Weeks and Crunkhorn cruise to third straight Classic Adelaide win
South Australian Porsche crew Kevin Weeks and Bec Crunkhorn cruised home to win their third straight Classic Adelaide tarmac rally on Sunday 22nd November.
The pair crossed the finish line after an almost trouble-free run over four days of competition, needing only to adjust the speed of their 1974 Porsche 911RS to keep comfortably ahead of the opposition. They won by almost one minute and 40 seconds.
The result in the outright Late Classic competition category was a clean sweep for South Australian entrants, with Hamish Gibson and Ben Scott second in a 1974 Holden Commodore V8 and Roger Paterson and Paul Whatnell third in another Porsche.
Paterson surrendered second place to Gibson just two stages from the finish when his transmission lost second and fourth gears.
Almost 2000 people turned out to welcome finishers in the 175-car field across the podium in King William Road, Hyde Park, this afternoon.
“We had a very nervous final day. It was very slippery on the first stage but we were able to lift the pace later as we needed,” Weeks said.
“We were behind Steve Glenney’s Holden for the first day but the heat was hard on his tyres while our Porsche is very easy on its tyres.
“We’re really, really pleased to win. Bec and I discussed whether we wanted to continue after Thursday (when Porsche crew Glen Tierney and David Carra were killed in a crash) but we knew they would want that.
“They were really good guys and we’d done a lot of racing them and they were friends. It was very difficult.”
After his three wins and five before that by Melbourne’s Rex Broadbent, Weeks suggested the Porsche’s run of success might be coming to an end under increasing pressure from Australia’s Own.
Glenney, who eventually retired, and then Hamish Gibson showed their 500-plus horsepower Holden V8s were the German cars’ equal on more open stages.
“We’re at the end of our development in the Porsche but if you can put a 650 horsepower V8 and a dog gearbox in an old Holden I think our days are numbered,” he said.
The 13th Classic Adelaide also saw new contenders in the shape of the inaugural Modern category for cars built after 1990.
Although not eligible for “classic” honours the sophisticated Modern cars with all-wheel drive and turbocharged engines set the fastest times on almost every stage.
Danish Le Mans driver Allan Simonsen won the Modern category in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, needing only a steady drive to the finish after early leader Tony Quinn (Nissan R35 GT-R) and fellow rival Tony Longhurst (Subaru Impreza WRX) both retired yesterday.
“It’s been a very good event and I’d love to come back next year if the opportunity arises,” Simonsen said of his maiden Classic Adelaide competition.
“I haven’t minded the hot weather and have been soaking up as much as I can because tomorrow I’m going back to Denmark where it’s minus-three degrees.”
Classic category winner Rob Devenish, from Melbourne, described his result as the best in 38 years of competition.
“I’ve won rallies before, but none was as good as this. We’ve had 43 degree heat, we’ve had rain and we’ve mastered it,” he said.
First-time entrants gave strong praise to Classic Adelaide.
Two-time Australian Touring Car Champion Glenn Seton, who drove a Nissan 370Z to celebrate the Z model’s 40th anniversary, said: “I had a great time and I’d love to come back. I loved the whole thing, the roads and the social side of it.”
Targa West winner Steve Jones, second in Modern today in a Nissan R35 GT-R, said the roads were some of the best in Australia.
“I thought the Tasmanian roads were the hardest, but the roads here are awesome. It’s a huge challenge,” Jones said.
“I really enjoyed the fact the stages are so close to the city. It’s very central and convenient – I’d come here in a hire car, I like it so much.”
Californian enthusiast Pat Matthews tackled his first tarmac event in the Thoroughbred Touring section and loved the experience of driving his rare Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” coupe through the scenic Adelaide region.
“It’s been a fantastic experience. We’ve had a great time and loved the roads and the social side,” he said.
The Classic Adelaide crews, representing seven countries and every Australian State and Territory, were welcomed by spectators whereever they went over the past four days.
There were big public turnouts to see the millions of dollars worth of classic and exotic cars at today’s finish, evening street displays in suburban Norwood and the city’s Gouger Street, and at lunch and morning tea stops in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Fleurieu regions.
Event Chairman David Edwards said Classic Adelaide had continued to earn its reputation as one of South Australia’s most popular major events.
The event had experienced an unforgettable tragedy with the loss of two popular competitors, but most entrants had wanted to continue and the rally had attracted big crowds.
“We’ll be back next year for the 14th time and expect a large contingent of Aston Martin owners from overseas, as well as a big Australian group of Ferraris,” he said.
A one-hour television program covering the 2009 Classic Adelaide will be shown nationally on the Seven Network in the new year.
The rally website classicadelaide.com.au has created a page for friends and supporters to post condolence messages and reminiscences in memory of Gary Tierney and David Carra.
RESULTS – DAY FOUR (sponsored by Commuserve)
Late Classic (1972-1990)
- Kevin Weeks/Bec Crunkhorn (1972 Porsche 911RS) Total time 1 hr 59 min. 19.5 sec.
- Hamish Gibson/Ben Scott (1980 HDT Holden Commodore) 2:02:58.6
- Roger Paterson/Paul Whatnell (1974 Porsche 911RS) 2:03:06.0
- Steve McClintock/Jann Skinner (1981 Mazda RX-7) 2:06:59.8
- Steve Cadden/Strik Steven (1972 Porsche 911) 2:08:11.6
- Allan Simonsen/Matt Lee (2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) Total time 1 hr 55 min. 27.3 sec.
- Steve Jones/Ben Searcy (2008 Nissan R35 GT-R) 1:56:18.0
- Dylan Thomas/Dave Thomas (2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) 1:58:52.1
- Rob Devenish/Lyn Carr (1971 Datsun 240Z) Total time 2 hr 6 min. 52.2 sec.
- David Moir/Vicki Moir (1973 Datsun 240Z) 2:07:17.7
- Peter Ulrich/Sari Ulrich (1963 Jensen CV8) 2:07:19.9
- John Lawson/Andrew Lawson (1936 Delage Le Mans) Total time 2 hr 45 min. 50.9 sec.
- John Rowe/Jock Osborne (1932 Alvis Speed 20) 3:06:55.9