Naish and Runnalls win 2009 Classic Outback Trial
Tweed Heads, Sunday September 6:
Victorian Historic Rally Association members Terry Naish and Ross Runnalls in their 1970 Datsun 1600 sedan made no mistakes to win the 6-day 2009 Frontier Services Classic Outback Trial by a 3min 31sec margin over ever-present fellow Victorian rivals, Steve Ashton and Ro Nixon in a similar vintage Mitsubishi Colt Galant.
Naish and Runnalls, who were the winners of the 1998 and 2000 Alpine Rallies and won the Victorian Northeast Riverina Rally Series in 1991 and 1992, were always in the frame to win the event, after hovering near or in the lead for the 2,260km with its 21 timed special stages that ended at Repco Rally Australia at the weekend.
They swept into an ultimately unassailable lead on Friday morning after pre-event favourites David and Kate Officer struck transmission troubles in the first stage of the day in their 1972 Mitsubishi Colt Galant, dropping them to the tail of the field with just six stages remaining.
Ashton and Nixon, who finished third in the 2005 Victorian Rally Championship, then moved in to a secure second place, but were unable to make inroads into the rapid Datsun’s lead.
New South Wales’ Michael Pinckham and Tomm Flegl finished a fine third, 9min 1sec behind, in their 1982 Holden Commodore sedan, with the fellow NSW crew of Andy Crane and Dave Anderson fourth in their Peugeot 504 Ti, another 7min 39sec behind.
Queensland’s Michael and Peter Giddings finished fifth in their 1970 model Datsun 180B, with the Tasmanian crew of Graeme Walkem and Bill Cromarty sixth in their 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera.
Provisional results, 2009 Frontier Services Classic Outback Trial
1. Terry Naish/Ross Runnalls, 1970 Datsun 1600, 1hr 22min 18sec
2. Steve Ashton/Ro Nixon, 1970 Mitsubishi Colt Galant, 1hr 25min 49sec
3. Michael Pinckham/Tomm Flegl, 1982 Holden Commodore VH, 1hr 35min 10sec
4. Andy Crane/Dave Anderson, 1970 Peugeot 504 Ti, 1hr 42min 49sec
5. Michael Giddings/Peter Giddings, 1970 Datsun 180B, 1hr 43min 18sec
6. Graeme Walkem/Bill Cromarty, 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1hr 43min 53sec.