Woolgoolga’s Mark Beard made the long trip down to Bathurst to compete in the Techworkz Development Rally Series Bathurst 200 Rally at the end of September. Teaming with his Sydney based regular co-driver Jim Gleeson, the pair finished a fine 2nd outright in the rally in their BP Wooolgoolga Service Centre Subaru Impreza RS.
The day dawned overcast and cold at the Sunny Corner Forest with crews hoping the rain would hold off despite the light drizzle passing through. The first stage was the aptly named Mt Horrible and at a touch over 17kms was a real drivers stage for the brave. A cautious start on the very slippery loose gravel saw the crew only running 15th fastest of the 42 crews. From here it was back to the Sunny Corner forest roads with 2 loops of 4 stages with a couple of service breaks thrown in. The next 2 forest stages of Wattle Creek (14km) and Stringybark (12km) saw Beard pick up the pace a bit to record 6th outright on both stages.
At service following the first three stages all was good and only fuel was required. Unfortunately, this refuelling was totally forgotten and a mad dash had to be made back to the Service Park to refuel! Luckily this service was during a transport stage and not a time control book in one!! Anyway, the crew were now running 9th outright after 3 stages and more importantly were refuelled!!
Stages 4 and 5, Turpins and Bob’s Creek both around 13km, both ran without incident though a large kangaroo did try and come along for the ride. The pace was quicker here though and the crew recorded a 3rd and 2nd fastest time to arrive at the mid rally service in 4th outright. Again no problems, just a quick checkover and remember to fuel this time and the crew were out again for a rerun of Wattle Creek and Stringybark. By now Beard had a good result firmly in his grip and had the bit between his teeth. Across the rerun of these 2 stages Beard was fastest crew on both of them and entered the last service in 2nd outright.
Again the service was just a quick look over, made even quicker by a very tight regrouping by the organisers. The final 2 stages were a rerun of Turpins and Bob’s Creek about 26km in total. The pace was on again and Beard managed an =1st on Turpins with the event winner Peter Neal and 2nd on Bob’s Creek. This meant Beard/Gleeson had finished the Bathurst 200 Rally in 2nd outright. The result was an absolute credit to the technicians at BP Woolgoolga Service Centre who had prepared a car that just ran faultlessly. Co-driver Jim Gleeson also spoke to RallyNSW media about how impressed he was with Mark’s driving in Bathurst on the back of a great 4th outright result in Rally Australia & 1st in P5 class two weeks earlier. The team would like to thank all the officials for a brilliant event.
The BP Woolgoolga Service Centre and Subway team have officially retired their Subaru RS Impreza from the Australian Rally Championship and look forward to competing in both the NSW Rally Championship and Development Rally Series in 2016. Beard commented that “the cost to do the ARC has risen dramatically; it comes down to bang for your buck and the NSW Rally Championship and DRS offers more kilometres of driving in a day at a quarter of the price. The roads at Bathurst and Batemans Bay this year were sensational. All the people involved in running the NSWRC and DRS do a sensational job, from the Rally Panel to Rally NSW with the Facebook promotion. It doesn’t get better than that.”