A TWO-WHEEL DRIVE 1993 Honda Civic has taken the outright win in round one of the Western Australian Rally Championship, the new Trade Hire Kin Kin Rally held around Manjimup. It’s the first time the Verandah Apartment’s team – driver Tom Wilde and his girlfriend and co-driver Madelin Kirkhouse – have paired up for a rally. It’s also the first time a two-wheel drive car has won a round of the WARC since 1994, when multiple WA State Rally Champion Bob Nicoli finished fastest in his Daihatsu Charade.
Wilde said that he could never have predicted an outright win, but was thrilled to take the title. “It wasn’t until about half way through the rally that I saw the times and thought we have a chance for the win,” Wilde, 29, said.
John Macara was leading the rally in his 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 up until Stage 6 when he had an off and lost a lot of time. Nic Box had mechanical issues with his 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 which ended his rally.
“All the practice I’ve had writing fresh pace notes at events in the eastern states really helped,” Wilde said. “As a brand new rally with stages none of us have rallied on before, everyone needed to write fresh notes. It was great to do that with Madelin and she turned out to be an excellent navigator, we bonded really well, “I did some work to the car in the lead up, but it still just has the standard Honda Civic engine and gearbox. I’ll put our win down to having great notes and the fast, narrow, flowing roads which suit the two-wheel drive,” Wilde has “crazy driving talent”, according to winning co-driver Kirkhouse, 25, “Whenever I thought surely we’re going to go off here, Tom would just cruise around the bend,” she said. “He didn’t frighten me at all,. We got along really well and had lots of laughs – it was a fun rally.” The Busselton duo won both the outright and 2WD.
Second outright were Casa Security’s Stephen Oxley and Michael Wood in a 2008 Subaru WRX STI. Just 45 seconds separated third with three stages to go. Maximum Motorsport’s John O’Dowd and Kenneth Sheil, were ahead of Natrad Malaga’s Mick Steele and Tracey Dewhurst. Steele clawed back vital seconds but it was O’Dowd in a 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI who finished on the podium. Second in 2WD went to Mike Joss Racing’s Michael Joss and co -driver Megan Logue, with Trade Hire’s Kody Reynolds and Daniel Reynolds third.
Clubman Cup winners, Michael and Stuart Clarke. Image: RallyWA/CMS PHOTOGRAPHY.
Tom Wilde, a cheesemaker at his family’s business Cambray Cheese in Nannup, praised the new event. “We camped at the Kin Kin Retreat with everyone else – they have really good facilities and it’s close to some good rally roads. It was really cool,” he said.
Clerk of Course Richard Delfos was delighted with its debut on the WARC calendar. “We had some rain in the lead up, which helped settle the dust and left the stages in excellent condition,” Delfos said. He acknowledged the “terrific support” from the competitors, sponsors and community.
The KIn Kin covered a combination of state forest and pine plantation roads with 92 kilometres of competitive stages, 215 kilometres in total through the Southern Forests – and three stages run three times for WARC competitors and twice for Clubman contestants.
ROUND 2 of the 2017 Onslow Contracting Western Australian Rally Championship is the popular Quit Forest Rally April 21-23, around Busselton and Nannup.
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