The Battle Resumes at Mitta

Last year NSW rally crews came south of the border and routed the Victorians, or Mexicans, on their home ground at Mitta, taking out the top four places in the 2018 Mitta Mountain Rally.

Unlike the border north of Mexico, there are no plans or need to build a wall here as there is already the Murray River.  Now there’s an idea.  It might be cheaper for the Don to dig a river and throw some piranhas in it, rather than build a wall.

This year Victoria has Glen Raymond/Kate Catford and Aaron Windus/Daniel Brick back in the team, to hopefully put up a better fight this year against the Northern marauders that include last year’s Mitta winners Tom Clarke/Ryan Preston, reinforced by current State champions Glenn Brinkman/Harvey Smith.  The team drives deep with turbo 4wd support from South/Goodreid, Shimmon/Gleeson, Giddins/Fletcher, and Kent/Males, before we get to the next highest Victorian seed at car 11 of Warren Lee/David Lethlean, who have not had a good run at Mitta over the last two years and will be looking for a change in fortunes.

Also in the top ten, to add some spice are the exciting front wheel drive Citroen DS3 of Tony Sullens/Kaylie Newell and AP4 Peugeot 208 of Marcus and Scott Walkem from Tasmania.

Tom Dermody/Eoin Moynihan are back to defend their Mitta Masters crown, and have brought with them more Irish reinforcements in PJ O’Keefe/Jason Browne and Tony Barry/Paddy Skelton, all in good British Mk 2 Ford Escorts.  Their Victorian competition will come from Sytema/Wright and Walker/McNamara also in Escorts and Semmens/Parry and Heywood/Blum in Nissan/Datsuns.

Bruce Garland to be patron at 2019 Mitta Mountain Rally

 

NSW cross country rally legend Bruce Garland will follow previous patrons; George Fury, Geoff Portman and Jeff Beaumont, in filling a prestigious but some would say somewhat useless role at Mitta this year.

 

Why have a patron at a rally, you may well ask?  The organisers of the Mitta Mountain Rally thought that having an event patron that was a respected elder of the sport would provide a great link between contemporary competitors at the state championship level and older crews and their cars in the Mitta Masters, which also forms a round of the East Coast Classic Rally Series.

 

Bruce will be the first competing patron that Mitta has had.  Hopefully that makes him more inspiring to young and older competitors.

 

Bruce or ‘The Goose’ got his start as a driver in the Queensland Rally Championship in 1975 before earning a living out of rallying as a mechanic with the Ford Rally Team, then Mitsubishi Ralliart, which took him to WRC events in Europe, where he excelled as a “crash mechanic” ripping off the smashed parts of crashed rallycars and slapping on new bits in little time to keep cars in an event.  He revelled in the role of competing service vehicle in Australian Safaris, driving Ralliart Mitsubishi Pajeros laden with spare gearboxes and axles flat out across outback Australia so as to be right behind the stars when they broke down.  About then he must have thought he could mix it with the established drivers, and started building and racing his own cars.

 

From an off road debut in the 1987 the Finke Desert Race, he moved onto win five Australian Safaris, three Condo 750s, and the marathon 1998 Round Australia Rally, as well as top five results in Asia, the US and the Middle East.

 

Garland has also tackled the famous Dakar rally, his best result being an extraordinary 11th outright as well as first ‘amateur’ (non-factory team) home in 2009.  Unfortunately his return to South America in the 2011 Dakar ended badly when he slammed his Isuzu ute off a 10-metre dune in Chile, broke his back and suffered a heart attack at the wheel. Months of recuperation only resulted in another heart attack and a quintuple bypass operation.

 

So it is great to see Bruce out competing in the East Coast Classic Series in his Mk 1 Ford Escort, not with quite the same old obsessive compulsion for winning, but a passion to just compete.

 

While competing at Mitta he is sure to be found dispensing well earnt wisdom as required, and will be interviewed at the post event presentation function about his career and current rallying before presenting trophies, including the Bruce Garland Cup to the winners of the Mitta Masters.

Mitta Entries Update with one day to go

An extra four entries have been received since the last update from Marcus Walkem, Ivan Regester, Jarryd Sweeney and Andrew Penny, while Darren Windus has withdrawn.

That brings total to 53, with 23 from NSW, which is an increase of 10 on last year, and 30 from Victoria which is a decrease of 7 on 2018.

There is still a chance to improve those numbers, as entries do not close until tomorrow, Wednesday 20 February at 8 pm.

All reports are that course is superb and long term weather forecast is for fine, mild weather to continue up until the event.

Mitta Entries Update

We have had requests from competitors wanting an early gauge on their likely competition.  As of today 50 entries have been received, so check if your name is not here and should be.

Good to see so many modern day champions taking on the blind longer stages.

Remember that entries close next Wednesday 20 February at 8pm.

Jamie Neale

Glen Raymond

Luke Sytema

Brad Till

Warren Lee

Michael South

Bethany Cullen

David Officer

Tony Moore

Richard Shimmon

Brian Semmens

Jason Lennane

Jake Bramble

Justin Walker

Josh Bohm

Glenn Brinkman

Joe Chapman

Adrian Straford

Darren Windus

Aaron Windus

David Lawrance

Terry Trewern

Patrick Cole

Ian Martin

Robert Gorst

Graham Wallis

Jeremy Coleman

Mark Hudson

Ross Stapleton

Nicholas Seymour

Tony Sullens

Paul Lahiff

Bruce Garland

Wayne Stewart

Ross O’Reilly

Tristan Kent

Peter Vlandis

Ben Hayes

Lachlan Reed

Hayden Cribb

Kevin Millard

Dean Hubbert

Michael Heuchan

Peter Dimmock

Anthony Lahiff

Jason Giddins

Tom Clarke

Thomas Dermody

Nathan Quinn

Mark Fitton

Mitta Early Bird Entries close today

 

As of today 38 entries have been received, so check if your name is not here and should be.

Remember that early bird discount entries close today Wednesday 6 February at 8pm.

Jamie Neale

Glen Raymond

Luke Sytema

Brad Till

Warren Lee

Michael South

Bethany Cullen

David Officer

Tony Moore

Richard Shimmon

Brian Semmens

Jason Lennane

Jake Bramble

Justin Walker

Josh Bohm

Glenn Brinkman

Joe Chapman

Adrian Straford

Darren Windus

Aaron Windus

David Lawrance

Terry Trewern

Patrick Cole

Ian Martin

Robert Gorst

Graham Wallis

Jeremy Coleman

Mark Hudson

Ross Stapleton

Nicholas Seymour

Tony Sullens

Paul Lahiff

Bruce Garland

Wayne Stewart

Ross O’Reilly

Tristan Kent

Peter Vlandis

Wayne Stewart

Mitta Entries Status

As of today 30 entries have been received, so check if your name is not here and should be.

Good to see some new names or old names returning.  It is hoped that Victoria crews can provide better competition at the pointy end of the field this year.

Remember that early bird discount entries close on Wednesday 6 February.

Jamie Neale

Glen Raymond

Luke Sytema

Brad Till

Warren Lee

Michael South

Bethany Cullen

David Officer

Tony Moore

Richard Shimmon

Brian Semmens

Jason Lennane

Jake Bramble

Justin Walker

Josh Bohm

Glenn Brinkman

Joe Chapman

Adrian Straford

Darren Windus

Aaron Windus

David Lawrance

Terry Trewern

Patrick Cole

Ian Martin

Robert Gorst

Graham Wallis

Jeremy Coleman

Mark Hudson

Ross Stapleton

Guide to NSW Competitors

The organisers of the Mitta Mountain Rally want to make it an enjoyable experience for those competitors from NSW.  A summary of key differences between normal practice at NSW state championship events and what occurs at Mitta was provided last year, and has been updated below for this year.  The differences are not major, although the penalties on road sections in Victoria did catch out a few in 2018.

Series Registration and Eligibility

Competitors register for NSWRC and ECCRS in order to obtain entry discount and be part of a series database, and are automatically eligible for series points if enter a NSWRC or ECCRS round.  Competitors do not have to register for VRC, and can elect on the entry form to not be considered for series points.  In both states competitors must carry series sponsor signage to be eligible for series points.

Scrutiny

Scrutiny is not provided for at the start of the event.  Regional scrutineering must be arranged by those unable to make it to official scrutiny in Melbourne on the Wednesday prior to the event.  Turbo sealing can be conducted at the start of the event by prior arrangement with the Chief Scrutineer.

Vehicle Eligibility

Eligibility to enter is as per NRC for both states.  While eligibility for series points is a matter for each state, out of interest both states go further than the NRC and restrict FIA Group S1600 from scoring state championship points, while Victoria also adds Group G2 to that category.

Refuelling

Refuelling can only occur in the refuel zone adjacent to the service park.  Time is allowed to refuel on the road section leaving the start and each time leaving the service park.  This prevents refuelling being rushed while other pressing work may be required during service sections.  There will be no need for remote refuel zones at Mitta.

Penalties on Road Sections

In Victoria the penalty for late arrival at a Time Control is 5 seconds per minute late, as per the NRC.  This has not been found to cause any public relations issues in Victoria.

Final Results

For Mitta, provisional results are posted at 1900 and made final at 1930 if no protests received.  This allows awards to be presented at the post event function on the same day.  Competitors need to check their times on the scoreboard in Rally HQ.

Series Sponsor Decals

Series decals are a matter for each State.  Both states require series sponsor decals to be placed on the front mudguards on both sides.  Any competitor doing both championships will need to fit both decals into the allocated space.  VRC also requires placing of a decal on the top of the front windscreen.

Event Decals

Small car numbers are placed on top passenger side front and rear windscreens, as for NSW. In Victoria larger car numbers are placed on the rear side windows, and not as part of the door panel.  A traditional small “I love Mitta Mitta” decal will be placed on the bottom centre rear windscreen.

Display Clocks

These are not used in Victoria.  Competitors can use the Rallysafe unit time, which is linked to rally clock time to judge when to enter Time Controls.

Media Day

There will be no media day at Mitta.

Of course there will be other idiosyncrasies, some written, some not, that have not been covered here, but hopefully the above eases the trauma of crossing the Murray River into the Deep South!

Visualise Yourself

Top sports people visualise themselves performing under pressure so that when they are actually under the pump all becomes calm and assured.  So picture yourself on these roads, sliding, jumping, clipping apexes, flicking this way and that, gliding past trees, and generally enjoying the countryside.  Having mentally prepared yourself, now you had better submit an entry to the Mitta Mountain Rally or the associated Mitta Masters, before discount entries close on 6 February.