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David and Andrew Thorpe opened the Victorian rally year with victory in their Subaru Impreza at a dusty 37th running of the George Woods Introductory Rally on February 23.

Utilising the popular rally roads to the north and south of Powelltown in the Yarra Ranges, the event is designed for rookie and novice rally crews as an introduction to rally competition.

In a throwback to navigational events of the past, a challenging element for co-drivers includes some basic map reading in addition to the more common route charts.

The first half of the event was conducted over 45 competitive kilometres in the early evening before sundown, with plenty of exuberant driving on display for the spectators gathered a few kilometres into the opening stage.

When crews returned to service nothing separated the Thorpe’s, the Commodore of Anthony Morrow/Luke Sytema and Harley Gill/Mitchell Goudge (Subaru).

While it was hot at the top, overheating issues forced the spectacular Audi Quattro of Doug Fernie/Amelia Jarvie into an early retirement. Eight other crews failed to finish by night’s end.

The impressive performance of Bendigo Car Club pair Gill/Goudge saw them edge out Mitch Garrad/Taylah Murphy (Hyundai) and Andrew Hitch/Ken Polley (Mitsubishi) for top honours in the Rookies Ramble.

As night fell, a further 55 kilometres awaited the competition, with the Thorpe’s doing just enough to finish the rally two points clear of the chasing Morrow and Harley.

In the Historic Rally Association’s Resto Country Spare Standard Car Challenge (SCC), Graham Wallis/Nick Luxton claimed a comfortable win in their Peugeot 205.

Full results here: https://tinyurl.com/yyyg94w2

  • Craig O'Brien ; @live.love.rally
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