Friday kicked off the first round of the Sidchrome Extreme Rallycross, with Brisbane’s new track at Lakeside International Raceway being broken in hosting the exciting event. Drivers and spectators alike have given their approval to the new track, with Steve Glenney describing the event as “more fun than I ever imagined. I mean, I’ve had some good fun in the forest and tarmac rally, but this was right up there.”
Over two days the champions battled it out to claim the round 1 title in their class, testing their cars and skills in the new event. Steve Glenney took the win in his new Rallycross evo over the favourite Alister McRae in the 4WD category after a very close run. McRae fought hard to regain the title, but was hindered in the final rounds by brake problems in his purpose-built Sidchrome Supercar Lite, first tested in Sydney in May. Of the problem, McRae has stated “obviously there was a small problem with the brakes there at the end, but Steve drove really well, it was a good race.” Callan Sayers claimed the round 1 title amidst the six identical Suzuki Swifts in the 2WD category, testing the vehicle’s limits in order to break from the pack.
The weekend wasn’t without its’ problems, with several cars pulling out during the course due to mechanical issues, or on-track crashes. Mitchell Naylor clipped Jason Hore in the 2WD Suzuki Swift finals, causing Hore to roll as the pair hit the first of the dirt sections. Several vehicles had to be towed from the track over the two days, with a few unable to finish the competition. The combined Super Finals, in which the top three competitors from each class faced off in one ten-lap heat, was finished early due to a collision just two laps from completion.
Both McRae and Glenney have expressed their support for the Extreme Rallycross program here in Australia, wanting to see the action-packed sport take root and encourage more young drivers and fans into Rally. Glenney has declared his intentions of attending the next rounds in both Sydney and Melbourne, with a return to Queensland later in the year, telling media that Extreme Rallycross is “A great format. When we’re rallying tarmac or gravel rally we’ll be going for three or four hours and we come back pumped, but the crew and supporters are cold and tired and weary. Whereas the crew here, I get back to the pits and they’re cheering and loving the action, so it’s enjoyable from in the car and outside the car.”
McRae is hoping to make his return to rallycross here in Australia after competing in China, and believes the excitement of round 1 will quickly draw in new drivers. “As Steve said, I think that now people have seen it out here, they know that it’s actually live and it’s happening, you’ll get guys that’ll join in, and you’ll build the event into a really good sport.”
Round two of Extreme Rallycross will be kicking off in Calder Park, Melbourne, on September 25th and 26th, and Australian Motorsport Magazine will be there to cover the action.