17/09/2023 Rally Barossa 2023

Here’s some of the photos taken at the Rally Barossa 2023 (Trial Hill1 and Lamb Nose2 stages).  This is the second year the event has been run in the Barossa Valley area (mainly in the southern and eastern parts).  The event attracts some historic rally cars as well as entrants in the South Australian Rally Championship/Invitational (25 cars) and Regularity classes (5 cars).  Thirty crews would contest the event which comprised 13 stages starting with 4 night stages on the Saturday, including Kanappa and Pippillini (Pipeline) stages not run for many years.  Rally HQ was the car park at Pernod Ricard Winery in Rowland Flat.

The event would see the return of Matt Selley and Hamish McKendrick and also Jack Monkhouse and Neill Woolley (Datsun 180B SSS) to fight it out with previous SARC winner Declan Dwyer teamed up with daughter Zoe (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO6), Dave McDonough and Steve Hiser (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO6), Stuart Bowes and Mark Nelson (not in their regular Mercedes, but in a Mitsubishi Galant for this event), and Molly Spalding combining with Guy Tyler (Subaru Impreza).  Subaru were well represented with 4 cars entered but the Mitsubishi would be at the front end of the field.

Unlike the 2022 which had wet and slushy roads with a few minor creek crossings thrown in this event would be dry and therefore dusty.  This could play havoc with hanging dust slowing down the more cautious drivers.  This was especially prevalent on the Saturday night stages.  Selley commented about the diabolical dust on the Friday night and took it easy as his Mitsubishi EVO8 RS had its first gravel outing.  This meant to have a chance he would have to up the pace on the Sunday chasing down the front runners.  His careful approach resulted in only 8th fastest places on the opening stages.  By special stage 7, Selley now had the bit between the teeth and rattled off 3 fastest stages times rocketing him up the leaderboard.  A couple more stage wins (SS9 Trial Hill2 and SS11 Goldfields1) kept him towards the front and on to take the win.  The Sunday saw the Datsun of Monkhouse have a minor off and getting bogged trouble after a solid start opening the roads on Saturday and having the benefits of no hanging dust!  Heading into Sunday Jack had held a 2min lead (but the off meant losing a lot of time extricating the car and missing stages, eg Lamb Nose2) but he was back in the event later and would deadheat with Selley on the last stage, Steingarten.  Declan Dwyer had 2 stage wins that kept him in touch but then the Lancer experienced mechanical problems on the last stage forcing him to nurse the car home.  However he was able to stay ahead of 3rd placed McDonough.  Molly Spalding/Guy Tyler finished 4th with Daren Herring/Matthew Woods taking 5th.  First Subaru WRX home was the Brown boys in 6th.

In the “slow but fun” Regularity class the win went to Stephen Barker/Kerry Rudham in a Toyota Hilux, no strangers to the top spot on the podium.  Second place went to Emma and Ross Smith (Nissan Skyline R31), 3rd to Graham Wallis/Richard Davies ahead of Damian Reed/Asley Busby-Lyons.