Eli Evans has taken victory in the Bosch Two Wheel Drive Australian Rally Championship and Tom Wilde the overall win in the Bosch Four Wheel Drive Championship at a fire-shortened second round, the Quit Forest Rally in South Western WA
The unrelated fire which started in a haystack on a farm near Nannup prematurely ended the Quit Forest Rally after it spread into the forest and organisers halted the event as a precaution.
It was a dramatic day for the rally with a major rollover sidelining West Australian Nicholas Box and the fire causing three stages to be cancelled.
Box was the pace setter in the morning’s early stages once again but an accident mid-way through the heat which destroyed his Lancer Evo 9 sidelined the team after a fine second placing at the opening round in Melbourne last month.
The car landed badly over a jump and careered into the trees mowing a path through the forest, ending up well off the road after losing control at an estimated 170km/h.
The team’s Mitsubishi Evo 9 is a write off but fortunately both Box and co-driver Ash Ridden weren’t seriously injured. Both were initially treated at Nannup hospital for concussion and bruising before being transferred to Bussleton hospital for x-rays, with Box having a suspected broken wrist.
Meanwhile Eli Evans won the Bosch Two Wheel Drive ARC in a flawless drive to take the overall round and maximum points to open a handy 44 point lead over the Nissan of Jack Monkhouse.
Honda’s Evans maintained his clean sweep of the Bosch two wheel drive ARC in the G2 Jazz ahead of Jack Monkhouse in the Nissan Sylvia S15.
Monkhouse finished third in the second heat of the event behind the second works Honda Jazz of Mark Pedder after he failed to finish in the first heat after dry bogging the car which saw him miss out on a podium position for the event.
Despite claiming both heats, Evans admitted the Quit Forest Rally was an extremely tough event.
“It’s been a hard weekend and this is one of the toughest events on the calendar due to the ball bearing gravel and high attrition rates but we had a great run,” said Evans.
“It gives us confidence heading into Queensland, especially with the prospect of going up against my brother, four times champion Simon Evans, who will be debuting a new Mazda 2 at the International Rally of Queensland.”
Tom Wilde backed up his maiden Bosch Four Wheel Drive ARC heat victory at the opening round at Calder with another heat win and the overall event victory in the four wheel drive championship in his Pedders Suspension Mitsubishi Evo 10.
Wilde finished 22.5 seconds ahead of the Mitsubishi Evo Nine of Michael Boaden. Michael Paton from the ACT in a Subaru WRX finished third overall for the weekend after a consistent and quick drive.
Wilde believes winning the first two rounds of the Bosch ARC puts him in a good position for the championship.
“It’s a great start to the year and it’s given us a pretty good lead over Michael Boaden,” said Wilde.
“I’m pretty confident heading to Queensland but at the same time I know we don’t have to win every round, we just need to be reliable and finish events.
“Apparently the Queensland is quite a technical rally and Michael Boaden has a lot more experience there so I’m just hoping to get more points and do some learning up there.”
The Rallyschool Australian Junior Challenge saw a pair of 17 year olds win their way through to the final at the Coffs Forest Rally in October with superb drivers in both the two wheel drive and four wheel drive sections.
South Australian young gun Dan Day won the four wheel drive class in his Subaru WRX while WA’s Dylan King in an ageing Ford Escort took the two wheel drive class.
The pair of youngsters, barely old enough to hold a drivers licence, demonstrated the calibre of rising talent in rallying with mature and fast drives to win the scholarship category.
Jeff David brought his beautiful Porsche 911 home first in the Classic category after Neal Bates was forced out with a broken shim in the engine of his Toyota Celica, a part costing less than one dollar. Bates had hoped to continue but without a spare he was fearful of destroying the entire engine choosing to withdraw to ensure he would be in Queensland for the next round.
Brett Middleton moved a step closer to securing the ECB Australian SUV Rally Challenge with another fine drive in his diesel powered Subaru Forester SUV, the win being a fine present for his co-driver Andrew Benefield who celebrated his birthday today.
Cody Crocker has extended his championship lead in the Side by Side Rally Challenge with back to back event wins in the Polaris ahead of fellow Polaris drivers James Shipp and Nathan Chivers.
Crocker’s Can Am rival Michael Guest took a wild ride in his machine early in heat two, rolling in the first stage after hitting a jump at excessive speed. Both Guest and his co-driver David Green escaped unharmed.
The next round of the Bosch ARC, the International Rally of Queensland, is scheduled for 25-27 May on the Sunshine Coast.
BOSCH ARC Four Wheel Drive Championship – Round Results
1 – Tom Wilde/ Lee Tierney | Mitsubishi Evo 10
2 – Michael Boaden/ Helen Cheers | Mitsubishi Evo 9
3 – Michael Patton/ Bernie Webb | Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
BOSCH ARC Two Wheel Drive Championship – Round Results
1 – Eli Evans/Greg Weston | Honda Jazz
2 – Jack Monkhouse/Dale Moscatt | Nissan Sylvia S15
3 – John Bruinsma / Naomi Tillet | Holden Commodore VE SS
Pointscores for the Bosch Two Wheel Drive ARC after two rounds
1 – Eli Evans 170
2 – Jack Monkhouse 136
3 – John Bruinsma 97
Pointscores for the Bosch Four Wheel Drive ARC after two rounds
1 – Tom Wilde 152
2 – Michael Boaden 135
3 – Nicholas Box 95