West Australian rally co-driver Jonathan Mortimer was lucky to escape serious injury after an accident on the third running of the Mt Crawford stage of Scouts Rally SA last weekend.

Mortimer, along with driver Scott Pedder, were locked in a battle for first place as Heat Two began, but when they lost control ever-so-slightly and glanced a tree on the first stage of the day, their hopes of victory vanished.

Pedder suffered a broken kneecap and will wear a brace for six weeks putting the pair out of action for International Rally of Queensland and out of contention for the 2010 ARC title.

“1.6 kilometres in we just clipped the inside of the corner, which unsettled the car and basically punted us off the road at full speed - over 140 kilometres an hour - straight into a tree,” Mortimer said.

“We hit the tree head on but it was a slight glance, luckily it wasn’t a direct hit,” he said. “From the tree we hit to where we stopped was about three metres,” he said.

“Apart from some sore ribs I managed to get off relatively unscathed but unfortunately Scott, being a fairly tall bloke, his knees ended up in the dash, which caused a broken right kneecap.”

“I saw the lump through the suit and I actually thought it was a broken leg as horizontally the kneecap had come up about two inches.”

The Pedders Suspension Rally Team, Race Torque and the Pedder family offered their sincere thanks and appreciation to all involved in assisting the pair after their accident especially Simon and Sue Evans, Dr Bruce Paix and his medical crew, the SA Ambulance Service, and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

In more positive news it was a case of mission accomplished for WA rallying legend Graeme Miles who, after a measured start, finished tenth outright in the SARC section of the rally.

“The first night stage was a real trap for young players because of low light,” Miles explained “And it was that cold that you couldn’t warm your tyres,” he said.

“One of the ARC guys crashed his car just before us so we thought we’d take it real easy, I think we were equal 28th after the first stage.”

Considerable impact with a tree at the Angaston super special stage ended Ryan and Rebecca Smart’s Rally SA and Miles said it was a tricky stage that was not helped by questionable lighting.

“There was an area around the top side of the circuit where there was a big flood light that lit the road really well,” he said. “There was a bend in the road right after the flood-lit section where it got very dark and that is where Smart/Smart crashed.”

With the first night of competition out of the way and the muddy stages drying out, Miles/Goodman relaxed a little and started to climb up the rankings.

“We had to go buy some mud tyres, which we ran on Saturday but once it dried out they were just fast – faster than I was prepared to travel at a lot of the time,” he said.

“We cranked it up as the weekend went along - as planned - and from about 11am on Sunday, when we went down south, we pushed pretty hard,” he said.

Miles said his favourite part of the rally was the myriad of mid-stage jumps throughout the event.

“There was one stage there with a jump that we went over at about 160kph, the jumps were just huge,” Miles exclaimed. “There was even a jump in the middle of the spectator point that wasn’t there the last time I drove it and even that jump was probably 130kph.”

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