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Caves Classic 2020

Sullens wins Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally by 2.1 seconds

By Caves Classic 2020, Rally

In one of the closest finishes in the history of the NSW State Rally Championship, Citroen driver Tony Sullens and co-driver Kaylie Newell have emerged victorious from a day long fight where the lead changed several times.

The second round of the MTA NSW State Rally championship set out from Oberon under bright and sunny skies and the competition was on from the start. The first ten cars on the road comprised Mitsubishi Evos of Clarke (now with stand in co-driver Jim Gleeson after Ryan Preston was restricted to Queensland),  Joass, Giddins and Moore, Sullens in the Citroen DS3RT, the Audio Quattro of Keough, Travis in his new look Gazelle, the Penny Subaru, Griffins Toyota Corolla and Quinny, a young bloke in an old car!

The rally comprised 9 stages and ran the first 5 before service, and then a re-run of the previous 4.

SS 1 ‘Lowes Mount’ saw the Keough Audi just edge out the Clarke Evo that was running first on the road. It looked like Penny would grab third, but starting in position #23, the McAloon Escort stormed through on the improving roads to grab third. The Neale Honda left the road mid stage and was beached until recovered and started Heat 2 in the afternoon.

SS 2 ‘Roberts’ was a magic open stage on fast and dusty roads but luckily the winds had picked up. Clarke was fastest followed from Keough and Penny, separated by 9 seconds. Sullens had started as second car on the road and was struggling for grip on the long uphills.

SS3 ‘Essington’ was a longer 18km stage as the field headed south towards Black Springs. Clarke again fasted, this time 17 seconds quicker than Sullens improving Citroen and again the McAloon Escort taking third only 1.5 seconds behind. Both Penny and Griffin lost time with mechanical issues.

SS 4 ‘Bemerang’ was the longest stage of the event at 20kms. Clarke was absent from the front of the field and came through after four cars and dropped 18 seconds to the leaders. The Moore Evo was handling much better after a mid week wheel alignment and brake pad compound change and after sitting inside the top ten so far, took fastest on this stage by 8 seconds from the Keough Audi and Sullens Citroen a further 7 seconds back. Further down the field the Neill Hyundai left the road at the 17km mark but the crew were OK.

SS 5 ‘Staceys’ was a shorter 9km stage and again Moore took fastest from Keough by just 1 second and the Quinn Mazda RX2 getting third, 4 seconds back.

At the service break Clarke still had a 17 second lead from Keough due to his better speed in the first few tests. Moore was third, 34 seconds from the lead and was the surprise of the morning loop. Sullens was just behind in fourth, 36 seconds from the lead, battling the loose gravel as second car on the road. Quinn was still in the mix and while setting times inside the top ten just didn’t have the top speed on the faster sections to keep up with the leaders. Joass, Giddins and Cullen all were going well, Travis in the Gazelle was sitting in ninth and youngster Gill rounding the top ten in his Subaru.

SS 6 ‘Roberts 2’ saw Sullens make his move. Now on better roads than had been cleaned from the morning pass, he went quickest from Clarke and Keough, but all three separated by just 2.6 seconds!

SS 7 ‘Essington 2’ was the stage that most impacted the event. Sullens again quickest, this time 14 seconds from Keough and Penny, who had rejoined after the service, was third. Clarke struck trouble and finished the stage but dropped 38 seconds to Sullens. The leader board changed yet again and now the Keough Audi was leading outright by 3 seconds from Sullens and Clarke now dropping to third a further 4 seconds back.

SS 8 ‘Bemerang 2’ and Clarke, battling with an ill car that looked very wrong at the back end, struck back to take the stage win over Sullens by 5 seconds. Keough only 0.4 seconds in third. The fight was going down to the last stage with outright placings Keough, Clarke and Sullens separated by now just 2.7 seconds. A Quattro, from an Evo, and a Citroen FWD – what a rally!

SS 9 ‘Staceys 2’ and was an all or nothing stage for Sullens. For the front running cars the stage would run just on sunset, for those further back it would be in full darkness. Before the rally started Sullens said it was maximum attack and now must have had his eyes on the #1 spot. The stage is mainly flat with fast open sections and humps and Sullens stopped the clock with a stage time of 5.17. What could Keough and Clarke do? Try as he might Keough roared the Audi through in a time of 5.22 and Clarke in the Evo recorded 5.30.

Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell in their Citroen DS3RT had won the rally by 2.1 seconds.

Keough in the Audio Quattro second, Clarke’s Mitsubishi EVO 11 seconds back in third. Moore’s great morning loop was enough for fourth, dropping from third at the service after having a ‘moment’ on the slippery section in Bemerang, striking a rock and losing brakes for the last stage. Quinn had run as fast as he could but the lack of top end speed limited his run to fifth. It was good to see his co driver Ray Winwood Smith back in the car after a serious back injury at Bulahdelah. He completed the event still wearing his back brace. Joass, Giddins, Cullen, Jacques finished in sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth in the Mitsubishi Evos. Rounding out the top ten was Taylor Gill in his Subaru WRX.

The event was a great success and full credit to the North Shore Sporting Car Club officials and volunteers for managing to stage the rally amid the current Covid restrictions. You could see the smiles on faces, everyone happy to be back in the forest again.

The next round of the MTA NSW Rally Championship takes place on the Monaro Stages on the last weekend of October.

Moynihan Swaps Seats for Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally

By Caves Classic 2020, News, Rally
Moynihan in action at the Bulahdelah Rally. PHOTO: Gravel Pics

Eoin Moynihan is well known in rallying circles as the affable co-driver for Tom Demody. Dermody and Moynihan were the winners of the inaugural East Coast Classic Rally Series in 2018 in a Mk2 RS1800 Ford Escort.

However, whilst Moynihan may be experienced in calling the notes from the passenger side, he has also sat in the opposite seat, and back in 2014 and 2015 drove a Toyota Sprinter in a number of events.

On a few return trips to his Irish homeland, Moynihan competed as a driver in several rallies in a Mk 2 Classic Escort, built by his uncle. That car was recently imported into Australia and now Moynihan has entered it in the Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally.

“The Escort arrived in Australia in June,” Moynihan said. “We drove it at the Bulahdelah rally a few months ago, and the Caves Classic Rally is the first opportunity we’ve had to enter another event.”

“It’s a proper classic Escort rally car, with a BDG engine and ZF five speed and I can’t wait to have another drive of it.”

“I’ve actually driven in a rally up in the Black Springs area a few years ago in my Sprinter, and of course I’ve co-driven for Tom in a few previous Caves Classic rallies, so I know the area fairly well and I’m really looking forward to see the new roads that North Shore Sporting Car Club have included for this year,” Moynihan added.

The Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally is not the last event in 2020 that we will see Moynihan and co-driver John Brophy in the 1978 model Escort. They will back up their visit to the Oberon Forests with a trip to the Monaro Stages rally later in October.

“Tom and I were originally planning on doing the Monaro Stages in his Escort, but he’s since pulled it apart and decided not to do any more rallies in 2020. So, I’ve taken over his entry and we’ll hopefully do really well down on those roads,” Moynihan said.

But the partnership with Dermody is not over for 2020, with the pair planning on entering the Tarmac Adelaide Rally in November.

“As you might know, Tom now also has a Mk1 Escort and we are planning on entering the Adelaide Rally. This will be something new for us, but I’m really looking forward to trying out some tarmac rallying and I’ve heard a lot of good things about the event, so it should be a lot of fun,” concluded Moynihan.

The Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally will get underway on the 10th of October, starting in the Hoosier Service Park at the Oberon Rugby Leagues Football Club grounds at 11am.

Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally on track for 10th of October

By Caves Classic 2020, News, Rally

In just over two weeks, the Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally is set for some intense competition in both the MTA NSW Rally Championship and also the East Coast Classic Rally Series.

With 37 entries received to date, North Shore Sporting Car Club (NSSCC) are expecting a rush of entries over the next few weeks in the lead up to the second big rally in NSW since the COVID-19 Pandemic led to many event cancellations and postponements.

After successfully running the first round of the MTA NSW Series in July, NSSCC will be using the expertise gained in running a COVID safe event and applying it to the Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally.

“This is the first rally in NSW organised since restrictions were tightened following the second wave of the virus” said Jon Thomson, Event Director. “We could have easily just cancelled our event and waited until next year, but we felt we owed it to the rally community to get an event up and running as soon as we could.”

The event was originally planned to be conducted on the weekend of the 5th of September, however further restrictions were introduced by the NSW government and the event was postponed to the 10th of October.

“Since moving the date of the event, Oberon has had storms, rain and a massive dump of snow. Overall the roads are in fantastic condition and we think the drivers and co-drivers are going to love the new roads we’ve chosen in the Beemerang and Roberts State Forests”, Thomson added.

Tom Clarke in the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO at the 2019 Caves Classic Rally

The Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally will also be a round of the NSW Clubman Rally Series and this event will also be their second rally for 2020 after several cancellations of other events.

“With so much turmoil in the country from the virus pandemic, it’ll be great to see rally cars back in the Forest again. We’ve been putting a lot of effort into making sure this event is a success and we’re sure that it won’t disappoint”, Thomson concluded.

A fantastic range of businesses are putting their support behind the event, led by naming rights partner, Midstate Freight. A range of other partners are supporting individual stages and providing accommodation for officials. Hoosier will be the naming rights partner for the Service Park and our Club Partners: Shannons, GFB, Whiteline and Shamrock Haulage are all involved in the event. Lazer Lighting will be providing a lighting package as a prize for one lucky team who finish the event in the dark.

The event will start at 11am on Saturday the 10th of October at the Oberon Rugby Leagues Football Club.

Unseeded entries received as of 25th September:

Bethany Cullen / Mel Mcminn – Mitsubishi Evo 6.5 2000
Justin Griffin / Mathew Critchlow – Toyota Corolla 2002
Sean Mc Aloon / Muireann Hayes – Ford Escort 1979
Taylor Gill / Peter Harris / Dallas Gill – Subaru Wrx 1999
Alexander Neill / Joshua Neill – Hyundai Excel 1997
Tony Jordan / Richard Davidson – Triumph Stag 1974
Matthew Ruggles / Guy Ruggles – Triumph Tr7 V8 1980
Eoin Moynihan / John Brophy – Ford Escort 1978
Andrew Travis / David Travis – Nissan Gazelle 1984
Chris Giddins / Katie Giddins – Mitsubishi Evo Ix 2003
Chris Fitzgerald / Corey Bryant – Subaru Impreza 2000
Jamie Neale / Tommi Flegl – Honda Civic 1999
Sid Sparkes / Paul Fletcher – Datsun 1600 1971
Benjamin Vanzyl / Nadine Bucher – Hyundai Excel 1998
Tony Sullens / Kaylie Newell – Citroen Ds3 2012
Andrew Penny / Rhys Llewellyn – Subaru Wrx 1995
Robert Gorst / Wesley Gorst – Datsun P510 1971
Peter Thompson / Ken Hind – Toyota Ra 23 Celica 1976
Mal Keough / Andrew (Pip) Bennett – Audi Quattro S1 E2 Replica 1985
Tim Joass / Peter Joass – Mitsubishi Evo 2 1994
Evan Bollard / Phillip Bonser – Mazda Rx2 1972
P.j. O’keeffe / Tba Tba – Ford Escort 1978
Jake Bramble / Josh Love – Datsun 1600 1969
Riley Walters / Jeffery Williamson – Subaru Wrx 2007
Michael Stewart / Matthew Portus – Subaru Wrx Sti 1997
Terry Gunter / Stephen Newell – Ford Escort Mk2 1975
Phillip Chisholm / Peter Stringfellow – Nissan Skyline 1988
Ron Moore / Jo Moore – Mitsubishi Evolution Vi 1998
Edward Mulligan / Robert Males – Ford Escort 1978
Tom Clarke / Jim Gleeson – Mitsubishi Evo 9 2003
Chris Jaques / Hugh Taylor – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 2001
Michael Curtin / Pierce Lennon – Datsun 1600 1972
Nathan Quinn / Ray Winwood-Smith – Mazda Rx2 1970
Declan Foley / Ken Murphy – Volkswagon Golf 1996
Brian O Neill / Mac Kierans – Ford Mk 11 1979
Ron Mckinnon / Steve Mckinnon – Mitsubishi L A Lancer 1976
Joe Chapman / Adrian Grabham – Subaru Wrx 1997

Partners Support Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally

By Caves Classic 2020

North Shore Sporting Car Club today formally announced a range of partners for the Caves Classic Rally to be conducted on the 5th of September. The event is Round 2 of the Motor Traders Association of NSW Rally Championship.

Midstate Freight will be the naming rights partner and business owners Ray and Michael Winwood-Smith think that the event is a perfect partnership for their Bathurst based company.

“We are stoked to be involved in the rally” said Ray Winwood-Smith. “The event uses some of the best roads in the country and I for one can’t wait to see rally cars back in some forests that haven’t been used in years.”

“Our business is based close by in Bathurst, so the rally is the perfect opportunity for us to get involved. We provide local, national and international express freight services to central-west NSW, so the rally is right in the middle of our customer base” added Winwood-Smith.

Lazer High Performance lighting has also given their support to the event and will provide a rally light package as a prize. Former rally competitor and Lazer Lighting Regional Manager, Kirk Marks is looking forward to the two night stages on offer.

“Our brand works perfectly with a rally that has night stages” Marks said. “Because we manufacture and sell rally lights, the Caves Classic Rally is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our range of lights. I’m also really looking forward to giving away some of our product at the podium” Marks added.

Several other brands and businesses have put their support behind the event including Hoosier Tires Australia who will be the Service Park Partner.

The nine special stages will be supported by Shamrock Haulage, SSS Automotive, SW Motorsport, Premier Pools, Premier Panel Beating and Specialised Brake and Clutch Service Penrith.

The Big Trout Motor Inn, Titania Motel, Royal Hotel, Jenolan Holiday Park and Hathaway Accommodation are also supporting the event with accommodation and rally teams are encouraged to use the official accommodation providers and mention the event when booking.

The rally will be based out of the NSW town of Oberon with the Hoosier Service park located at the Oberon Rugby League Football Club.

Accommodation Partners Announced

By Caves Classic 2020, News

Several leading Accommodation facilities in Oberon have joined the Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally as Partners. These Partners are getting ready for the weekend of the 5th of September with deals available for Rally Teams and Officials.

Hathaway Accommodation
Contact Vicki on 0408 228 846 to book

Hathaway has 13 Rooms all with ensuite and 3 communal Kitchens. Queen Deluxe Rooms are $125 per night and King Single Rooms are $115 per night.

Hawkes Rest

Contact Vicki on 0408 228 846 to book special rally rates
Hawkes Rest is a 4 bedroom house in Oberon with 4 Queen beds and 2 Single Beds. 4 nights is $1,000 (normally $1800) or 2 nights is $700 (normally $930).

Big Trout Motor Inn

Contact Pav and Chandra Ratnan on 0428 714 236
The Big Trout Motor Inn is in the township of Oberon, with 33 ground floor units, there are facilities to suit everyone. Two units in the complex also have luxurious spa baths

Titania Motel

Contact Brad Gorrell on 02 6336 1377
The Titania Motel is situated close to Oberon Town Centre and has a fully licensed restaurant offering both Indian and Australian meals. Rally guests are welcome and are well catered for.

Royal Hotel

Contact Amber on 02 6336 1011
Accommodation is comfortable and simply styled to create an inviting country feel.  The Hotel itself is conveniently located in the centre of Oberon

Jenolan Holiday Park

Book and pay online. Jenolan Holiday Park offers a range of accommodation in Oberon to suit rally groups and families. Relax in the peaceful environment and enjoy the modern facilities