Once 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.