Photo Gallery: Stewart Reid wins Coffs Coast Classic Forest rally
Reid took the lead on the last stage when Jeff David in the Porsche 911 suffered gearbox and clutch problems.
Run in conjunction with Rally Australia, spectators revelled in the special display of classic cars, which made demonstration runs; notably John Haddon’s IYK-000 RS 1800, replica Datsun 710 SSS and Jason Lea’s Ex Fury 120Y. Run over 4 days, the Coffs Coast Classic Rally used plenty of classic roads made famous in the Southern Cross Rally, 31 years ago.
Friday dawned bleak and wet. WRC crews fell by the wayside early with Sebastien Loeb, Sebastien Ogier and Ken Block all succumbing to the changeable road surface and slippery conditions.
Jeff David commented that he had no problems with the stages on Friday, claiming the roads around Coffs a “challenge”, enjoying them in the powerful rear wheel drive Porsche 911. David proved his point, taking out the opening test, Shipmans 1 by 3.5 seconds to Hoy in the Datsun and Reid in third.
Reid struck back on the next stage, a 12.45k blast, taking the stage by 5.1 seconds from Reid, remaining in second overall.
Classics were lucky: they didn’t contest the afternoon’s group of stages, returning to the Service Park, with David going on into the two evening super special stages just in front of Reid.
A torrential downpour just before the stage start made the Super Special stage like an ice rink. One driver saying it was like “Bambi on Ice!”
David won the first run through by 3.5 seconds from Reid and then Reid beat David on the next run by 1.5 seconds – continuing the trend all year in the Classic competition in the ARC, swapping times at the front.
Saturday’s started off with the Welshes 1, with thousands of spectators at the spectator point, all waiting to see the classics, crowds cheering with the sideways action and noise of yesteryear.
Reid won with David next, back 1.4 seconds enough for David to lose the lead to Reid who took charge by 1.4 secs.
Keith Callinan improved his position, but was 3 minutes back with Dunkerton less than 5 seconds adrift.
The tit for tat continued with David wrestling back 1st spot some 20.6 secs faster than Reid, Dunkerton claiming 3rd fastest time on the 19.77K run through Graces.
Reid won Valla and the next stage won by David and Dunkerton continuing his run of 3rd fastest times, Russell Winks in the big Commodore the first of the Invitational cars.
David struck back on the Urunga 1 test, by taking the stage win over Reid by 7.6 seconds.
Max Roberts and Keith Byrn retired with an off road excursion damaging the radiator in their brand new RS 1800, preventing them from continuing.
Wayne Hoy in the 2400cc powered Datsun 1600 thrilled the crowds with fastest time on the first of the Castrol Edge Super Special Stage runs, Reid only 4 hundredth’s slower. Reid took the next run with Dunkerton second fastest. His run of good times came to an end with the Carburettor float breaking , flooding the cylinder head combined with a plug lead, the team calling it a day.
Day 3 and the Classics had a full day of stages to compete on, the ARC Filed finishing the night before with David continuing to lead. Reid took the next stage from David yet again, with hoy 34 seconds back, with Richard Troup in the RX 2, 4th fastest.
Richard Anderson in the Alfetta GT was in 4th, but over 9 minutes back confirming that Reid, David and Dunkerton had almost been competing in a different rally to the rest of the classic field.
Clarence 1 saw Reid win the stage again but it was Richard Troup in the RX2 claim second. Jeff David got to the end of the stage after suffering severe clutch slip and gearbox problems, ending his chance of victory.
Reid won the last stage, proving his superiority over the rest of the classic field, the Historic Rallysport RS 1800 performing well.
Wayne Hoy carried the honours for Datsun, some 24 seconds back, a reverse of the Southern Cross Rally result from 1981, when Datsun won and Ford came second the fans out on the stages reliving the glory days.
Crews reported that it was one the best classic Rallies run in Australia with the winner Stewart Reid commenting that the stages suited the RS 1800 but was disappointed for Jeff David who had proved to be the pacesetter of the rally. .
S REID – A MCOUGHLIN Ford Escort RS 1800 2:28.09.1
W HOY – L COLLITS Datsun 1600 2:33.00.2
R ANDERSON – D DARCH Alfetta GT 2:40.38.9
Images: Stuart Bowes©