracts a huge variety of makes and models with modern cars such as the Subaru WRX, Toyota 86, Ford Fiesta and Focus RS, Holden HSVs, VW Golf R, Nissan Silvia and classics such as Ford Escorts, Holden Geninis and Jaguar XJSs. There are also iconic cars like the Aston Martin Vantage, Nissan GTR, Audi R8 and Porsche GT3 regularly competing.
Within the series, the online website, evolutionoz.net forum, run a sub-series specifically for members and drivers of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. This series has also been very popular and with over 20 Evos entered at the December event, it was no wonder that an Evo was on the podium.
The event is also supported by an extensive media package with videos posted on the night of the event, as well as regular video stories between events. Videos can be found on the North Shore Sporting Car Club YouTube Page:
Spectating at the event is completely free with food, drinks and plenty of motorsport products available for sale on the night. The Round 3 highlights video gives a great overview of the event and the type of cars that you can see in action below.
The series is supported by Whiteline as naming rights sponsor, with added support from Disc Brakes Australia, Premier Pools, Sullivans and Shannons Insurance.
- John McCredie
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