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Sandy Nott takes Scouts Rally SA

Sandy Nott / David Langfield Evo IV Scouts Rally SA 2012

Sandy Nott and David Langfield have delivered a superb effort in difficult conditions to win round 4 of the South Australian Rally Championship, the Scouts Rally SA. Despite extremely slippery stage conditions in the Mt Crawford and Kuitpo forest areas where the rally was held, Nott and Langfield climbed to first place and just managed to hold off the charge from second place Declan Dwyer and Craig Adams in their Evo 6.

Dywer and Adams sped to an early lead on Friday’s Heat 1, but were soon suffering from brake problems later in the day that left them with as little as 30% brake capacity at some points. The pair clawed back their lead with a trouble free run on Saturday’s Heat 2, however despite winning Sunday’s heat 3 they just missed out on ARC points and finished second to the Evo 4 of Nott. Comparing stage times makes for interesting reading – Declan’s time through the famous Tweeden stage would have placed him third outright in the overall ARC 4WD category, which is especially stunning when you consider that his Evo 6 has considerably less power due to its restricted state of tune, and is a full decade older than the Evo 9 and 10 that were slightly faster.

Dan Day and Steve Glenney had another trouble free run to claim the final podium position in the S&J STI. This is a strong result for the 18 year old Day, as entry into this year’s SARC (and ARC) with co-driver and mentor Steve Glenney is purely an experience gaining exercise to learn as much as possible for future campaigns.

Fourth place was claimed by James Rodda with new co-driver Jim Gleeson calling the notes. The big news for Rodda at Rally SA is that he won the 4WD class of the Rallyschool Australian Junior Championship, securing his place in the Junior Challenge grand final at the Coffs Coast ARC round in October. Guy Tyler, with co-driver Kirrilee Gentleman, fought through gearbox problems to win the 2WD Junior Championship class, securing their place in the Coffs Coast final as well.

This edition of Rally SA proved to be one of the toughest on record as it turned into a rally of attrition. Despite the relatively dry weather during the event in some of the coldest and wettest parts of the state in the middle of winter, very heavy rain in the weeks leading up to the event meant the roads, particularly in Kuitpo forest, were boggy even before the event began. In many places the roads were seriously slippery, even walking across them was a challenge in itself. In fact it was so bad in some places that there was serious doubt as to whether the majority of Sunday’s stages would even run. Opinions varied widely – one stage was cancelled however some competitors called for all of the stage to be cancelled, and this debate still continues as to what decision should have been made. It was a definite test of skill and endurance, and whilst Declan’s speed and commitment was breathtaking to watch and his stage time’s were consistently faster than Sandy’s, this years event still showed that outright speed doesn’t necessarily earn you the top step of the podium.

The event began on Thursday night with an excellent King William Street Parade through the Adelaide CBD, and in another first the service park was moved into Edwards Park in the city parklands and held on some old netball courts. Whilst this meant more transport kilometers for competitors as all of the stages were far away in the hills, it was fantastic for spectators having the service park right in the heart of the city. The service park on Friday night was simply more ‘full’ than it normally would have been if it were in the hills, and it became a congregating point for people from all over. Some were crewing, some had been out on the stages all day and some had just come to hang out for a while after work. It was a cool atmosphere.

The actual event itself was a bit of a departure from the usual Rally SA format. A decision by the centrally located Adelaide Hills Council meant many much loved stages could not be used this year, so as a result of this Friday and Saturday’s competition took place on the northern roads in the Mt Crawford Forest and around the Gawler area, with Sunday’s competition reserved for the extended central hills around Mount Barker and Nairne, and the Kuitpo Forest in the southern hills area. The new format was popular with competitors, and was the first time that a lot of the interstate crews had competed on stages typically used in the state championship.

With Declan Dwyer and Craig Adams in the lead, the championship now heads to the fifth and final round, the 2012 Walky Stages Rally to be held in the Truro area on Saturday 27 October. This is a brand new event held in partnership by the Walkerville All Cars Club and the Southern Districts Car Club, so stay tuned for more information as it’s released.

Article by Andrew Coles, Any Given Reason