Official Magazine of the Impreza WRX Owners Club of South Aust. Inc.
Winter edition â€” August 2013
33 Woodlands Tce, Edwardstown, SA, 5039
Official Magazine of the
Impreza WRX Owners Club
Contents Regulars……………………………… 2
Look who’s Torquing
S&J WRXSA Club
2014 WRX Concept show at Jarvis Subaru
AGM—Welcome 2014 new committee
Hills ‘n’ Vines Cruise
ROSA by Frank Kutsche
Fast & Furious article by Seth
Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally & Willunga Hill Climb
SA Motorsport Tyres
26-27 Club Partners Ads 28
RD Advert Pricing
Article & photo Acknowledgements Well done guys—without your input the Rex Driver would not be possible Spiro Koulianos Seth Coultas Frank Kutsch of Stick ‘n’ Stones Photography Gary Wolstencroft Steve Turner Damien Hirst Neil Branum
Front cover: Photo by : Seth Coultas — OzGymkahna Contents page: - photo by : Frank Kutsche - Sticks ‘n’ Stones Photography
CLUB INFO Club Address: Impreza WRX Owners Club of South Australia Inc. PO Box 400, Unley, SA 5061
2013/2014 Elected Club Committee: President:
Incorporated in Adelaide, South Australia - May 1999
Certificate number: AA0024461E
Web Site Address: http:\\www.wrxsa.com
E-Mail Address: Information:
Membership: The Impreza WRX Owners Club of South Australia is a club for motoring enthusiasts with a passion for performance cars. Our focus is on performance oriented All-Wheel Drive Subaru vehicles, including the Impreza WRX, STi, Liberty RS and Forester GT, but membership is considered from owners of other vehicles.
Club Magazine: The Club magazine Rex Driver is published quarterly and distributed free to all members. Contributions are welcomed from Club Members and interested parties alike and may be submitted by post or email to the Editor direct at: email@example.com
Club Patrons: Cody Crocker, Team Subaru All contents ÂŠ 2013 Impreza WRX Owners Club of South Australia Inc.
DISCLAMER: The views and/or opinions expressed in any/all articles in this magazine are not to be considered the views and/or opinions of the Club, editorial staff, or any committee member. While all care is taken in the preparation of this publication, the Club, its committee and its contributors accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the whole or any part of the magazine. The club wishes to highlight that that any modifications made to your car may void your factory warranty, and any racing / sporting events may void your insurance cover. Articles regarding either of these matters are for interest value only and are not recommended to our members.
Mobile: 0402 936 908
Mobile: 0402 311 294
Secretary: Sam Jongenelis
Mobile: 0402 936 908
Treasurer: Damien Hirst
Mobile: 0422 277 109
Membership Officer: Gareth Scanlen
General Positions: Sam Jonganelis (Cruise Co-ordinator) Damien Hirst (Motorsport Co-ordinator) Tania Langcake (Events Co-ordinator) Ben Hersey (Webmaster) Seth Coultas ( Business Liaison) Rob Gromball ( Social Media)
CAMS OFFICER Matt Knighton Use Clubâ€™s mobile number 0413 025 697 for other enquiries to other committee members
Layout & design Gary Wolstencroft / Seth Coultas (Magazine Editors)
Get more BANG for your $$$ Advertise in the S.A. magazine that reaches more Rex Drivers (& other high performance Subaru drivers) Contact: Seth Coultas or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
See page 28 of Rex Driver for costs
Spiro Koulianos Club President
Welcome to the latest edition of our remarkable magazine; jam packed as ever with events and great content. Club membership numbers are doing very well with the proactive and hard work of committee and so this issue is being anticipated by more members than ever in the last 3 years. Great work guys.
As mentioned with club numbers at an all time recent high, it's no wonder we are getting a little more noticed. WRXSA was rec ently approached by Subaru Australia to attend the unveiling of the new WRX concept car at an event held at Jarvis Subaru. It was a f antastic evening where so many Subaru enthusiasts got together and did what they do best! Talked about cars! The concept car was a little too concept, it wasn't a working prototype and no technical details were leaked, but as you will see from pictures, the iconic WRX is evolvin g.
Evolving with the WRX is also a change in the way Subaru are doing business, they seem a lot more eager to engage with us as a club and with you as a consumer. Lessons learned from mistakes in the past? I hope so, as it will give us a better chance to voice our desi res and opinions and allow everyone to benefit. Still early days yet, but good to know that in these trying times consumers are being more and more noticed.
Our club is also evolving, it's interesting to see that the new influx of members seem to be very social and enjoying all the great cruises that Sam has been putting together. Great to see so many getting out there and having a boosting good time; one cruise recently having 43 cars attending!
Keep it up guys, great to see that you are enjoying, and with it also being AGM time there will be more changes ahead within the committee to help build more fun and value into your membership. Spiro Koulianos
Welcome New Club Members! Club Secretary, Sam Jongenelis, and Membership Officer, Neil Branum Fellow members please make new members feel welcome at future events.
We hope they will enjoy their time in the club, and wish them the very best.
444 Dylan Butler 445 Alex Mattingly 446 Daniel Caruana 447 Alex Pesa 448 Kylie Singleton 449 Lachlan Adam 450 Jake Zuppa 451 Nigel Brinkley 452 Paul Regan 453 Nigel McGaffin 454 Les Pearce 455 Paul Bugala 456 Daniel McAdam 457 Kyle Brown 458 Nick Michaloudakis
2014 Subaru WRX Concept Unveiling
On the evening of the 13th June, Jarvis Subaru on West Tce held the unveiling of the long awaited 2014 Subaru WRX Concept. Plenty of food and drink were available with Jarvis staff on hand to answer any questions that were asked. On view were several BRZs option pack specials and the BRZ rally car built by PBMS, I wonder if it will ever see a gravel stage? Also on view was the next Evo version of the WRX with some STi add ons and leather trimmed Recaros and a sunroof. Fuji Heavy Industries have said for some time that they will move away from the Impreza platform for the WRX and have a small, lightweight performance car. A return to the WRXs roots is what their surveys have shown their customers want. This car is supposedly the culmination of that project.
Many pictures of the Concept have been published after the cars debut at the New York Motor Show. The car was supposed to appear at the Melbourne Motor Show but the cancellation of that event sees the car going to Docklands Subaru, Sydney and Adelaide. So we are very lucky to see the car here at all.
After a presentation by the Subaru National Sales Manager that supposedly showed the 40 years of Subaru in Australia but really only showed the history of the WRX, he alluded to the changes for the new model, after this the car was unveiled. The first thing that you notice is the size. Its no small pocket rocket, in fact it looks to be the same wheel base as the current car or the BRZ. Pedestrian impact regulations see the car with a blunt nose and a large hexagonal style radiator inlet seen before on other Subarus. Wide front arches and a waist line encompassing the door handles on its way to the boot give the car a nice aggressive but flowing line. The pinched in boot reminiscent of a BMW 5 series but better 4
looking, works for the car as does the M3-esque rear under tray diffuser and quad exhausts. The roof, supposedly carbon fibre, sweeps down to the boot in the style of a 4 door coupe that the Euro car companies like to produce. Large rims, massive 6 or 8 pot front brakes and highly detailed front and rear lights and small wing mirrors finish the car off to make the whole thing look like the best Subaru design since the V5 STi hit our shores. While many of the details wouldnâ€™t make it onto a road going version such as the massive rims, detailed mirrors and front lights, much of the rest could carry over very easily especially with LED technology for the lights.
However, the Sales Manager let the cat out of the bag with regard to the actual road going version. Donâ€™t expect anything more in the looks department than the headlight shape, hexagonal grille and the intercooler inlet on the bonnet to carry over onto the existing dumpy looking body. And this is a real shame since Subaru need a hero car that can sell at 300-400 units per month in Oz, just as the classic Rex did in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Instead they have simply rejigged an over sized, over weight family car for middle ages drivers........again.
Article by Neil Branum
WELCOME New Committee 2013/2014 The new committee for 2014 as voted in at our August AGM: President: Sam Jongenelis Vice President: Spiro Koulianos Secretary: Sam Jongenelis Treasurer: Damien Hirst Membership Officer: Gareth Scanlen Rex Driver Magazine Editor: Seth Coultas Events Coordinator: Tania Langcake Cruise Master: Sam Jongenelis Motorsport Coordinator: Damien Hirst CAMS Officer: Matt Knighton Webmaster: Ben Hersey Social Media: Rob Gromball General Positions: Garry Dodd, John Tomazos, Matt Cherry
WRXSA committee year 2012/2013 started out fairly bleak with record low member numbers. The then chosen committee had 2 options: Fold & admit defeat or stay positive & find ways to “BOOST” the snail fraternity into 2013/14. The resurgence of members had hit the ground running from the AGM with 9 new members on the night & steadily kept growing throughout the year. We started with approximately 27 members “if I heard correctly at the meeting” & grew this to 98 members a month away from the 2013/14 AGM - WELL DONE ALL.. Awesome achievement. Facebook integration/inclusion has played a huge part of this growth with WRXSA Page & the 400+ strong member base of Subaru Scene of South Australia. With the new blood comes new ideas & a refreshed energy/vibe that will hopefully fuel the momentum of 2013 into 2014 & beyond.
Committee 2012/2013 Well done to all on a fantastic year of growth which would not have happened without your dedication to the cause. BIG THANK YOU to Jeremy & Brook for their invaluable many years of service to the club, Jeremy is stepping down this year as treasurer, also Spiro who has been at the helm for the past 3 years through the good & the bad has led us to where we are today. Neil Branum who also is a long serving invaluable member of the club has chosen to step aside as Membership Officer & myself (Gary) am stepping down from the committee as Vice president & Rex Driver editor for the 2013/14 period.
2014 is going to be challenging & hopefully exciting along the way for the new committee. Lets show that Subaru Scene is very much still alive & well in South Australia. GO SIK ‘EM Rex’s & Rexettes
WRXSA With the S&J club championships over half way through the season, we are seeing some great results across all disciplines but “DON’T FORGET GUYS n GALS” to qualify for the championships you MUST compete in at least 3 of the disciplines. Time is running out with only 6 rounds to go so fuel up & get boosting. 29 September 2013 Porsche Club Supersprint Rnd 5 Mallala Motorsport Park 20 October 2013 Hillclimb, Multi Club Rnd 3 Collingrove 27 October 2013 Modern Regularity Mallala Motorsport Park 3 November 2013 Porsche Club Supersprint Rnd 6 Mallala Motorsport Park 16 November 2013 Street Drags Adelaide International Raceway 24 November 2013 Porsche Club Motorkhana Mallala Motorsport Park
Round8 - Modern regularity not proving to be a popular discipline amongst race goers was followed by Round9 - Multi club hill climb which is always a big hit with the Rex’s. Round10 - Supersprint was originally organised by Hirsti as a mega club event & was gaining momentum to what looked
for PB’s. Round12 - Ozgymkhana, newest & most popular event by far was again well attended & clashed with the PC Supersprint causing drop in Alan Driver numbers at Mallala. Round13 Motorkhana saw Reeper ripping up the bitumen as can be seen on the website (great viewing) & finally Round14 Winter cup3. Let the competition continue. like the biggest gathering of members at a motorsport event in many many years until mother nature decided to unleash bucket loads of H2O flooding Mallala track causing Clem to close the track :( Keep eyes on forum for another sprint gathering possibly November 3rd.
Alan Driver on return road Collingrove
Rdoun11 - Winter Cup2 saw Tania, Alan & Russell hit the hill again refining their launch skills in the chase
Overcast and cool, a bit of moisture on the road, wet in spots. Time for some fun! The words “very spirited” were used a few times at the end of the day and on posts about the day and I think the description was very apt! This was my first time on this particular cruise, I had been promised great roads with a lot to offer and I was not disappointed! We assembled at Beaumont Road Car park near the cor ner of Greenhill and Fullarton. Modest turnout of about 10 cars. Our trusted and reliable club secretary Sam Jongenelis turned up to get us organised and moving, even though he was without his trusty steed for the day! It was a little disappointing that no one seemed ke en on being lead car or tail car for that matter. Sam ended up joining me as navigator and we set off. A hatch leading again ;-) Heading up Fullarton Rd, turning left on to Glen Osmond, heading for the hills and a lunch date in Strathalbyn. A little regr oup at the bottom of the freeway before taking in the awesomeness that is ‘Eagle on the Hill’. Wet roads at this point so a small amount of wre stling with grip was required (that armco didn’t really get that close Sam). Back out on the freeway and a gentle rumble up to the Bridgewater off ramp. Left up the hill and third gear was found. This stretch of road is a personal favourite. Right on to Gum Flat rd and a quick check to make sure all were accounted for, but no tail car, oh well. A series of great roads, some quite technical and challenging, let the ‘spirite d driving’ commence! First official regroup at the cemetery car park on Snelling road, great for a photo opportunity and a tree to stand be hind for a few minutes. Bit of car talk, a stretch of the legs and off again. Smiles all around! The next section of roads offered some more opportunities for ‘spirited’ wheel work. Taking in, amongst others the ‘retort hi ll’ Classic Adelaide stage but in reverse. No, we weren’t driving in reverse, we did the stage backwards. Macclesfield rd, Greenhill rd, Whi tes rd, Flaxley rd and ending up in Strathalbyn for lunch, hang on, it’s only 11:25…. See, spirited! After a great lunch at Victoria Hotel in Strath, we set off for the last leg of the day. Leaving Strath on the amazing Paris Creek road (passing Paris Creek Dairy, great milk and yoghurt btw). Missed the small dirt access road for the sharp left onto the Meadows-Goolwa road, oh well everyone made it around. Now this is a great stretch of road! Through Ashbourne and right onto Nangkita Rd then Enterprise ro ad and on to Proctor road. At this point I know Wickhams hill isn’t too far away, but this time we are going down, not up… I hope the brak es on the guy right up my backside is up to the task.. So we get onto Range road, I must admit one of my favourites, with reasonable straig hts and tight corners makes this a reasonably technical stretch of road so big smiles at this point. Then ‘Vrooom Vrooom’ Wickhams Hill Rd. Given how often this stretch of road features on the cruises I have experienced so far I would say it is one of the clubs favourites, b ut going down the hill.. Hmm, that guy behind seems awfully close Sam…. Sharp right and we are heading toward Clarendon and the last regroup of the day. Very quick stop at Clarendon and a right turn toward Blackwood. Looks like another brilliant day on the black stuff, incident free. Final stop in Blackwood and what a fantastic day! A little bit of damp on the road always makes for some fun and ‘spirited’ was definite ly a great description of the day. Thanks WRXSA
By Steve Turner 9
Josh Doyle/Kate Lehmann on Baynes Gully 1
Story & photos FRANK KUTSCHE
Wests entering one of the ‘Mineshatfs’ James Rodda/David Langfield launching at ‘the Big Jump’
All good things must come to an end. Sadly it is time for the traditional and much beloved Subies and EVO Lancers to move aside for a new brigade of rally cars. Recently Scott Pedder and organising committee made the decision that smaller 2litre turbo non-AWD cars would be the way of the future. Time will tell if the viewing public embrace this new formula. The kicker is that the former AWD cars are no longer eligible for points in the ARC, and are relegated to their own 4WD class as a supporting act.
The British rally championship went down the same path a few years ago, and the result was exodus of many recognised top name drivers, such as Guy Wilks to name but one.
ROSA … by
any other name
Scott Pedder/Dale Moscatt on Baynes Gully 1 on Heat 1
Granted the new formula cars have a ‘noise’ factor, needing to be revved hard to get them through sloppy conditions without the advantage of AWD. So the spectators may have to endure the little fellas bogging down in muddy corners scrabbling for grip! The new formula is meant to make rallying more affordable and reduce overall costs, but it could be argued that bucketloads of money will be spent at the pointy end of the field to have the competitive and development edge, therefore where will the saving advantage be? The major advantage is that more car manufacturers are now represented, compared to the traditional Subaru vs Mitsubishi battle (with some hybrid ‘non-buyable‘ Corollas thrown in).
The 2013 Scouts Rally of SA event once again was devoid of Adelaide Hills Council roads and therefore required ‘friendly’ councils’ roads and the generosity of Forestry SA for the use of Mt Crawford Forest roads. To obtain sufficient distance several stages were run in both directions and multiple times. New stages, HQ and Gum Flat were added, and the Super Specials on Friday night moved to Gawler. Baynes Gully was a rebadged Forties-Ridgetops stage, and Tower Road the reverse. Dewells stage, last year’s very west stage was back, as were Goldfields (west of Williamstown), ManFour (with the awesome jumps), Honeysuckle, and stages around the High Eden area.
ROSA was broken up into 4 classes: ARC, 4WD, Classic and SARC, with some cars eligible for more than one class. The ARC (nonAWD) class included ‘driftpigs’ of Jack Monkhouse and Nick Box from WA in a Nissan 350Z (what the ...?), as well as the Tyler’s Renault Clio and Busby’s RX7 and a mix of traditional ‘womens’ cars (yes, the media said it) - Honda Jazz, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2. Brendan Reeves and Molly Taylor were competing and brought a wealth of new found knowledge and skills after competing in Europe. Friday was restricted to prologue stages and one ‘Power’ stage (for only ARC cars) before the Gawler Super Specials. The meague 20mm rain during the week didn’t result in flowing creeks disappointing fans and photographers alike.
Will Orders ordering some rocks around
Pohlner/Moore Subaru deep in the forest, but no Blair Witch
HEAT 1: Evans/Weston in a Honda Jazz made their intentions clear from the start. Eli Evans took out the 2 Gawler stages, and then was fastest by 3secs on Dewells 1 (SS3), 4secs on Baynes Gully 1 (SS4), Baynes Gully 2 (SS6), 0.5sec on Corryton Park (SS7), 3.5secs on Tower Road 1 (SS8) and another 4secs on the final stage Dewells 2 (SS10) of Heat 1 run on Saturday. The final scheduled stage of the day Tower Road 2 was abandoned due to late time. Ely was second on the 2 stages he did not win. An almost flawless display of aggressive but measured driving and a warning to the others. At the end of day Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt would finish 19secs in arrears with Brendan Reeves (fresh from his stint in Europe rallying) sitting a further 23secs behind Pedder. Three cars were reported as DNF’s including Michael Busby’s sweet RX7. Three more cars did not complete all the stages including Jack Monkhouse and Nick Box in their driftpigs.
Eleven cars comprised the 4WD class. It was a SA affair at the top with the classy Declan Dwyer, who took out the Heat finishing 20secs slower than the winning ARC car of Ely Evans. Dowel, a previous ROSA winner held on for second spot 21 secs behind Dwyer, and James Rodda over a minute behind in 3rd place. Not all 4WD SARC cars are automatically eligible as 4WD class cars. The Subaru Forester of Brett Middleton was belching black smoke but as it is a diesel (?) that was normal, but some underlying gremlin stepped in and the Forester failed to finish SS5 and was out for the rest of the day and the rally. Not really a rally car in the true sence, it was not alone this year as a Porsche Cayenne was also entered and it remained there intact finishing in 8 th for the day. SARC saw class driver Declan Dwyar (Mitsubishi EVO) lead by nearly 2 minutes over the rest of the field, with James Rodda (Subaru WRX) in 2nd and the Krichauff Brothers (Subaru WRX) in 3rd, with Heenan/Kreisl (Mitsubishi Galant), Josh Doyle/Kate Lehmann (Mitsubishi EVO) and the Wests (Subaru WRX) making up the 4th to 6th placings.
Brett Middleton had the Forester belching smoke
Gary Brown/Mike Dale always entertaining
Declan Dwyar was was trying to keep up with the ARC boys
Brendan Reeves launching the Mazda 2 Josh Doyle sliding the Evo 9 around on Tower Road Who else gets this much air?, none other than Jack Monkhouse!
The Classic class is a fun class for the fans comprising some older machinery, including Neil Bates in a Group B Toyota Celica, Barry Lowe in his often sideways green Commodore, Neville Whittenbury in his Datto 180 SSS, but unfortunately this year no Porsche 911 of David. Unfortunately the potency of the Bates Celica kills of all comers and it easily accounted for the win, winning by 5mins from Whittenbury. Barry Lowe (one of the most seasoned drivers around) did the unthinkable and rolled his Commodore in Baynes Gully 1 (SS4) and out of the rally, much to the disappointment of his many fans.
HEAT 2: Day 2 comprised 7 stages including the ManFour stage and its two big jumps and Honeysuckle stage in the Nairne area before the field headed back to Mt Crawford Forest. A new stage was added this year called HQ. The day would end with stage west of Williamstown on the hill crests with the final run through the Corryton Park and High Eden areas northwest if Springton. Neil Bates had the Celica wound up to the max Eli Evans in the Honda Jazz would not take the foot off the pedal on day 2 of the event. He recorded 5 out of the 7 fastest stage times and clearly was the cream of the crop for the weekend and grab maximum points. However, he didn’t finish that far ahead of the hard-charging Scott Pedder in the Renault Clio only 18 seconds in arrears. The stages Evans didn’t win belonged to Scott Pedder but by only 1 second in each. Brendan Reeves was a distant third after the day, with Tom Wilde, Mark Pedder in 4th and 5th respectively. Reeves best for the day was a fine third on SS16. Notable absentees at the finish were the flamboyant Jack Monkhouse, Will Orders and Nick Box, all driving cars that don’t have traditional rally pedigrees...might be something there. Yorke Peninsula’s Brown/Chaplain combiThe 4WD category had a major turn of events. Justin Dowell and Declan Dwyer set about to absolutely smash the opposition, recording times 32 seconds above the next placed drivers of Harding (Subaru WRX) and Josh Doyle on the first stage of the day, Honeysuckle, near Nairne.
Mark Pedder/Claire Ryan on HQ
Brendan Reeves out on the road
However it was all to unravel for Dwyer in ManFour as he rolled his car while pushing hard, but worse was for Dilallo and Pedersen in an Evo 6.5 hitting a tree very hard. Josh Doyle and Kate Lehmann were first on the scene and their cool heads helped get the ambo’s there in quick time. Dwyar used his fireman skills to help with the emergency. Sadly the crew required urgent medical intervention and extraction to hospital. It was a sobering thought for all drivers how easily things can go wrong and severity of it. For the remainder of the field afterwards they were diverted elsewhere as emergency vehicles had to enter and the crews do their jobs unhindered. Dwyer’s car was considered too badly damaged and left the rally as a DNF.
Bowden’s Polo playing amongst the big trees
So much so that he grabbed 3 of the fastest 6 stage times (excluding the aborted ManFour stage). He was most definitely on a charge. Michael Krichauff had other ideas and set about to keep in the hunt and not be intimidated by Brown, scoring the fastest time on SS16. The Wests grabbed the win in the final stage to spoil the party but not before Brown/ Dale in the Galant beat out the Krichauffs by a mere 10 seconds at the end of the heat. A noticeable celebrity at HQ was Ross Dunkerton. Heenan was a further 25 seconds back in 3rd and the Wests recording an admirable 4 th place 2 seconds further back only. The aging Datto 180B SSS of Neville Whittenbury came in 5th .
Classic Category results were rather predictable with Neil Bates and the awesome sounding and looking Celica powering to a 3minute win for Heat 2 over Neville Whittenbury’s Datto 180B SSS. Barry Lowe’s Commodore was too far damaged the day before to start the heat.
The SARC category had a very exciting finish with unlikely heroes….not in their eyes of the winners! James Rodda was the favourite after demise of Dywer in ManFour stage after he took the first 2 stages convincingly, smashing the opposition. However things started going wrong for him in SS14 where Subaru started developing problems and he drove to a 3rd place behind Gary Brown now with the bit firmly between the teeth and with an imaginary tailwind. Michael Krichauff piloted the Subaru to 2nd place. Brown was trying to make amends after his disappointing Heat 1 result.
Ely Evans was a class act, here on the ManFour stage
What’s better than one Krichauff? Two of them threading their way through the big trees!
James Rodda tried hard to make up lost ground in stages SS16-18 after a dismal SS15 of 12minutes+ against winning stage times of 7mins. He haemorrhaged more time in SS16, but in SS17 was only 15secs behind the winning stage time as he nursed the ailing Subaru home for some valuable points in the SARC. However the gremlins returned in the final stage but he managed to limp through the final stages and avoided a DNF. After the Heat 1 and Heat 2 results were combined, the Krichauff Brothers emerged the winners by the slenderest margin (1/2 a point I believe), a most worthy and memorable win. RD
Coppin/Batten in their Fiesta being watched by none other than Ross Dunkerton
here are some movies that are best enjoyed with friends, and the Fast & Furious movies are a perfect example. The WRXSA Fast & Furious 6 movie night was a great chance for members to catch up and enjoy some “Movie Junk Food” that was full of fast cars, beautiful people, explosions and over the top action; a great recipe if you ask me. Everyone knows going in what to expect, it is not Schindler’s list or When Harry Met Sally, it is The Fast & Furious! If you don’t know what to expect, pay more attention! With each successive iteration the Fast & Furious movies have been getting bigger and bigger, both in terms of the budget and absurdity. So rather than trying to provide a review of the latest over the top instalment (I am sure if you are interested in the series you have already seen it), I thought it would be interesting to look back at where it all started.
10 mph: Off the starting line, the Nissan pulls ahead by one car length. 40 mph: Still in first gear, the driver jams the stick into second, and his head snaps back. The tires let out a brief squeal. 100 mph: The Starion pulls closer. There’s a halting moment when it looks like the Nissan might lose. It lasts about one hundredth of a second. 160 mph: Gritting his teeth, the man behind the wheel of the Nissan begins to shake from the speed; his vision is a blur. He doesn’t see the Starion closing in.
In researching this I discovered that the very first movie was actually inspired by an article in Vibe Magazine, May 1998 titled “Racer X” by Kenneth Li. The article tells the story of Rafael Estevez from Queens and when it was brought to the attention of Universal Studios executive Scott Stuber he saw the movie potential and made it happen. It was impossible for me to find an original (or scanned) copy of the article but I did find what appears to be a text grab online at http://www.decibelcar.com/menugeneric/106.html and I have included it here for your enjoyment.
Estevez, a 30-year-old Dominican drag racer from Washington Heights, is considered an OG among a growing legion of young speed junkies terrorizing the back alleys, highways, and legal racetracks around New York City. The urban drag racing frenzy was started in the early ‘90s by a tightly-knit crew of Asian-American boys in Southern California and is now hitting hard on the East Coast. The hundreds of kids who line New York hot spots like Francis Lewis Boulevard in Queens or the Fountain Avenue strip in Brooklyn every weekend are an urban polyglot of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Chinese, Filipino, Jamaican, Italian and other ethnicities who have one thing in common:
Estevez leads a new generation of fearless young racers burning up New York’s streets and racetracks in their tricked-out Japanese compacts.
They love hurtling metal, meat and rubber through the concrete jungle at dangerous velocities.
At dusk, they take over the road. Roaring and buzzing like locusts, the swarm of asphalt-scraping Japanese cars — with swooping rear wings and brightly colored logos — merges from the side streets of Uptown Manhattan onto the traffic-congested Henry Hudson Parkway. Zigzagging back and forth like jet-fueled go-carts, they slow to a stop, blocking off three lanes of oncoming cars in preparation for the infamous mile-long run. A black Nissan 300ZX and a white Mitsubishi Starion pull out of the pack and creep up to the starting line. As the sun dances on the nearby river, the sound of honking horns and screaming drivers is drowned out by the sonic blast of the two engines revving for takeoff. A stocky Latino dude in a blinding yellow shirt stands in the middle of the highway and raises his hands. Both cars lurch and halt like chained pit bulls, their wheels spitting out black smoke. The hands drop.
Crossing the finish line, the Nissan driver, Rafael Estevez, wins by one car length. In less than a minute, the guy in the Mitsubishi has lost $7,500. Glowing with confidence, Estevez immediately challenges him for $2,500 and offers an 18-car lead and beats him again.
Young men have been fascinated with tweaking and tuning big block Chevys and Mustangs since the days of Rebel Without a Cause. But the new guys wouldn’t be caught dead driving the gaudy muscular beasts of yesteryear. Instead, they’re tricking out low-buck Japanese imports like Honda Civics and Acura Integras and tattooing them like skateboards with Neuspeed and Greddy car parts stickers. By stroking the engine, adding a supercharger, and hitting the “juice” (nitrous oxide: a gaseous liquid once used to boost bomber planes in WWII), they can smoke the herb in the Iroc at the stoplight. And to do it with a puny four-cylinder rice burner that your moms would drive is downright arrogant. “It’s about power. It’s about the control of power,” philosophizes Shawn Rousseau, a chunky West Indian racer in baggy jeans and Timberland boots. He’s hanging out at the packed Eastern Autosports store in Queens, New York, where kids in the scene go to chill and tune their cars. “The excitement of going fast is like nothing else,” says Javier Ortega, a Columbian-American who screeches his blue Honda Civic to a halt in front of the store. “Another group gets excitement from doing drugs or whatever. Speed excites us.” Few know that excitement like Estevez. Six feet tall with stooped shoulders and a healthy gut, he writes his own rules. Forget about valor, compassion, honor; in his book, that’s all synonymous with second place. “People say I cheat all the time,” explains Estevez, a Huck Finn grin spreading across his face. “They say I jump the line, I do this, I do that. Drag racing is war. If you bring a knife, and I bring a machine gun, you’re dead. That’s it.”
“Half of the race is psychology, and mentally he’s set,” says Sanchez. “One way or another, he’ll find a way to beat you even if he’s driving the slower car.” As a kid growing up in Washington heights, Estevez remembers being transfixed every week by TV’s The Dukes of Hazzard. “The Dukes pulled a lot of stunts, soared through the air, and were always getting chased by cops,” he recalls. “The best part was they would always get away.” Estevez’s own fantasies of jetting from the potbellied law came together when he first discovered “the Strip” along 190th and Amsterdam Avenue, in Upper Manhattan. Over many humid summer nights amid the caramel-colored bodega lights and din of merengue and hip -hop, a younger Estevez came to study the form of the best oldtimers. “The guy Carlito, forget it,” says Estevez, both arms going up in mock defeat. “We always used to want to race him.” Estevez stood there for hours every weekend evening, taking mental notes: how Carlito’s body shifted moments before take off, his deadlocked gaze, the catlike smirk. It became a to-do checklist for later. Carlito quit racing before Estevez ever got to challenge him. Instead, Estevez raced his boys on a strip behind Shea Stadium. His first car was a 1972 orange Datsun 510 grocery getter that he pulled apart and reassembled hundreds of times to eke out extra juice. By the time he was 16, Estevez dropped out of school to devote all his time to cars. He worked at several garages, honing his skills on other people’s autos. All the money went right back into his own machine.
Street rule No. 1: Gun it before the hands drop. “Whenever someone is about to go, they always do something with their body,” says Estevez. “Right before they drop the clutch, they usually pitch forward. I don’t watch the guy *in between the cars+ to say go. I just wait for the other guy to move, and then I go before he does.” Juan J. Sanchez, Estevez’s road dawg of 16 years, describes him as an unbeatable foe.
He constantly remade his car, forging his reputation every time he smoked another friend. That was the heyday of street racing, when wagers soared and reputations rose and fell in the blink of an eye. But then the cops started cracking down.
“It’s a real problem,” says NYPD Chief Michael Ansbro, who’s witnessed racers cutting up traffic along the mile-long strip on the Henry Hudson freeway. “I couldn’t believe how many people were weaving in and out of traffic. I’d be doing sixty, and the next thing you know, they’re flying right by.”
The Christmas tree lights drop down: Yellow, yellow, yellow… His wheels are squealing in their disc-brake bear traps. Green, he stuffs the accelerator. The car lurches out of the gate and disappears across the horizon. Eleven-point-three-six seconds later, Estevez makes history, becoming the East Coast’s fastest Honda car racer.
Last summer, a joint operation between Highway One police and the local 24th Precinct targeted illegal racing on 190th and Amsterdam. Between July and December 1997, the police issued 310 speeding tickets and 150 summonses for various violations. Now, a marked squad car works in tandem with an unmarked car during prime weekend hours to apprehend speed demons on the Henry Hudson. Estevez and crew are forever playing cat-and mouse with the police. “I do anything I have to do to get away from the cops,” says Estevez, who’s been chased on more than one occasion. “I’m not trying to go to jail.” In the past year or so, the street racers have found a few “new drag spots,” but they’ve also begin to turn to the legal racetracks in new Jersey and Long Island to test their mettle. To gun it against the towering digital time boards, among the heavy metal-heads in domestic Mustangs and Camaros, no special license is needed at the entry gate, run through tech inspection, and you’re ready to race. Tacked onto Estevez’s yellowing fridge door, the flier reads in bold: DRAG WARS: THE TRISTATES FIRST IMPORT STREET DRAG. The stakes are high. Big money sponsors like Penzoil and HKS U.S.A., car magazines Turbo and Super Street, and thousands of spectators from the streets will be keeping score at the Atco Raceway in New Jersey. Two months before the big race, the boys at Speed and Sound, a tuner shop in Yonkers, relentlessly hammer away at Estevez’s civilian issue ’92 Civic. The transformation is sick. The stock engine has been replaced with a granite black motor borrowed from the Acura Integra GSR. Enlarged tubes of matte silver metal called headers loop around the top of the engine bay. They are intended, along with the softball-size turbochargers affixed to the front of the GSR, to dramatically boost output.
The five thousand sitting on the bleachers jump to their feet, roaring in the day’s first standing ovation. Estevez didn’t break the California Honda record of 10.61 seconds, but unlike the stripped-down trailer-towed compacts in the West, his car was driven to the track in heavy stock trim, with full glass and interior.
Just three days before the event, everything starts to go wrong. Estevez is rushed to the hospital and has to be operated on for an infected appendix. That same evening, he’s back at the shop massaging his bandages as he slowly limps around the car to check everything out. On the big day, the flatbed tow truck they ordered never shows. The car is also acting up. The turbo Back at Estevez’s tent, auto industry reps and reporters line up to computer mounted on the dashboard jumps out of its saddle every shakes his hand. Lucrative endorsement deals will pay for the time the Civic lunges forward. pricey car parts he needs to follow the race circuits up and down the eastern seaboard; and maybe, if Estevez is lucky, he’ll head to “I just hope I don’t break anything,” Estevez says with fingers Cali, where the big boys will be waiting to take a crack at him. It’s crossed, not sure if he means himself or the car. He drives it to the the first glimmer of a legal career in the growing, adrenalinetrack in New Jersey. It’s an overcast morning, with temperatures charged sport of import drag racing. And it’s making him hovering near the 70s — a perfect day for racing. On the first run misty-eyed today. of the day, Estevez scores 12.02 seconds on the quarter mile. “I said I would do it, and then I did it,” Estevez says proudly. Respectable for an amateur, but no big shakes. On Estevez’s second run, it happens.
A few days later, Estevez is streaking down Henry Hudson Parkway in the Civic, past the sparkling tiara of the New Jersey nightscape. As he floors the now record-setting ride, the cockpit rumbles with Gatling gun intensity. Over the roar, whistle, and hiss of the engine, he screams, “Do you hear that fluttering?” He checks off a list of problems. “That’s just one thing. The headers are leaking. We need to weld a differential to put more power to the ground; remap the computer. “Every time I find another problem with the car, it makes me even happier,” he adds. “When I fix it, it means I’ll go even faster.”
His eyes are lowered half-mast, nodding occasionally like he’s studying what the car has to tell him. For Estevez, it’s not the contest between racers that really matters but the abstract dialogue between the soul of a racer and his machine. Oddly, the makeshift dash cluttered with gauges — telling him everything from water pressure to fuel mixture — is missing one key thing: a speedometer. There’s a good reason. “When you know how fast you’re going,” says Estevez, punching the throttle again, “you’ll slow down.”
It is clear to see how this article provided the inspiration for the first movie, it gives an insight into the culture and people who are generally classified in the media today as ‘HOONS” and how they are in fact just people doing what they love. It seems to me that the newer movies ‘try’ to keep in touch with these grass-root origins but as they get more outrageous it becomes harder to shoe-horn this in. They only seem to dip into the “street racing scene” briefly in the last couple of movies, generally as an excuse to get some information, find a contact or score some new cars. This is fine by me as the movies are still very enjoyable, but they no longer have that level of depth that drew me into the very first one. I know it might sound lame, but the original Fast & Furious holds a special place in my heart, it was released at the exact right time for me. I had always liked the idea of cars and racing but had never had the opportunity or motivation to pursue it further. When the original movie came out in June 2001 it inspired me! I was an impressionable22 year old, fresh out of Uni and had just started working full time. The first thing I wanted to do after watching this movie was buy a new car! Not having any experience (or sense) I chose a regular Lancer with and EVO body kit and sports exhaust. It looked just like the cars in the movie and while it had bugger-all power, it opened the door to the local (Melbourne) cars scene. I started going on cruises and just like in the movie I discovered the comradery that exists between people that share a love for their cars. Instead of spending Saturday nights at night clubs getting drunk we spent them hanging around deserted industrial estates or car park s up in the hills discussing the advantages or drawbacks of various cars. I still watch the original Fast & Furious at least once a year, its great on sick days where you just want to veg out on the couch and recite all the lines in your head. This has gotten to the point where every time I hear the ‘Universal Pictures’ intro music my bra in goes straight to thinking that I am about to watch The Fast & Furious! While number 6 may not get the same kind of viewing rotation in fits in well with the direction of the series, and thanks to the box office sales it is no surprise that number 7 will be along shortly. Seth Coultas
AND WILLUNGA HILLCLIMB The Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally was on again and the Rally organisers had the Old Willunga Hill as a stage for 2013. With this they decided to allow some cars from the public to enter the Hill Climb only. Needing 20 cars to cover the costs of running the Old Willunga Hill Climb as a separate event but with the Tarmac Rally to utilise the road closure, organisers were very surprised with up to 70 cars entering within very short notice! I was fortunate enough to enter early with my STI 2 door and was entered and ready to go before the supplementary regulations were even released! So I had no idea how or what time the event was going to be. As it worked out, the Hill Climb was on a Saturday morning 9am, running til 1pm and using the Main Victor Harbour Road as a return road, it would allow a smooth 3 runs up the Old Willunga. Now 3 runs may not sound many but the entire length from bottom to top was a good two minute plus flat out drive, so it was worthwhile entering. Serafino Winery was the host of Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally and what a perfect venue for it. Situated in McLaren Vale and central to all Tarmac Stages, it was a picturesque setting for over a hundred exotic and classic performance cars of all kinds. I arrived at Serafino at 8am and checked in getting the STI scrutineered, the drivers briefing and some quick breakfast before lining up for a ‘Rally Style’ start under the AHTR banner. From Serafino, entrants travelled a few minutes apart from each car through McLaren Vale and down to Willunga main street to regroup in line at the bottom of Old Willunga Hill. The traditional Farmers Market was on at Willunga also, so the town I lined up and mingled with other drivers while awaiting was full and alive of all sorts of action. The day was wet as some my turn, many other Hill Climb competitors had their light rain was hanging about. I made the decision to use street R-spec tyres on taking the chance it will dry out enough. tyres on original 16inch WRX rims for So first run starting around 10am was wet! We had to wait the weekend regardless of rain or not briefly as a couple of cars had come off or spun. Naturally had as the Old Willunga road can be a bit to happen as it was wet and no one has experienced this ‘track’ slippery on cold frosty mornings. before. Rolling the STI up to the start line I was greeted by several officials and a large digital clock, giving me a true Rally Style start same as the Tarmac Rally cars. One official wrote a time on a whiteboard, this was my start time. Another official directed me to the line and another checked my helmet and belt and thumbs up with a good luck cheer. Watching the clock as it nears my start time, an official puts both hands up in front my windscreen. Ten seconds he yells. Cool. Select first gear. Get comfy. One hand goes up. Five seconds yelled. Then waves four fingers, I start kicking up some revs around 4grand max as it is wet, I don’t want excessive wheel spin. Still waving his fingers, three two one, waves his hand forward, there’s no green light, only the clock! Easy take off the clutch, mash the accelerator and good start but some predictable long wheel spin through first gear the STI gets a good run up the straight. Now having never gone fast tracked up Old Willunga before, it was a bit of a guessing game come the corners especially in the wet. Anyhow I got halfway up and a Red Flag was waving! Someone’s off in trouble again! Coming around the first main corner was an EVO facing wrong way, from a spin on the second main corner. Nothing to worry about, just be cautious and continue on slowly and go all way round down the Main Road back into Willunga and line up again for a re run. Cool. Bit like a practice run. Restarted pretty much same as first time and took all the corners with cau tion learning which gear is best as I went winding up the hill. What drive! The constant left and right with a couple of straights in between was just pure Rex Driving!! 18
I couldn’t wait for next run now I had the ‘track’ set in my head. Dark clouds were overhead but didn’t rain luckily. The st art of the Hill Climb felt good but was still very slippery up the top with some heavy oversteering on last corner which incidentally is the tightest turn before a flying finish. Once across the finish point, you slowly drive up to the check point which was situated next to the l arge Tour Down Under Crown painted on the road, and the officials give the finishing time. Unfortunately being single driver with no navigat or, I’m not in a position to write this down therefore I couldn’t work out my run times on the day. Second run was similar to first. Third and last run was around 12pm as I think the event was running a bit behind. Organisers were doing the best they could to push the cars through as the Stage had to be reopened to public by a required time. It was drying out and good enough to give my STI a push for speed. I started the last run with a sloppy start but quickly accelerated once into second gear. Still accelerating and into fourth with up to 160km/h and only using third gear for 11 Right hand corners and 14 Left hand corners I counted with two straights where we can speed up. It was a good final run, w ith an awesome drive in the STI. Adding to the atmosphere, many photographers on the edge on the track and other various spots with a h uge bunch of spectators halfway up, really gives that rally thrill that I haven’t had with any other event. Last run recorded a time of 1min33.00 in slight wet conditions. Overall times were accumulated and I was 10th place out of 70 cars. I was happy with this since a Lamb orghini was first fastest! Included in the entry fee was a Rally Dinner Ticket for Saturday night at Serafino. I purchased an extra ticket for my wife and we both joined the Rally Drivers over a full various selection of roast dinner and drinks. The food was great as was expected by Sera fino. The organisers, Ultimate Motorsports, have done a successful event once again and I’m really looking forward to this event again next year. Hopefully I may see some WRXSA members out there too as I’m sure I was the only club member entered besides Seth Coultas (STI) ru nning the course car. It’s as good and dare I say, if not better than Mt Alma Mile! And plenty of potential to become a huge popular ev ent thanks to Ultimate Motorsports and many officials. Damien Hirst
Tour Leader Checking In
For many of us tarmac rally is the panicle of our club level motorsport dreams. To fly down closed road stages free from the concern of speed limits and oncoming traffic. It is the ultimate driving experience! The reality is that many of us will never get th is chance, competing in a tarmac rally is very expensive, with entry fees in the thousands, not to mention that to be eligible to compet e in a competition class you will need a dedicated race car with a roll cage at the very least. Last year the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally introduced the Tour category that allowed normal road registered cars to have a tas te of this rally experience. For a reduced fee you could participate in the rally but none of the stages would be timed and there was a maximum speed limit of 130km/h. This may sound somewhat limited but considering you can do it in the same car you drive to work, it i s a good compromise. While I was not in a position to enter as a tour car, the stars were aligned just right, so that I was given the opportunity to lead this group of cars as a course car. That means no entry fee, and being able to cruise around some of Adelaide’s best roads at ‘speed’.
While it is an opportunity of a lifetime please don’t think it is a cruisy job, it is a full on weekend, especially when you are driving home each night (to look after a pregnant wife no less) and not staying somewhere close to the Rally HQ. Ignoring any car preparati on you do leading up to the event it is flat-out from scrutineering on Friday night to the presentation ceremony Sunday evening. But every second is worth it! As Damien has already described, the racing started Saturday morning at Old Willunga Hill and after 3 very slippery runs, up the very wet hill we moved on to the Greenhill & Bull Creek stages in the afternoon. These are some great roads; Greenhill in particul ar is a very popular cruise destination (perhaps to the ire of local residents). It starts immediately with a windy up-hill climb opening into some fast sweeping corners then a sharp hairpin right hander that is a popular spectator spot. Slide out of the hairpin strai ght into a hard left. I think I may have caused my co-driver Rhiannan a little concern on this corner as this section of road was still quite wet and I may have got quite close to one of the roadside markers (it was all under control J). Straight on for a few hundred meters, l eading up to a crest, plenty of time to reach top speed then “!!! Caution, Crest then T Junction, Turn Right”, I ease up over the crest , then hard on the brakes coming down the hill straight into a sharp right hander. A few more fast flowing corners and crests, reaching top speed again then hard into a chicane (this is where OzGymkhana practice comes in handy), another kilometre of quick corners and the n the flying finish over another crest. So much fun!
The Bull Creek Stage is also pretty great. Like Greenhill it also features a very sharp hairpin corner, this one a left hande r with a sharp drop on the inside that will catch you out if you try to cut it too tight. The crash barriers on the exit are a little too close f or my liking so I wasnâ€™t pushing too hard there, but the last two thirst of the stage is an amazing section of continuous sweeping lefts and rights th at encourages you to use the whole road (and then a little more), I was trying to keep an eye on my speedo through this section (to make su re I didnâ€™t break the 130 limit) but it was very hard to when you are concentrating so hard on the road in front of you. As we repeated each of these stages two more times the weather continually improved, meaning that our little group of Tour Cars started was able to push a bit harder and start having some real fun. It was great to see that I was joined by a fellow STi in the group, driven by Chris Sharpe. Along with Trenton Gill in his HQ flatbed Ute and Justin Miller in his Supra (both regular OzGymkhana competito rs) Sunday was another very early start with the first cars rolling out of Serifino Winery at 8am and we spent the morning doing two big loops from Nairne through Mount Barker and onto Echunga. Nairne was a great sweeping stage with plenty of fast corners and really set the day off! After a quick lunch break in Mount Barker we moved West, back towards Serafino again for 3 runs of the Blewitt Springs and Wickhams Hill Short stages. These stages are an amazing combination of fast sweeping corners (remember to keep one eye on the speedo, and not go over 130km/h) and tight hairpins. They topped off the weekend perfectly and left me buzzing for days afterwards. Waiting at the start of Bull Creek Unfortunately due to lack of competitors it seems that the future of the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally may be in question, but the organisers do not plan to leave us without any event. Due to the massive popularity of the Old Willunga Hillclimb, both from competitors and spectators, it is very likely that it will return next year as its own event. There was even talk of tuning the Wickhams Hill stage into a hill climb as well, and if any of you have driven this road you will know that it has fantastic potential! Seth Coultas
Ben punishing his tires Coming into Round 3 of the OzGymkhana championship the pressure was mounting in the battle for points. Our very own Garry Dodd was sitting in equal first with Michael Willis in his EVO; WRX vs. EVO, an age old battle that is only going to get more intense over the next couple of rounds! Especially considering there were still plenty of drivers hot on their heels, including Ben Wilden, Damien Hirst and myself. Once again OzGymkhana proved its popularity with the WRXSA team. For Round 3 we had 7 members competing in a field of 48. David Rowe (in his EVO9) and myself fighting it out in the Standard 4WD Production Class; while Blake-Lee Danher, Ben Wilden, Rob Gromball, Garry Dodd and Alan Driver battled it out in the Modified 4WD (up to 3500cc) class. There were a lot of ups and downs throughout the day but that just made it all the more exciting.
disadvantage for the day by coming into the first turn too quick and taking out 2 cones, this was an instant 10 second penalty and placed him right down in 40th place. Not where you want to be at the
Blake pulling up hard!
start of the day! The second test saw a lot of drama with 2 of the favourites (EVO drivers, no less) spinning out in the first set of curves. Michael Willis, who was fastest on the first test, was able to avoid hitting any cones and got the car back Inspired by one of the new Red Bull ads on track very quickly, but he lost a good ten making the rounds of the internet, the first seconds in the process. This looked like it was test included a new layout element, The Spigoing to open up 1st place to Craig van ral. Essentially a constricting 1080 degree turn Dieman, who was second fastest on the first culminating in a doughnut around a central test, but when he spun in the exact same spot barrel that really put the car’s tyres to the the crowd went wild! This mistake was further test, especially as everything was still cold. For escalated by the fact that the car stalled and those willing to ‘have a go’ it was a great layout to show off your drifting skills and while not everyone was able to hold it, it was a very entertaining test to watch. Garry and I were both able to get strong starts on this test, with times in the top 10. However Blake unfortunately put himself at a big
Craig took another 20 seconds to get it started. The incident cost him around 30 seconds in total and pushed him right down the placing’s. The rest of Craig’s times would have seen him climb back up into the Top 8 but another mistake on the 4th test saw him finish the day in 13th place (unlucky for some!). The up side of all this was that Garry got the fastest time for the test putting him in the lead position overall; Blake put his previous test behind him and took 3rd fastest moving him up 16 places to 24th outright. I managed 4th fastest, Ben got 8th and Alan 9th, an incredible effort by everyone that meant that 4 of us were in the top 10. Unfortunately some mistakes by Alan in the next few tests saw him fall to 20th before recovering and climbing back to 11th by the end of the day. A very good result with a couple of times in the top 10, but not quite enough to get him into the Top 8 shootout. David & Rob also fought hard all day but some cone penalties ruined their outright positions. David got some very strong results, the best being 5th fastest on the 4th test and Rob was looking good for a top 20 finish but ended up missing the last test which pushed his place back down the order.
The Spiral Test
Thanks to times continually in the top 10 Blake steadily climbed the leader board throughout the day. By the 6th test (which was originally scheduled to be the last of the day) he was sitting in a very impressive 10th place outright. However in a fortuitous turn of events the organisers decided that there was enough time to run a 7th test (a repeat of the test 6
layout). This gave him an opportunity to improve his position and thanks to a nice clean run; and mistakes made by Wayne Mason (Ford Escort) who was in 5th place, and Stephen Mee (Toyota Corolla) who was in 7th; Blake just squeezed into the top 8. When I say ‘just’ I mean it was a real nail biter, there was only 0.7 seconds between his total time and 9th place!
Rob getting the hang of that hand-brake
Blake, ready to go, with Lachlan Smith in the background Through the day I was also unsure if I would make it into the Top 8. After the 6th test I was sitting in 8th place. 9th place was 2.5 seconds behind me, which would have given me some piece of mind if not for the fact that his time of the 6th test was nearly 2 seconds quicker than me! If he improved on the 7th test and I did not it could be curtains for me. But I also had a good chance to improve my position, as the total time difference from 6th to 8th was less than a second. To put it into perspective that is just one bad corner or ineffective handbrake turn. As you already know however the same mistakes that let Blake slip into 8th also allowed me to climb to 5th, although I did manage to improve my time by 1.5 seconds as well which helped.
Garry was driving in a whole different class to the rest of us though; he spent the whole day fighting with Michael Willis in his EVO (despite his spin in the 2nd test) and Lachlan Smith in his 180SX for the top 3 positions. All but one of Garry’s test times were in the top 3, with his ‘worst’ result being 4th fastest in the 3rd test. His flawless driving saw him enter the shootout in 2nd place and to put things in perspective the top 3 cars were about 23 seconds quicker than Ben in 4th, and 33 seconds quicker than me and the rest of the field.
The overall rankings after Run 7 (which is used to determine class placing) were as follows: Rob Gromball – 25th David Rowe – 12th Alan Driver – 11th Blake-Lee Danher – 8th Seth Coultas – 5th and a Standard 4WD Production Class win Ben Wilden – 4th Garry Dodd – 2nd and a Modified 4WD (up to 3500cc) Class win An incredible effort by everyone that gave the club 2 class wins and meant that half the Top 8 Shootout was represented by WRXSA members!
Ben had a great day, all but one of his times were in the top 10 with his best result being 3rd fastest on the final test. After gaining 5th place in the 3rd test he moved up to 4th in test 6 and was a good 10 seconds ahead of me leading into the Top 8 shootout. Garry lining up to show us how it is done.
Like previous rounds, the shootout (run on the final layout again) managed to shake thing up a bit. Blake continued his climb up the ladder gaining 2 spots and finishing in 6th, Ben dropped one place to 5th and I was pushed down to 8th thanks to a time that was nearly a second slower than my previous best (not sure what happened there). Garry had no such problems though, shaving a full second and a half off his previous best and beating out Lachlan Smith by 1.79 seconds for 1st place moving into the 2nd round of the shootout (Top 4).
Rob going a little bit wide.
his Mod 4WD Class), Ben Wilden & myself in Lachlan came right back in the second round, equal 4th (with me leading 4WD Production smashing his previous run by nearly 3 seconds! Class), Damien Hirst in 8th and David Rowe in Garry wasn’t able to match this pace but still equal 10th. With 2 rounds to go anything can held onto second place giving him another happen, but it looks like WRXSA is in a very chance in the final shootout round (Top 2). favourable position. Unfortunately for Garry despite putting in another very impressive run, Lachlan repeated Well done everyone involved and if there are his blistering performance and claimed 1st any members out there that have not had a place outright. For those watching it was clear chance to see what the OzGymkhana is all that he was pushing his 180SX to the limit and it was almost poetic the way he was able to pull off perfect handbrake turns that saw the car turn on a dime. Despite obviously wanting Garry to win, it was impossible not to acknowledge that Lachlan’s was a well deserved victory. The official standings after round 3 of the championship (allowing for the worst round to be dropped) has Garry Dodd in 2nd (leading
Alan pushing it to the limit!
about, why not come along to the next round on the 22nd of September? If you can’t make it to the September round make sure you set aside the weekend of the 7-8th of December now for the final round, which is not only 2 full days of racing that will decide the State Champion, it is also the National Championship Round which will determine the best OzGymkhana driver for the whole of Australia! See you there. Seth Coultas
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