Excursion: Strapped into Jeff David’s 1970 Porsche 911 Rally Car
To be quite honest, I was shit scared. When we turned up at the forest it was quiet and tranquil and then the unmistakable deep bwoooooohp, bwoooohp, bwoooohp growl of a 911 thundering through the trees shattered the silence.
The incredible speed of it was a shock as the Porsche hurtled towards me all crossed up, and then in an instant it was flicked sideways, and then it was gone, leaving me covered in a layer of dust and rocks.
There was no way I was getting in it. I’m a bad passenger at the best of times and I like to have a steering wheel in front of me, thanks.
Next thing I know I’m strapped in the bloody thing and we are flying down a “straight section”, slightly sideways at 183km/h. Jeff has his foot completely buried and I’m looking forward to him hitting the brakes. When he does, it snaps my neck forward. The front end dives sharply as the Kumho tyres bite hard into the gravel and we wash off about 50 km’h in half a second before he deftly chucks it into a right hander and gets back on the gas and unwinds the opposite lock.
I decide I’d better hang on and tightly grip the edges of the bucket seats whilst Jeff shows off his superb talent around the 5km loop. Having never been in a rally car before the grip,acceleration and braking are far beyond what I had imagined and I realise that that the offroad game requires a whole new skill set.
Jeff’s 1970 Porsche 911 was originally built for the 2000 London to Sydney marathon, but it wasn’t until 2006 when the real development began and he and the Autohaus Hamilton team began making tsunami sized waves, competing in classic rallies and the Australian Rally Championship.
Grant Geelan of Autohaus Hamilton was kind enough to invite me and about 10 other guests out for the day, to sample the machine and enjoy his team’s unrivaled hospitality. Not only is Grant the regular co driver of the white 911, but he and his team have been responsible for the immaculate preparation and presentation of this stunning 1070kg, 230HP, 3.ol historic rally beast.
The results have been impressive too. 3rd outright at the 2009 Otago Rally, 3rd outright at the 2009 Alpine Rally, 8th outright and first 2WD in the 2008 Australian Rally Championship and an unrepresentitive 4th in the NSW rally championship, a series which they led until the final round.
A good team is essential, but the pilot makes a big difference out there in the forest, and I can assure you Jeff David can drive. Jeff was first bitten by the motorsport bug aged 5, when he began riding motocross, he began rallying in his teens before a massive crash forced him to park the car and his rally dreams. Jeff vowed to one day return to the sport he loves and went on to build up a successful business which has allowed him to pursue his sideways passion.
Jeff and Grant are planning to build a new machine in 2010, so watch this space.
Many thanks to Jeff, Grant and the Autohaus crew for an enjoyable and unforgettable day out.
Images: Rich Fowler and Sanjay Ramadevan
Video: Alpine Rally 2009