Andrew Graves top seed for Rankleburn Rally
Photo credit: Ron Veint.

Andrew Graves top seed for Rankleburn Rally

Gore driver Andrew Graves, fresh from a win in the recent Lawrence Rally, is the top seed for this Saturday’s Eastern Southland Car Club MLT / Croydon Lodge and Ernslaw One Limited Rankleburn Rally in the Rankleburn Forest in West Otago.

Graves will be at the wheel of his Mitsubishi EVO 3 while other top runners include David Clearwater of Christchurch (EVO 4), a top ten finisher at Lawrence, and James Worker in the EVO 6 driven to victory here for the last two years by Carter Strang. This will be Worker’s third event in the car.

Others to watch are Paul Cross of Gore (Subaru Impreza H6) and Cromwell driver Simon Taylor at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza.

Steve Thompson of Mosgiel (Ford Escort MKII), Brendon Mitchell of Winton (Datsun 1600) and Brett Waddren of Temuka (Toyota Starlet) will be Class C frontrunners while Class B should see a battle between Craig Cormack of Gore (Toyota Levin), Thomas Paul of Cromwell (Honda Civic), Grant Molloy of Invercargill (Corolla) and Queenstown drivers Adrian Jones (Corolla) and Mauro Balzarini (Toyota Sprinter).

Class A is the domain of Chris Herdman of Temuka in his Toyota Starlet).

The rally is part of the club’s rally championship and will comprise four Special Stages totalling approximately 80 kilometres.

The event, based at Telford Tops Road in the Rankleburn Forest, West Otago, is approximately one hour from Gore and 35 minutes from Balclutha and will be signposted from State Highway 1.

Servicing takes place at Telford Tops Road with prizegiving at the Croydon Hotel on the Main Queenstown Highway after the event.

Special Stage 1, Greyburn 3, over a distance of 20km, is supported by Michael Kelly Auto Electrical Ltd / Yuasa and was new for 2020 while Stage Two, Harrisons Supplies Ltd, Land’s End, is a new stage of 19.97km for 2021.

BNT Automotive Bapcor presents Special Stage 3, Sharps, another new stage for 2021. Those that have seen the 19.83km stage say that if you aren’t smiling when you finish it, rallying may not be the sport for you. It starts at the top of John O’Groats (part of this was last used in 2008) then into Sharp Road with a very readable 5km left into Land’s End Road, a right just past the Pump Shed and up Telford Tops/Middle Road then using Saddle Creek onto a quicker part of Telford Tops for 1.8km to the finish. The final stage, Russell Keeler Automotive Kennedy, (19.34km) was new to the event in 2019, and saw records set in every class last year.

The best viewing for stages one and two, is at the intersections of Chapman / Middle Road which is a forestry road, Chapman / Manuka Road and Manuka / Land’s End Road (also a forestry road) with the roads closed from 10.30am. The first car is due to start the first stage at 11.00am and the second stage at approximately 12noon.

The best viewing in Stage Three is from Land’s End Road / Telford Tops Corner, both forestry roads just off Manuka Road. The first car will enter the stage at 1.15pm.

The winning crew will earn the Darryl Robinson Memorial Trophy while the first Otago Sports Car Club driver will be awarded the Glen Shirlaw Memorial Trophy. The Mark Parsons Award will see prizes for the first novice driver and first novice co-driver in the event

by Lindsay Beer
On behalf of the Eastern Southland Car Club

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