From the Pres
Hi everyone and welcome to October. We know we are on the downhill run to Christmas when the AFL and NRL finals have been run and won, Bathurst is out of the way and the Melbourne Cup is upon us, BUT most important of all, the Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally flung some mud and stirred up the dust.
What was intended to be our rally swansong for 2022 ended up being not only that, but our kick off as well. This edition features the wraps and galleries from Globe Roamer and another perspective of the event, this time the view as seen from the Clerk of Course.
While I am on events, sadly this will be the last event the club will run in 2022. We had plans to run an off road event, but despite local permissions being granted, the deadline for permits and supplementary regulations passed, so the
board had no choice but to cancel the date in the calendar. The board also planned to take over the 15th October date, which was calendared as part of the QRC but a range of hurdles scotched that idea. It is very unfortunate but the board doesn’t run events, members do and it takes more than a few so what I would say to all members of our club and the greater motorsport community who read this is that the board is on your side but it can’t do everything. 2022 will go down as the year of the big wet but with hope and a little help, the prospect of better things to come in 2023.
In better news, our new computers have arrived and are up and running, and from here until the end of the calendar year, the board will be cementing plans for 2023. A draft calendar has been created and dates are being secured. If you have anything you would like the club to fit into theDOMINIC CORKERONPRESIDENT, BRISBANE SPORTING CAR CLUB PHOTO: ZED PHOTOGRAPHY
schedule, please be in touch so we can work in dates.
Moving back to this issue ahead, there was one feature of Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally which grabbed some attention and that was the number of ladies competing. I think the number was around 20 and perhaps some kind of record, so we thought it a good idea to look at that and run something a little different.
Ladies in Rallying have actually been with us a long time and the likes of Ann Thompson were pioneers. Sadly, Ann is
no longer with us to share her stories but the BSCC boasts as one of its past members one of the country’s highest profile and most successful female competitor in Coral Taylor. Coral has agreed to contribute to our story of ladies in Rally from then to now so together with the next generations, I think there is a great story to tell starting on page 18
I hope you enjoy the read. Cheers, Dom.PHOTO: ZED PHOTOGRAPHY
“One feature of Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally... was the number of ladies competing. I think the number was around 20 and perhaps some kind of record”
BUSTARD AND BIGGAR WIN
In what has been a tumultuous year for ralling in Queensland, Brisbane Sporting Car Club held its first dirt event in 2022 with the Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally a highly successful outing.
Run as the only round of this year’s Acworth Recruiting Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship,
it was RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) regulars Ronnie Bustard and Larisa Biggar who won the thrilling rally.
A healthy field of 51 crews were entered in the eight-stage rally with Bustard and Biggar beating Clay Badenoch and James Wilson by just four seconds.PHOTO: STEVE SPENCER ICONIC IMBIL
Rounding out the podium was the returning Marius Swart and Ryan Preston – the VW Polo S2000 almost three minutes behind the front two crews.
While the final results looked a dominant display from both Bustard and Badenoch, it was far from it, as two of the opening three stages were claimed by event favourites, Ryan Smart and Brad Jones.
Smart enjoyed a solid start to the rally, steering his Datsun Stanza to a 16-second stage win, before Bustard slightly reduced the deficit having taken out the second stage by one second.
That same stage saw event contenders Tristan Carrigan and Jenny Prince forced to retire after a CV failure on their Alfa Romeo 147 was identified, promoting Bustard to second overall.
A spin from Bustard on the third stage allowed Smart to push the gap out to 47 seconds after he won the third stage by 17 seconds over the Mitsubishi Magna of Andrew Carrigan and Liam Hinschen.
The next major drama struck on the fourth stage as Smart’s Datsun got stuck off-road for an hour – forcing them to hand the lead over to the 4WD Mitsubishi Evo 9 of Bustard and Biggar after they ran out of late time.
The new leaders celebrated their new position by a shared stage win with Carrigan and Hinschen, who became the next big casualty after their Mitsubishi Magna sustained cracked brake rotor.PHOTOS: ZED PHOTOGRAPHY
Following on from midday service, Smart was back on the road and picked up where he left off, winning the fifth stage by 13 seconds, before Badenoch got his first win of the day on stage six, capitalising on Bustard’s damaged Evo and reducing the gap between the top two crews to just one second.
As Smart comfortably won the penultimate stage, nothing could separate Badenoch and Bustard with the duo both 12 seconds behind Smart and the latter still holding onto his one second lead.
In an epic final stage, Bustard secured the win after beating Badenoch by three seconds and the Irishman was thrilled, despite having issues midway through the rally.
“It was an excellent rally with an unexpected result thanks to Larisa (Biggar) and the work she puts in,” Bustard said.
“Unfortunately, I pushed too hard on the double causeway on stage five and caused damage to the front of the car, which meant we had to slow to the end of the stage to assess the damage.
“Luckily nothing had failed or completely broken except for the front engine mounting, and we had considered calling it a day at this point, but we decided to continue until the car stopped, which meant a slower run in sixth to see if the car would get any worse.
“Thankfully the car held together and with no mistakes we managed to be fastest and take our first rally win in the QRC.
“I would like to thank Larisa for asking me to do the rally and the work she puts into the rally as this is what got us the win.”
Although Badenoch and Wilson missed out on the overall win, they still took out the outright 2WD victory, beating the outright fourth placed John McHugh and Darren Whyte, as well as the East Coast Classic Rally Series 2WD win.
Claiming the Next Level Creations Queensland Clubman Series was Glenn Mitchell and Tony Arbon in a classic Ford Escort over Michelle Van Der Wilk and Kass Brumley in a Subaru WRX, while a strong field in the Virtual Security Guard Queensland Novice Series saw Nissan Skyline pilots Steven Casper and Mark Malpas the best of the rookie drivers.
Taking out the junior category was the popular Michael Gill steering a Hyundai Excel, while Alex Cherry was the top ranked junior co-driver.
here for full
“It was an excellent rally with an unexpected result thanks to Larisa and the work she puts in”PHOTO: STEVE SPENCER PHOTO: ZED PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO: CH IMAGES
The view from HQ
We have finally hosted a round of the Queensland Rally Championship, and what an event it was.
During Friday setup, the Service Park and stages were hit with rain that started to look like the possible end of the event. There were many phone calls, messages and even competitors coming to the Command Centre asking whether they should get the car off the trailer.
However, we persisted and continued to get set up, albeit that we were wet to the bone and our lines and numbering of the service bays nearly washed away. But the crowds came, which reminded me of a line from Field of Dreams - “If you build it, they will come” – and sure enough, come they did.
By Friday evening, the service park was half full and the officials were gathering en masse. Catering was good and things were shaping up as we had planned.
Saturday morning started with thick fog, but the crowds continued to arrive, as officials were provided with breakfast before heading out to their stages – a big thanks to the Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce for their support and providing catering.
By the time Drivers’ Briefing had come around, the weather had cleared and ad sunny day looked on the horizon.
Finally, at 8:45am, the first car left the Service Park and though we had a couple of technical issues, they were quickly resolved and the event proceeded without a hitch.
We had 49 starters for the event with a mix of QRC and QRC 2WD, Novices, Clubman and interstate East Coast Classic crews.
The competition was fierce.PHOTO: ZED PHOTOGRAPHY MAL BARTOLOCLERK OF COURSE, GLOBE ROAMER III IMBIL RALLY
Bustard and Biggar battled for top honours against Badenoch and Wilson with Swart and Preston waiting for an opportunity to trip the two in front. Smart and Jones were eating the competition until stage four, when things went astray and unfortunately late time got the better of them - effectively putting them out of contention.
Heat 2 saw the tables turn between Bustard and Biggar and their rivals in Badenoch and Wilson - Clay taking time from Ronnie, but it didn’t prove enough as just four seconds separated them at the end with Bustard and Biggar taking the top place, Badenoch and Wilson in second and Swart and Preston rounding out the podium.
QRC 2WD saw some excitement with Badenoch and Wilson winning, but hot on their heels were newcomers from Ireland, McHugh and Whyte in their Toyota AE86 Sprinter imported from Ireland. This was both their first gravel rally and first blind rally, so their efforts were commendable. And coming up third was the team of Dillon and Dillon.
QRC Junior saw the Gill and Simmons team grab another Junior Driver award for Michael Gill, while the team of Dolan and Cherry made good after after last year’s off and secured Alex Cherry the award for QRC Junior Co-Driver.
With such a large entry for novices, the battle was on with Casper and Malpas fighting for honours from the get go, followed by the hard charging team of Duclos and Hodge, while Eichorn and Eichorn were not far behind. At the end, after correction of the scoring, Casper and Malpas were deemed winners.
The East Coast Classic had three interstate crews competing with Bollard and McIlroy, Taylor and Ambrose and Gorst and Gorst all battling it out, as well as a team from Queensland, who cross-entered the events.
Taking out top honours was Badenoch and Wilson, who also took out the ECCRS 2WD category with interstaters Gorst and Gorst in their Datsun P510 securing second place, while Bailey and Whitehead steered their Nissan GTiR to the ECCRS 4WD win.
While the action was taking place out in the forest, the scene inside of the Command Centre was one of relative calm. There was Aaron Bell and Andrew ‘Choppy’ Mutton monitoring the Rallysafe screens, ensuring that all competitors were accounted for and safe; and they were reviewing the reports that come from Rallysafe in regards to the restricted speed zone and quiet zones.
“As Clerk of Course, I have been honoured to work with such a great team and the event would not have happened without them.”PHOTO: STEVE SPENCER
Outside on the deck under the large gazebo, Peter Flynn and I sat listening to the Comms radio providing guidance to the radio operators, Corey Dyer and Gavin McGrath, on any issues that arose.
And to the side of us were the stewards, who thankfully had a peaceful day without much drama, though they gave me guidance as and when needed.
Back inside, Gwen Bartolo and Lola McKinnon continued to do their secretarial thing, ensuring the competitors had the support they required.
And finally, Lois Collins was continually receiving reports from the scoring system (a combination of a feed from Rallysafe; the outcome of that being fed into the scoring system) and keeping the results up to date.
As Clerk of Course, I have been honoured to work with such a great team and the event would not have happened without them. No event can get off the ground without the amazing support from the volunteers who come from far and wide and give everything they can.
Then there are the competitors who put trust in us to develop a course that is both challenging but not too hard on equipment.
And of course, there are our sponsors Chris Gabriel and Marcus Bark, who own and operate the Globe Roamer organisation and generously supported our event again.
All I can say is “Thank you” to everyone who helped make Globe Roamer III come to fruition.Mal Bartolo, Clerk of Course PHOTO: ZED PHOTOGRAPHY
EXPERIENCE A UNIQUE GETAWAY IN THE GYMPIE REGION
Two hours from Brisbane, the Gympie region is surrounded by nature and wildlife that you can’t get anywhere else in Queensland.
The coloured sands of Rainbow Beach and the charming fishing town of Tin Can Bay are our coastal playgrounds and the southern gateway to K’gari (Fraser Island).
Away from the coast, you’ll find the pioneering heritage town of Gympie with elegant buildings and heritage railways. Out west, you’ll discover a beauty unmatched; the rolling hills of our western townships and the lush, fertile land of the Mary Valley. There’s more to the Gympie region than you might imagine.
Gympie Regional Council is a proud sponsor of the Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland.
Best seat on the stage
Knowing I would not be able to compete in the Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally, I decided to volunteer at a road closure and join the hundred hardy souls who stand by securing the forest, so drivers and co-drivers can do what they do best.
While we’ve all had a frustrating year, there was definitely a feeling of relief when I entered the service park early in the morning on the Saturday of the event.
There were already a few competitors hitting early showers to wake them up for the day ahead and the queue of officials seeking that vital bacon and egg roll.
Radios were installed, final checks made and briefing complete, the convoy of road closures for SS1 headed out ready to enjoy the day ahead.
My wife joined me at for the day at our position on the corner of Casey’s Gully Road and Western Creek Road. It’s a tricky one as there are two roads to close, but we had a great view of approaching traffic and the wide entry over the bridge towards the end of stage.
So, what is operating a Road Closure like?
The day goes by faster than you would think. Having a radio helped with that but counting down the course cars and then hearing the scream of Ryan Smart’s super cool Stanza from over a kilometre away certainly raised the pulse.
As Ryan passed, the sounds of following cars could be easily heard throughout and the mix of high revving naturally aspirated engines and popping turbos filled the forest. All was good with the world. We were rallying.
Once everybody had been through, I heard a report of cattle about 500 metres from our position. Soon enough, high-pitched engines weren’t disrupting the quiet of the forest anymore, but the lowing of cows as they wandered down the road.
It was quite the task to divert them away, but gave the all clear to Rally HQ and sure enough, it was car time again.
Being a road closure can be good fun but cows and cars aside, there is a serious aspect.
We are tasked with securing the roads to avoid anything from the aforementioned bovine interlopers to people on bikes or 4WD’s who wander into the area - that precise thing happened just as Steve Casper’s Skyline approached the turn left.
A couple of bikes arrived coming down Western Creek Road from behind us. They arrived at our closure just as Steve’s steering let go, sending the car flying into the scenery on the outside of the corner. It was all happening.
Rally HQ also needs to know, so while all around there is abuzz with information, it is the role of the road closure to clearly report the status of the crew, the degree of safe passage past the stricken vehicle (it was well off, so all good) as well maintaining good relations with our newest spectators.
The guys on the bikes were really friendly and understood what was going on, they enjoyed the balance of the field before heading out following the Slow Sweep.
Rally done and it was time to pack up.
From our vantage point, it looked like the rally was proceeding nicely and calmly. Good job to Malcolm Bartolo and his team and congratulations to Ronnie Bustard and Larissa Biggar for taking out the outright win, as well as the other 100 or so other competitors who entered the rally.
If this sounds like something you might enjoy, give it a go. I’m sure you’ll have a ball and having your very own private spectator spot with the capacity to know what’s happening around the event at the same time makes it a pretty good day out.DOMINIC CORKERONPRESIDENT, BRISBANE SPORTING CAR CLUB
“But cows and cars aside, there is a serious aspect to Road Closures.”
SAFETY ALERT: Off Road fuel cap and filler neck
Motorsport Australia is alerting competitors in the Off Road discipline of an amendment to the Off Road Appendix – Off Road General Requirements (GR) regulations, to be applied with immediate effect.
The amendments require Off Road Automobiles to be fitted with a fuel cap and fuel filler neck that is contained within the structure of the chassis or safety cage of the Automobile to ensure that the fuel filler cap and filler neck are protected by the structure of the chassis or safety cage in the event of any incident.
In addition to the relocation of the fuel filler neck and fuel cap the regulations highly recommend the fitment of nonreturn valves, where applicable, into a filler neck. This requirement will be mandatory from 1 January 2023.
The changes have been published within the regulations online at: motorsport.org.au/regulations/manual/ off-road and are set out as following:
5. FUEL TANK/S
Each fuel tank filler (including any filler neck/lines) must not protrude from the coach/bodywork of the Automobile and must be located within the structure of the chassis or safety cage structure.
It is highly recommended that a filler neck be fitted with a non-return valve (i.e. a type with one or two sprung “flaps” or where suitable, a gravity activated style valve) in a location nearest to the fuel tank.
The filler neck is defined as being the means used to connect the fuel tank to the fuel filling location if separate to the fuel tank itself. A fuel cap directly attached to/integrated with the fuel tank is not considered a filler neck. Non-return valves are highly recommended in all applications.
NOTE: Filler neck non-return valves will be mandatory from 1 January 2023.
Women rallying together EMOW
N I N RALLY WOMEN IN R ALLY WOMENIN RAL L Y
After witnessing the record numbers of women competitors at the Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally, BRISPORT thought it a timely opportunity to highlight some of the women Imbil participants, as well as, in our opinion, Australia’s most successful rally co-driver.NEMOWYLLARNI
As one of the most famous names in Australian rally, Coral Taylor needs no introduction to rally fans.
CORAL TAYLOR CORAL TAYLOR
A four-time champion co-driver of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship, Taylor has been involved with the sport for more than 40 years, which has included competing in more than 150 rallies.
CORAL TAYLOR CORAL TAYLOR CORAL TAYLOR
From claiming national titles in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 2008 alongside Neal Bates to spending a large portion of recent years as a team manager role for Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia, Taylor is quite an experienced individual.
CORAL TAYLOR CORAL TAYLOR
First getting into rallying in 1979 alongside her father after spending her life savings on half a share of a Datsun 1600 and joining the Brisbane Sporting Car Club, Taylor fell in love with the sport from the very minute she sat in the car.
While her first major event was the 1979 Repco Reliability Trial, Taylor and her father, Norm Fritter, had contested a number of Queensland Rally Championship rounds before going on her adventure around Australia.
Unfortunately, the father-daughter duo didn’t last long in the event, but it didn’t deter her as she went on to have a long a prosperous career.
Co-driving for a number of talented drivers in the 1980s, Taylor’s big break came when she joined Bates in the Toyota Celica in the early 1990s – a partnership that would lead to plenty of success, including 27 wins and four national championships.
Just like her father inspired her, Taylor was an inspiration to her daughter Molly, who went on to become an Australian champion in 2016 – continuing the legacy of the Taylor name.
For Taylor, it’s been an unforgettable journey full of highlights.
“My dad was a rally driver, but as a child, I didn’t really take much notice. It wasn’t until I joked over dinner one night ahead of the 1979 Repco that I would go with him that the seed was planted,” Taylor said.
“There have been so many highlights over the years. Going rallying with my dad (and discovering that he actually swore a lot), my first ARC win with Peter Glennie in 1986, winning the Alpine rally with Murray Coote in 1991, joining Neal Bates Motorsport and Toyota in 1993 and winning four Australian Championships and more recently winning this year’s Rally Launceston with Harry Bates.
“My favourite memory though was the 1993 Rally of Melbourne when Possum’s crew lined the road and clapped as we drove past at a roadside service. It’s still a very emotional memory for me, having the respect of our fiercest competitors was something very special.
“However, at the end of the day, sometimes the highlight is just going rallying, fullstop. I have been very lucky to be a part of the NBM team for a long time and that in itself is a highlight.
“It was also very special to have Molly follow in my footsteps, but just as nerve racking. I think she’s overtaken me though. These days I’m usually introduced as “this is Coral, Molly Taylor’s mum.”
LAROC T A YLOR
“At the end of the day, sometimes the highlight is just going rallying, fullstop”
S A ASSIRALRAGGIBRAGGIB
Larisa Biggar won her first QRC event last month and it was a result that was a long time in the making.
A regular co-driver in both the Queensland Rally Championship and the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship, Biggar has a wealth of experience in the sport.
First getting involved in 1998, Biggar got her first taste of motorsport competing in motorkhanas before co-driving for fellow BSCC member in the 1998 Moby Vic’s Rally based out of the servo at Beerburrum.
Although her first event saw the Escort she was in roll multiple times, she remained in love with the sport and continued getting gigs at both a club, state and national level.
Most of Biggar’s success has come in recent years, where she has enjoyed
a number of podiums alongside the likes of Melinda Bergmann and her current driver in Ronnie Bustard.
Some of her highlights with Bergman included outright second in Imbil in 2018 and third outright in Manumbar the following year, while her stint with Bustard saw her claim a victory in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup in the Make Smoking History Forest Rally earlier this year.
Biggar’s talents as a co-driver were highlighted during the 2018 QRC Border Ranges Rally in Kyogle when she was called the notes for two separate drivers with two different driving styles with the pace notes needing to be delivered in two different styles, all the while helping them achieve the results they were after.PHOTO: ZED PHOTOGRAPHY
However, one can’t look past her most recent achievement as she and Bustard enjoyed their the victory at Imbil – a result that took a lot of hard work and effort.
It wasn’t just the result itself that put the Globe Runner III Imbil Rally as her favourite memory, but rather the huge field of women competing in the event.
“It was awesome to see if I am honest,” Biggar said.
“Winning a QRC was the sweetest. I cried for a week”
“To properly introduce ourselves in a gathering like that was really special. There are so many amazing women in our sport.
“As for the result, it was so amazing to get that result. I’ve done loads of events and finished all of them on the podium but winning a QRC was the sweetest though. I cried for a week.
“I just love rallying because I get to be with my friends and rally family, as well
as pushing myself to the absolute limit and discovering what I can achieve. “Those moments in a rally car with just you and your driver, it’s a very special instance in time with a whole lot going on. The laughter and fun you have along the way is probably the best part.
“I like being in the ARC because of the really big, logistically complex events that require complete immersion. For five days the world stands still and I’m 100 per cent in rally mode.
“It also allowed me to discover my other rally family - we see the same competitors, core officials and teams of people running the show at each event. So, not unlike the QRC rally family or back when I was kid doing the Australian Motorkhana Championships. “I remember doing motorkhanas at the start of my career. I was doing it for about five years and wanted to go faster, but I was a poor Uni student at the time. Luckily one of the members at the club needed a codriver and I was encouraged to give it a go. “With that said, I have always been a fan. As a kid watching the WRC on TV, I thought they were insane. How do they go so fast on dirt, and how do those co-drivers get all their words out and sound so calm. Such extreme car control and nerves of steel.”PHOTO: CH IMAGES
Rallying has always been in Melinda Bergmann’s blood.
From attending events as a toddler in the 1970s to getting in the car for the first time at a motorkhana at 12-years-old, Bergmann was destined to excel in the sport.
Her first experience in rally came as a codriver in a Toyota Corolla, before getting the opportunity to compete as a driver in that same car at a gravel rallysprint in 2003.
Following on from her official driving debut where she came away with a class win, Bergmann has built up a pool of highlights.
At the top of that list would be her second outright placing at the 2019 Imbil Rally, securing the highest finishing place for a female driver in the Queensland Rally Championship.
However, in the final round of that same year a tyre puncture put a quick end to that event and ultimately Bergmann’s hopes for a QRC title win. One that she was aiming to better from the previous years’ overall third place.
While she has enjoyed success on the gravel, she has achieved a lot on tarmac, including ten appearances in the prestigious Targa Tasmania – one of which was as a
factory driver for Mazda in 2007.
Fuelled by her passion for cars and rallying, Bergmann thrives on seeing young women enter the sport, making the field of more than 20 women at Imbil last month a special moment. “I am so proud of Queensland’s women and to be a part of such an extraordinary group,” Bergmann said.
“At that event we had the winning co driver, a Queensland Rally Panel representative, a few first timers, our junior champion and the series sponsor among others.
“In Queensland, women are treated the same as guys and no one cares about your gender. As long as you’re not a jerk, and you’re having a crack, you are part of our community.
“For my own journey of motorsport, I have been hooked since my first hand brake turn at a motorkhana at age 12.
“Some motorkhana friends took me to spectate at the Moby Vics rally around the year 2000 and I was hooked. The drivers were absolute rock stars, the roar of carbies echoing in the forest, the plumes of dust, the skill required to make cars slide around corners - it all just blew me away and I had to get involved.
“In that time, there have been lots of small memories, like jumping my Evo IX over a left hand corner crest at speed, then using the momentum to flick the car into a tighter right hand corner on WRC spec roads at the Kyogle Rally and nailing a Scandinavian flick at a spectator point at Benarkin – a rally my parents once organised - where I knew they had come to watch me.”
“I have been hooked since my first hand brake turn at a motorkhana at age 12”
RGMANN MELIN D GRE
When Kim Acworth first encountered rally, it happened to be out of pure coincidence - stumbling across the FAI Rally of Canberra whilst on an impromptu road trip - little did she know it would have a long-lasting effect on her life.
Although it took her another nine years before she got her taste of the sport as a competitor, Acworth hasn’t ever looked back since first navigating at the 2008 Mt Stuart Hill Climb in Townsville, where she and driver Stuart Titheradge finished second outright.
Acworth switched the passenger seat for the driver seat in 2009 and spent plenty of time building her craft at rally sprints before contesting her first rally at the KCF Benarkin in 2010.
It was a tough initiation for her with a flat tire on the very first stage, but she still finished and the motivation to continue only grew stronger.
Rally Championship – showcasing her passion for the sport by sponsoring and supporting the QRC itself.
For Acworth, who is a big believer in women competing in motorsport, it was an easy decision to support the QRC.
“There are many reasons as to why I backed the QRC, but most of all, it’s because I love the sport and the people involved. Anyone from competitors and officials to car clubs and volunteers,” Acworth said.
“I also saw it as a win-win opportunity. I found out they didn’t have a sponsor six weeks out from the first event and I felt like it was good marketing for my business which contributed to the sport I love.
“I also think that I am very likely to be the first female business owner to sponsor the QRC, and although I can’t be sure, I think it is kind of cool.
“I think women looking to get into the sport should just start somewhere. The rally community is so supportive.
Over the years, Acworth as improved significantly and has enjoyed a number of successful results, her best year being in 2015, which saw her place fifth overall in the Queensland Rally Championship.
Some of her highlights that year included first outright in the Invitational Classics class of the 2015 Coates Hire WRC and second in the P3 Solutions Rally Benarkin.
Since making her debut, Acworth has become a mainstay of the Queensland
“When I started 15 years ago I knew absolutely nothing about the sport, but I have learned so much and have felt so supported.
“Just getting in and rallying is so empowering and fun.
“Rally has a lot of tough times and you have to be resilient to push through, but there are plenty of highs and that’s why I love the sport.”PHOTO: CH IMAGES
Alex Cherry may not have been a fan of rallying her whole life but was certainly hooked on it when she started following it as a fan almost a decade ago.
Going to rallies alongside her family, Cherry loved to sit in the picturesque forests of Queensland for hours and watch the cars go by – a passion that has always remained inside her.
However, it wasn’t until her stepdad purchased a Holden Gemini for her in 2018 to drive to her formal that she decided to take the giant step into the world of rallying as a competitor and truly fell in love with the sport.
Since making her debut as a co-driver just two years ago in Benarkin, she has managed to pick up some good rewards for her hard work, including placing second in the 2020 Novice Rally Series’ co-driver standings and winning the 2021 Queensland Junior Rally Championship.
In 2022, she was the highest placed junior co-driver in the Globe Roamer III Imbil Rally, further highlighting her progress through the sport.
Despite claiming a number of good results over the last couple of years, her biggest achievement was being the highest ranked junior co-driver in the state component of last year’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland.
Her maiden appearance at an event also hosting the RSEA Safety Motorsport
Australia Rally Championship also stands as one of the biggest highlights of a career that is on the rise.
“I had been going to rallies with my family for years and when my step dad bought and built a Holden Gemini to drive me to my formal in, we decided to enter our first rally as a course car before entering an event competitively a year later,” Cherry said. “My favourite memory so far is our first rally back after what was my toughest memory of being in a big crash at Imbil 2021 where we rolled our car and landed on the roof.
“I was nervous getting back in the car, but we did it and I was so proud of both getting back into it and finishing the event in the same pair of undies we started in.
“While that was my favourite memory, my biggest highlight was definitely competing in the QRC at Gympie as it was an awesome event. It was also awesome to be competing in the same event as Molly Taylor.
“An overall highlight has been racing in a team with my stepdad and I’m honoured he trusts me to tell him any form of direction.
“As a woman who has only recently joined the sport, I would tell other girls thinking about getting into it, that some of the best drivers and co-drivers I’ve seen have been women. If you’re thinking of giving rally ago, do it, women are so capable of going out and kicking some ass in the forest and it’s truly such a fun time.”
ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY ALEX CHERRY
“Women are so capable of going out and kicking some ass in the forest”PHOTO: CH IMAGES
Unlike many others in rallying, Nikki Duclos doesn’t have a motorsport background or a family who encouraged her to join – it was a journey that began off the back of an unfortunate incident.
Passionate about the outdoors, Duclos was severely injured after a wakeboarding incident and was forced to spend a long time recovering and away from the things she loved.
However, an opportunity to purchase a cheap paddock-basher came about and gave her the chance to get her speed fix - a move that paved the way for a journey into rallying.
Starting with khanacrosses, an instantly popular Duclos hit the ground running and enjoyed success right from the get-go – a run of form that would see encouraged by fellow competitors to try rallying.
That was all the motivation she needed and with a supportive partner who helped build the car, Duclos was soon gearing up for her first event – the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland in Gympie.
Unfortunately, multiple issues caused her car to falter, however with the support of ARC regulars such as Andrew Penny, Duclos was able to get up and running, her talent helping her secure a finish in her Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship debut.
It was a moment that would unleash a love for rallying and inspiration to stay on the path.
Duclos continued to improve and produce good results in the QRC, including a season-high class podium at the 2021 KCF Winter stages in Benarkin, as well as finishing 13th on the overall standings.
While it’s been a short career so far, it’s one that has given Duclos a new lease on life and her passion to keep competing is stronger than ever.
“I grow up not knowing anything about rally but the minute my team crossed the line of the final stage at my first event, I was hooked,” Duclos said.
“The adrenaline rush of what we had just done was amazing and I wanted to chase that feeling again. I became determined to improve and see how far I could go in this sport.
“Our first event was such a crazy ride of emotions, but we made some great new friends and learnt a lot. When we crossed the line at the end, it was all worth it and I was so proud of us for finishing it in its entirety.
“A second place in my category as well as an outright 13th was just something I never expected and was absolutely elated when they called our names at the presentation.
“I was so happy I was able to have success at the event, not just because it proved that I could actually do this, but for my team who always believed I could. It was the best reward I could have given them outside of the class win.
“Being very inexperienced makes competing in the QRC a huge feat in itself. My partner literally helped turn my stock car into a rallyready car in only three months, which I am so thankful and proud beyond words of him.
“It would be great to see more women getting out there and having a go. I don’t think they should be scared. Simply joining a club and meet likeminded people will be a major boost.
“Women coming into the sport should also consider being the change they want to see. Even though it can be hard being a girl in what is considered a male-dominated sport, it starts with us and we should really try and encourage more women.
“I have met some amazing women doing this who share this sentiment and I hope we can continue to change the culture together.”PHOTO:
McCarthy grabs careerfirst WRC point in NZ
Brisbane Sporting Car Club member and prominent co-driver John McCarthy picked up his first ever World Rally Championship (WRC) point last month as he and regular RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) driver Harry Bates finished 10th at Rally New Zealand.
Behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia Evo 2 R5, Bates and McCarthy enjoyed two stage wins in the WRC2 class across the weekend, in what was a positive WRC debut for the Australian pairing together. The current ARC leaders ended the rally fourth in class.
Thursday’s Shakedown and opening Super Special Stage was the first occasion Bates and McCarthy could set a benchmark
alongside their WRC2 counterparts, finishing merely seconds behind eventual rally winner Hayden Paddon and Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen.
Friday’s group of stages saw a couple of hiccups for the ARC leaders early, with a rear right puncture resulting in a significant amount of time lost –ultimately finishing the day almost three minutes behind WRC2 leader Paddon. Six stages were held on the Saturday, with the opening stage also proving difficult as Bates narrowly avoided a telegraph pole after sliding wide on a corner.
Their moment midway through the day proved a turning point, as Bates consistently placed in the top three throughout the middle stages before eventually going fastest for WRC2 on SS11.
Some positive performances followed again on Sunday, including victory in the second Whitford Forest run, meant Bates would hold on to fourth in the WRC2 overall standings and tenth across the WRC proper.
Bates and McCarthy have since returned to Australia and will continue their charge for a second consecutive ARC title with the Adelaide Hills Rally in South Australia on 21-23 October.
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