The Brindabella Motor Sport Club in Canberra recently held the “PCD Engineering Rallye Des Femmes Rally”. The event was an Introductory Special Stage rally and is the only rally in Australia conducted for female drivers. The event was first held in 1977. This was the third attempt to run the event this year. The event had been postponed from March to November due to a lack of entries. It was postponed from November to December due to too much rain! This year’s rally attracted 16 female drivers, ranging in experience from regular competitors, to once-a-year drivers to first timers. Five male drivers joined the event to increase the field. The rally started with a training/test stage where competitors could become familiar with the cars. Multiple Australian Rally Champion, Neal Bates, gave some advice to the crews beforehand and was available to get in with some of the competitors for some one-on-one tuition. ARC regular competitors Molly Taylor, Adrian Coppin and Mick Patton were also on-hand to give tuition.
What was the event/discipline of racing that took place over the day? The event was an Introductory Special Stage Rally. It is timed to the forward minute – so competitors can use a 2NS Licence. Was there much interest from newcomers looking to get a start in motor sport? The event attracted five first-time drivers and saw four other women enter who only compete in this event. One of the competitors drove all the way down from Coffs Harbour to compete. This was her first rally and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of the competitors are now talking about entering the local Khanacross series – so they can use their newly acquired 2NS Licence. What was the response/feedback from the competitors that took part? The feedback from the competitors has been very positive. Some of the comments were:
- “Thanks for that it was a great event. It was mine and Melissa’s first event and first time in a rally car so thanks to all the officials and volunteers for the guidance. I had a great time and plenty of laughs.”
- “Thanks for an awesome event, bring on 2016 RDF and an even larger field.”
- “Awesome effort Marty, Sponsors, supporters and volunteers. Thank you for your perseverance looking forward to the next one.”
- “Thank you everyone who gave up time for the event to run, see you all next year.”
- “Huge thanks again Marty and your team for putting RDF on again this year. I’m sure 1 go at it a year is enough but you persevered 3 times this year so that we could go out and have fun. Massive thanks to all the hard working and often not mentioned officials; we really, really appreciate you sacrificing your weekend.”
The Award winners of the event were: 1st Outright: Cath Donohue and Kate Heydon (Mitsubishi EVO X) 2nd Outright: Kelly Caruana and Steve Hodgkin (Holden Commodore) Equal 3rd Outright: Caroline Vale and Blake McCormack (Subaru Forester)
Kristy Turnbull and Adrian Turnbull (Subaru WRX)
1st Unplaced 2WD: Katie Fletcher and Andrew Crowley (Toyota Corolla) Most Improved: Kellie Pearce and Bruce McDougall (Daihatsu Charade) Last Placed Finisher: Marlana Butters and Ann-Marie Burgoyne (Toyota Corolla) The event is scheduled to run again on the 26th November 2016. This is the week after the World Rally Championship event in Coffs Harbour. There are rumours that at least one international person will stay in Australia to compete in the event…. An event like this can’t run without the help and support of the community. The BMSC would like to thank Phill and Cath Donohue from PCD Engineering for sponsoring the event; CAMS Development for providing the T-Shirts and promotional material; NSW Rally for providing the doorplates and numbers and providing an incentive to entrants and volunteers. NSW Rally refunded the entry fee of five competitors. They also gave five volunteers a $50 fuel voucher each to say “Thank You” for helping out. Capital Steering and Suspension donated a Perpetual Trophy for the event. The BMSC would also like to thank the dozens of volunteers who worked on the time controls, the radio network or on manned road closures to ensure the event ran smoothly and safely.