Wild Weather

With season 2016 coming towards the pointy end across the country even though some championships have already been decided could the predicted wild weather come into play. Less than a week out from Round 3 of the CAMS QLD Off road Championships and Round 9 of the Qld Off road series the various weather watching services are all predicting the strong possibility of some severe weather to impact during the week either Wednesday or Thursday. The Pines Enduro in Millicent South Australia taking place this weekend has already been affected by wet weather, so it begs the question will the weather impact on any more events yet to be held. Time will tell whether we escape the weather, I will say this if the Lockyer Enduro next weekend is anything like the Lockyer 300 was a few years ago when it was wet it was still spectacular and I will most certainly be there to capture it even if I have to wear a raincoat.lv300-2-216

Brakes Direct Border Ranges Rally

It is probably fair to say that there are two types of people in the world, those that enjoy watching the world go serenely by and those that want to be strapped into a rally car screaming along a dirt or tarmac road. I’m firmly in the latter camp, but with helmet off and car-less, I took the tools of my day job with me to photograph last month’s Brakes Direct Border Ranges Rally. With a media pass dangling around my neck, I was able to wander through the service park and stages, ready for a blue sky day of rallying.

The start was – as is often the case – delayed, so I was forced to choose a vantage point best suited for that killer shot. Opposite the spectator park on Applegum Rd seemed to be a good place to start, and the inside corner worked out well in terms of positioning. The corner was tight enough that cars did have to slow down (a bit), the RWD cars got very sideways on exit spraying the crowd opposite with some dirt and dust. A few of the 4WD cars preferred the terminal understeer approach to the corner, while some did manage to throw it in sideways and scramble out all wheels blazing. All competitors got through cleanly, which should have helped calm down their first stage jitters.

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After SS1, I headed to Hillyards to watch the last few cars make it through SS2, and although a very good spot based on the photos taken by others over the rally, I thought I would head into the stage after the Sweeper had gone through as there would be no cars on the stage. It only took about 500m from the end of the stage to find a suitable crest and cambered corner. SS6 was the next time the cars would come through, first with the Zero cars and then the loud and angry Quattro. Of all of the cars flying by, for some reason the Escorts throw up the most dirt and rocks. And although camera’s rarely like sunlight bursting straight in through the lens, its moments like those that add drama and help tell a little bit more of the story of this eventful day.

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As SS6 wrapped up, the sun had well and truly set so I went back to the show grounds to see the marquees being pulled down, drivers were assessing the damage, winners were grinning and losers were contemplating just what minor improvements could get them those few vital seconds next time. It’s a time to assess and for organisers, teams and photographers alike, it’s a collective pat on the back for a job well done. To all of the organisers, competitors, and especially the volunteers, thanks for putting on a great day. Stampfli Photography_Border Ranges Rally_SS6-44

Brakes Direct Border Ranges Rally

BRR 2016 194Once again the Border Ranges District of Northern New South Wales Sprang into gear on Saturday for the running of the GCTMC Border Ranges Rally. With an impressive line up of 7  Ford Escorts one being piloted by New Zealand ace driver Derek Ayson and the Audi Group B replica of Mal Keogh, there was certain to be plenty of action to excite the fans. Stage 1  saw a massive off for QRC contender Kent Lawrence which ended his campaign, although he has vowed to find something to compete in for the final round at Benarkin.14124216_10154634020548081_485376362_o

Stage 2 on the former WRC stage Hillyards saw an impressive crowd turn out to watch the action and they were not disappointed. The escorts thrilled and Rob Bishop nearly spilled his EVO when he got a bit out of shape exiting the spectator area. When looking at the stage times it is truely astounding to see the very small time difference between a well driven classic escort or celica in the hands of a great driver like Derek or Clay Badenoch and the times of a modern All Wheel Drive rally car, on stage 2 just a mere 9 seconds.14139323_10154634009488081_2067237607_oBRR 2016 045

Stage 3 saw Rob Bishop take a bite out of Old Cob Ocorn and Peter Roberts lead with Peter Kahler breathing down both of their necks in his first outing in anger in the ex Mike Bailey EVO.

The first running of the new stage Toonumbar saw a still hungry Rob Bishop take stage honours and beat Roberts by another 5 seconds.AM 541

Sadly this was to be the only running of this stage due to the actions of a protester who attempted to burn down the bridge. Thankyou to the quick thinking spectators and officials who put the fire out before it could do any damage.

Happy Valley 2 and Peter Roberts was on song posting a 7.48 over Rob’s 8.02. Derek Ayson by this time was leading the Classics and the Escort Challenge setting a very quick 8.14, quick enough for 4th outright at this point.

The return to Hillyards saw Peter holding onto the lead with Rob just 4 seconds behind and Peter Kahler just another 4 seconds behind Rob. Derek posted a blistering 5.10 with Clay right on his tailpipe with a 5.11. Interestingly this time was also shared with Mal Keogh and the Mad Irish man Tom Dermody.14107839_10154157629789342_8205949333041874454_o

Old Cob Ocorn( Farkeen2) and Roberts beat Rob by one second. Peter Kahler slowed and was beaten by Derek  by 2 seconds. Peter was later to discover a paralysis tick on the back of his neck, he will no doubt attribute the loss of pace to this.

A final run at Hillyards was to decide the overall places Peter Roberts took the stage by 3 seconds and Peter Kahler held out to beat Derek by 7 seconds and Clay Badenoch another 3 seconds behind Derek.

The overall there was just 3 minutes 51 seconds from 1st to 10th place. Awesome effort to the teams and the  event organisers and officials well done.

 

Story by Lorne Close.

Border Ranges Rally 2016

The Brakes Direct Border Ranges Rally on Saturday the 27th August is Round 4 of the MRF Tyres Queensland Rally Championship but it might just be the Classics that steal the show at this all shire road event.

Set to run at the front of the field in their own category the Zupp Property Group Classic Rally Challenge will have some top line names competing. Heading the list is New Zealand’s multiple Otago Winner Derek Ayson in a MK II Escort. Derek last ran the event as Zero in a BMW supplied by Ed Mulligan. He loved the event so much he was determined to come back, and compete. Jack Monkhouse will be back this time in a bellowing V8 Manta. Both cars will be supplied by Ed Mulligan of 4WD World.

Rallytorque have put together the Border Ranges Escort Challenge especially for Ford Escorts, and there is certainly good interest being shown. Tom Dermody and Keith Fackrell will be in RS 1800s, Matt Linning in another MK II, and Rob Clark will have his stunning MK1 out for a run. These crews will run with the Classics at the front of the field.

Of course there are all the Classes of the MRF Tyres Queensland Rally Championship with the all-wheel drive rockets leading the way. Rob Bishop in his EVO 6 is an outright contender but there are a few NSW drivers led by Peter Roberts, also in an EVO 6, who will be wanting to take home the trophy for the Queensland V New South Wales Challenge.

Forza (specials brake suppliers) also have prizes on offer for cars fitted with their great product. And of course there is a category for those who just want to come and do some skids on some of the best rally roads in the Country.

Friday is set aside for reconnaissance and a Media Stage. The event proper gets under way in the centre of Kyogle with the first car flagged away at 9.45am. There are nine ex WRC shire road stages being contested with crews passing through the famous Hillyard’s Spectator Point three times. The third will be a night stage. To complete proceedings crews will tackle two runs of the Super Special at the Kyogle Showground.

Supplementary regulations are out for competitors. Refer to www.borderrangesrally.com.au for all the required documentation. But if you are not competing and want your own ‘personal spectator point’ then contact John Truskinger the event’s Officials Co-ordinator jptruskinger@gmail.com 0407 656 044

David Hack Classic Meet

Rotary Club of North Toowoomba has once again pulled off a spectacular event in the annual David Hack Classic. Hosted at the Aerotec Hangar and featuring something for everyone, this year’s event saw around 3,500 people attend and enjoy the various displays. The weather looked like it would once again put a dampener on people’s spirits; but by mid-morning the fog and rain had lifted, providing an enjoyable day.

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The event, focused on raising funds for the Leukemia Foundation of QLD and Toowoomba Branch and Blue Care, showcased car clubs from across South East Queensland; a static display of historical military vehicles and a Kiowa helicopter from the Oakey military museum; and Aerotec’s collection of Warbirds, including the five T-28 Trojans, a T-6 Harvard, an Australian-designed Winjeel and a Tiger Moth. Adding to the excitement was visiting pilot Steve Gale with his SIAI Marchetti Jet on site offering a joy-flight over Toowoomba for the silent action prize winner; and Frank Gafferio with his flaming Bandag Bullet.

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The David Hack Classic also featured a celebration of 100 years of BMW. The Rotary Club of North Toowoomba provided a cake for the monumental milestone in front of a line of classic and modern BMW’s on public display, including a special feature of a new BMW i8. Alongside them, car clubs from across SE QLD, including the Mini Owners Club of QLD, The Darling Downs Veteran and Vintage Motor Club, and the MG Car Club of QLD turned out to show off their pride and joy for the crowds.

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In addition to the classic car displays, Aerotec Toowoomba provided an impressive display of warplanes from across the ages. Planes graced the field for people to get up close and personal with a piece of history, and pilots and ground crews alike were happy to share stories and the history of the aircraft. Once the rain cleared, the crowd were treated to a formation flight of three T-28 Trojans displaying some impressively close-quarters flying. The North-American Trojans, each a different model, were once trainer aircraft, before being re-tasked as counter insurgency aircraft during the Vietnam War. Retired Flight Lieutenant Steve Gale took his SIAI Marchetti Trainer Jet up twice during the day, showing off the aircraft’s top speed of 414knots, or 740km/hr and impressing crowds with some impressive high-speed aerobatics. Finishing up the aircraft display of the day was a formation flight of Aerotec’s Yak54 and Australia’s Winjeel, an aircraft designed and built in Melbourne, and only ever used in Australian combat. Rounding up the wartime display was a collection of vehicles and a Kiowa attack helicopter from the Australian Army Flying Museum at Oakey.

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The Lockyer Valley Rotary Club had a presence on the day, selling tickets to raise funds for struggling farmers. All funds raised from ticket sales into the “Fergie” Ferguson Tractor raffle go straight to farmers in need, providing vital support for those struggling through severe circumstances. To order tickets into the raffle, call 0476923960.

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The Rotary Club reports that the fundraising at David Hack raised approximately $9000 for each Blue Care and the Leukaemia Foundation of QLD and Toowoomba Branch. In addition to the David Hack fundraising, Elders Insurance are offering a donation of up to $50 to either Blue Care or the Leukaemia foundation of Queensland with every new signup or CTP insurance switch. At David Hack, this fundraiser managed to raise nearly $6000 for both charities. The fundraiser is ongoing, and details can be found via the David Hack facebook page.

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When asked about the day, the Chairman of the Rotary Club of North Toowoomba said “It was a great day. The weather looked threatening, but by 10:30 the planes were up in the sky and the sun was out. The exhibitors and the public were down a bit, with around 3,500 people showing up. For our 19th year next year we aim to find new drawcards in both aeroplanes and a vehicle. We are already thinking about what we can do to make out 20th year in 2018 a super big day!”

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Australian Light Aircraft Championships

The Darling Downs Aero Club in Toowoomba hosted the Australian Light Aircraft Championships last week; with pilots and planes flying in from across the country to participate in a series of challenging competitions designed to test pilot skills. The event, held annually and organised by the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs, gave amateur pilots a chance to test their skills as they strive to take out the title in a variety of championship events.

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This year, pilots and planes flew in from Tasmania, Western Australia, and Newcastle, and competed in streamer cutting, formation team flying, forced landings, and spot landings. The aerobatics events were cancelled due to a lack of entrants. Severe winds on Thursday and Friday made for extremely difficult flying, and provided a challenge for pilots to overcome, particularly in the spot and forced landing competitions. The pilots stepped up to the challenge in spectacular fashion, taking on the wind and each other in an attempt to lay claim to one of the titles on offer.

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The spot landing event required pilots to land their plane evenly on a 10 metre strip of runway, scoring 50 points if they hit the mark, and losing 10 points per 10 metres outside of that mark. Darling Downs Aero Club’s own Greg Wilson took first place, with Western Australia’s Jim Di Menna and Toowoomba’s Mark Guth claiming second and third.

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Forced landings simulate an engine failure landing on a shortened strip of land, where pilots are required to cut power to the engine and glide to a landing, avoiding a bunting fence and landing on the 10 metre, 50 point mark, losing points per ten metres outside of the mark, and being disqualified for either using power during the landing or for knocking down the fence. Western Australia’s Michael Stenson proved too much for the competition and claimed first place in the forced landings. Ed Ten Broeke of Tasmania took second place, with Peter Horsborough of Newcastle coming in third.

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The streamer cutting event called for pilots to drop streamers out of their planes, and spiral down toward the ground, ensuring they cut their streamer 4 times as fast as possible before the 1000m mark. The event, one not for the feint of heart, was won by Tasmania’s Peter Fenton with the fastest streamer cut, and New Zealander David Campbell coming in second, and Ed Ten Broeke from Tasmania claiming the third.

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The formation event was almost cancelled, with the last-minute arrival of the Tasmanian team allowing it to go ahead. The competition was close, with both teams performing excellent executions of the vic, right and left echelons, and the free formation figure eight during the competition. The Newcastle team, flying out of Rutherford near Maitland, proved to be the better team on the day, taking the win over the boys from Tasmania. The team’s victory is made more significant by the fact that pilot #2, Peter Horsborough, was competing with the team for the first time, having only received his ticket three months prior to the event. Peter also took the win as overall champion for the event, cementing his place in the Championships.

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During breaks between competition, pilots both local and interstate, ground crew, kitchen staff, and mechanics were exceptionally happy to discuss various aspects of the event and competitions, as well as covering information on the planes present at the club and those visiting from interstate, the running of an airport, various aspects of piloting, and club membership and activities. Australian Motorsport Magazine staff member Nicole Jenkins was given a chance to participate in a forced landing practice with pilot Dave Kunkel of Newcastle. The Darling Downs Aero Club invites anyone interested in joining friendly local pilots to find them on facebook, or call during business hours on (07) 4634 2777.

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Offering their support as line judges, Gatton University’s 205sqn RAAF Cadets spent Friday and Saturday assisting the judges with their determination of points in both the spot and forced landing competitions. Also in attendance were the Air League, now based out of the Gold Coast, but originally in Toowoomba. The Toowoomba squadron of the Air League was the first for the state, and sadly has not been in operation for many years due to a lack of volunteers. Keen to see the squadron returned to its former glory, the Gold Coast squadron have begun taking expressions of interest for people wanting to join. Open to children aged 8 to 18, the league provides children the opportunity to earn their badges in a variety of aviation specialisations, such as theory of flight and navigation. The club is a not-for-profit organisation, and needs only seven members to begin a squadron in Toowoomba. Anyone interested in enquiring about the Toowoomba squadron can contact Wing Captain Walter Savell; at oc.goldcoast@airleague.com.au

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Targa Tasmania Day 2

Wow Tasmania Wow.  I was told that you had the best roads in Australia and today you showed some of them to us.

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An early day after Porsche hospitality provided dining at one of
Launceston’s best restaurants, Cataract last night.
The alarm came too early this morning with breakfast at 5.45am start for a 6.30am departure, but as we slipped into the cars and started the engines there was an air of excitement around the group this morning.
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The reason – stage one “The Sideling”  It is regarded as one of the key
Targa stages and for the competitors it will be one that is highly sort
after for an outright win and place.  It was the first of the five North
East stages using the Tassie Highway for the course.

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The stage takes us through forestry plantations and there were plenty of sharp corners to test us on this early stage.  The road was smooth and with some great corners to ‘clip’ and some tricky corners that came up quickly.

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On this stage we were able to quickly catch the car in front so on the next touring stage we took the opportunity when they made a toilet stop to move up a spot.

Three more fantastic stages followed with some great twist and turns, simply made for a Porsche – or in fact any car that loves tight and twisty roads.  The brakes never fail to amaze me, how quickly they pull the car up and are ready again on the next corner.  It makes it so much fun.

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Lunch was a quick stop today – a wrap, apple and muesli bar and we were off again. This time to another of Targa’s favorite stages – “Elephant Pass”

This time we saddled up for the 11.16km run, which is definitely one of the toughest of the event.  Some switchback corners, steep drops from the side of the road and rock embankments. There were 3 double cautions (which must be given the respect they deserve) or it could be an early day with your car on the trailer or worse.

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It has a challenging 7km uphill run before a nice, fast winding and
slightly downhill finish. You only had to see the smile on the face of the other drivers to know how much fun this one was.

Moving on to Rossarden, this stage was full of loose gravel at the start and we really had to watch the stone chips as rocks where flicked up from the fat 305.30.’s on the back of the Porsche GTS in front of me.  Again, this stage puts a smile on your face with a fast sweeping start and then the unexpected bends just a few kilometers in.  A steep decent to the finish put a test on the rubber and brakes and I found the ABS cutting in on a couple of heavy braking corners.

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Three double cautions and a triple indicating a steep drop off the side of the road as the corner goes right and gets tight.  Smiles all round once we pass through the finish and tour on to our fabulous afternoon tea at The Red Feather Inn for another fantastic hospitality stop with our friends from Porsche.

After a number of dinner and other functions we are starting to meet a lot of the group and finding that in addition to our interest in motor sport, many share other things in common that make this more than just a driving tour, but something that you fell you belong to.