Hosted in the idyllic country town of Glen Innes, Rally New England is the first round of the rally NSW calendar, and a drawcard event for the state.
Featuring six timed stages over 136kms through the NSW countryside, the event draws participants and spectators from across NSW and QLD. This year, organisers decided to combine the final two stages of the day into one 40km stage. Drivers wowed the spectators on the slippery roads, with seventeen entrants giving it their all to secure their positions in the rally NSW 2017 championship; and ten all-comers joining the fun and giving them a run for their money.
For the first time, a tie was awarded to first place; with Tony Sullens and co-driver Kaylie Newell in their Subaru WRX matching times with Richard Shimmon and co-driver Michelle Van De Wilk in their Mitsubishi Evo 7. Richard and Michelle were able to make up time to match the event-leaders Tony and Kaylie despite almost coming off stage 6 at the spectator point. Bryan Van Eck and co-driver Jim Gleeson took third place in their Mitsubishi Evo 6.
In the all-comer division, first place was taken by Glen Brinkman and co-driver Harvey Smith driving a Mitsubishi Evo 5, coming 5th overall, while John Keen and co-driver Ray Priest took second in their silver Subaru WRX, securing 9th place on the overall ladder.
The event was not without it’s problems, with several drivers pulling out during the day due to mechanical issues, but overall the day was labelled a success.
The Glen Innes Tourism Association donated $1000 in prize money for the event, divided by the New England Sporting Car Club.
Article and Images by Nicole Jenkins