What a sensational way to kick events into life again after so many lockdowns, cancelled events and red tape!
The Mt Baw Baw Sprint saw competitors tackle the 32.3km road from Porcupine Creek to the summit of Mt Baw Baw. Divided into 17 stages over 2 days, the course started with a casual 7.2km opening stage that was untimed and culminated into the full course run to the top incorporating the steepest tarmac rally stage in the country.
Crews began arriving Thursday with Friday morning being a hub of activity as cars were checked and stories were swapped… The afternoon consisted of documentation, vehicle checks and briefings for competitors, tour participants and officials.
After a cold few days, we awoke Saturday morning to clear blue skies as the event got underway. Early leaders at lunch on Saturday were Danny Traverso & Jason Page in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, holding a 1:15 lead over Oscar Matthews & Tristan Catford in the older Evo VI, with the duo of Mark Cates and Bernie Webb close behind on the debut of their Porsche GT2 RS. Reeves/Sheldrick and Wright/Wright made up the top 5 overall.
Mechanical issues saw the Matthews/Catford duo withdraw from the rest of the event, while Nathan Reeves survived a wild slide on stage to leapfrog into second position at the end of day one.
The starting order for day two was a closely contested battle:
1 - Danny Traverso/Jason Page
2 - Nathan Reeves/Bec Sheldrick +1:23.8
3 - Mark Cates/Bernie Webb +2:09.0
4 - Jason Wright/Fiona Wright +3:41.3 Angryman Photography
5 - Allan Hines/Kerry Hines +6:33.2
6 - Greg Bass/Peter Cooke +7:36.47
However, it also saw the withdrawal of second place pairing Reeves/Sheldrick with their Subaru suffering gearbox issues leaving them stranded in fourth gear.
By lunchtime on the Sunday, Cates/Webb had been handed first place as the Evo of Traverso/Page suffered failure of two tyres, plummeting them down to third place nearly 7 minutes off the pace, with current reigning champion Allan Hines nipping at their heels in fourth position. Overall placings at the drop of the flag Sunday afternoon saw Cates/Webb hold on to cross the line ahead of Wright/Wright and Traverso/Page.
1st - Mark Cates / Bernie Webb
2nd - Jason Wright / Fiona Wright
3rd - Danny Traverso / Jason Page
Modern RWD - Mark Cates / Bernie Webb
Super Rally - Jason Wright / Fiona Wright
Early Modern AWD - Danny Traverso / Jason Page
Modern AWD - Allan Hines / Kerry Hines
Rally Challenge - Jim Callahan / Hugh Feggans
Classic - Peter Gluskie / Sam Winter
Classic Modified - Mark Clair / Ray Farrell
Words cannot express how relieved we were to have a successful event after 14 cancelled or postponed. The relief was shared by not only the hardworking officials and volunteers but was visible on the faces of everyone as celebrations were underway.
Heartfelt thanks must go out to the diligent officials who are up before dawn and preparing for each day, spending countless hours roadside to ensure the event runs as smooth as possible, and we can proudly say that it went without a hitch for the whole weekend.
With a returning perk in our step, we now regroup and prepare for the next event, the awesome Snowy River Sprint at Lakes Entrance on the 27-29th May.
We cannot hold these events with the support of competitors, crew, officials and volunteers, so we want to express our deepest love and thanks to all who supported us.
To our governing body AASA, thank you for the ongoing support and assistance getting these events off the ground, and a special thanks to Bruce for personally overseeing the event.
To our medical and rescue crew, while we are glad you had a quiet event, your presence and professionalism on display was reassuring.
To our sponsors and partners, RDA Brakes, Bodyography, NAPA Auto Parts, Samsonas Motorsport and Flexible Drive. Thank you for your understanding and unwavering support during the trying times to get these events underway. We appreciate your loyalty and look forward to continuing to build with you.
To Jarrod and Gavin from Angryman Photography, the images speak for themselves. We are beyond grateful to have you join us on our journey going forward and watching what you are able to create. Your talent will never go un-noticed.
To the Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort, thank you for your amazing hospitality leading up to and during the event. The perfect place for the hub of activity or quiet dinner.
We are overwhelmed with the support we have received and look forward to bringing you the best tarmac rally events possible in some of the most glorious locations. Entries are now open for the Snowy River Sprint via our website.
See you all in May!!
All images: Angryman Photography www.angrymanphotography.com.au