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The BEMW Rally Web Update

The Manning Valley Rally - April 22nd 2006

Go to the Downloads page to see the  videos (including in-car footage) from the event.


Above: The BEMW Rally Car - full noise and squatting under the power at the rear

After much anticipation, the British & European Motor Works BMW 325i made its debut at Round One of the NSW State Rally Championship at Taree on April 22nd.

The car was completed with less than 24 hours remaining before it lined up for its maiden event. In fact, the engine was run in on the journey from the workshop to the team’s overnight accommodation in Forster - Mark’s only complaint from the 250km trip being that the ‘sump-guard made a rattling noise’. Most would agree that this is a fairly minor complaint considering the enormous number of modifications the car underwent over the last twelve months…


Above: Mark Callinan - Driver (left) Matt Wilson - Co-driver (right).

The second BEMW team car, Leigh Gotch’s Subaru WRX STi, was also completed on the day prior to the event. Gotch had only acquired the vehicle earlier in the week after upgrading from his non-STi WRX, and needed to perform several minor, but fiddly modifications in preparation for the race.


Above: Leigh Gotch- Driver (left) David Green - Co-driver (right).


Above: Back in the service area - the crew jump into action on both cars.


Above: Leigh's WRX getting  a quick check after the first competitive stage.


Above left: Mark chooses the side with the steering wheel and pedals.
Above right: Mark analyses the data downloaded from the rally car on his laptop, showing the car's performance via the Haltech ECU and digital dashboard.


Above: Sam and Mark finish the car with a couple of labels for the Haltech digital dashboard.


Above: No lack of horsepower!


Above: A rare glimpse of Leigh and Greeny as they shoot past  in the STi WRX.

A support crew of 25 people also made the journey north for the two BEMW cars make their debut. Sam co-ordinated the logistics for the customers, friends, family and technicians who were there, with all enjoying fantastic corporate hospitality and most proudly displaying BEMW team colours. In fact, before the race even began, the BEMW camp was attracting attention with it’s entourage of BMWs, Range Rovers, and Land Rovers… and of course, the glistening black-and-white BMW centrepiece.


Mark & Matt's smiles speak volumes for the day's rally.

In fact, it’s a shame that the day’s championship points couldn’t be decided by appearances alone, because the BEMW car would have won hands-down before it began the first transport stage. The crowd at the driver’s briefing showed more interest in the new BMW contender than any other vehicle – it seemed that the combination of European heritage, stunning custom paint, and a symphony of angry mechanical tones was irresistible to onlookers. But appearances don’t count for everything, so with no prior seeding the cars were placed in 34th (Gotch STi) and 37th (Callinan 325i) in a field of 42 competitors. And with both drivers in unfamiliar vehicles, expectations of performance were mixed. However, both cars and teams performed exceptionally throughout the day, and it wasn’t long before they shot up through the rankings.


Above: Squatting at the rear under almost 700nm of torque.

Under the sublime guidance of ex-WRC navigator David Green, Gotch lifted his position to 16th overall, despite ‘getting intimate with the scenery’ on two separate occasions during the last two stages. With only one spotlight remaining for the last stage, Gotch and Green did exceptionally well to bring the car home in a competitive placing.


Above: As predicted by Mark, set up correctly, the E30 had sublime handling in rally car form  well-balanced, responsive and predictable.

Meanwhile, the BEMW 325i continued to turn heads – and thrill ears with its awesome acoustics. With Callinan driving and Matt Wilson debuting as Navigator, the pair quickly developed a cohesive partnership, keeping the car out of the scenery and on the gravel throughout the 10 stages on their way to a highly impressive 2nd in class – and a 19th outright placing. And that’s against all-wheel-drive turbos. The car ran faultlessly throughout the day, needing only a couple of minor adjustments during servicing (like fixing a squeaking clutch pedal at the first service…). Driver and navigator both described the car as performing exceptionally, despite having what appeared to be ‘too much power’ - the wheels were still spinning even as it changed into fourth gear! Truly impressive engineering. When Mark was asked if there was anything he would change in the car for the next race meet, our trusty mechanic replied, ‘Yeah – the oil.’


Above: Dusty, but without a scratch, the BMW arrived home to the service area after the last stage. The car performed flawlessly all day and night.

Many thanks go to Penrite Oils for ensuring the cars ran as smoothly as possible on the day and Kumho tyres for helping to keep the cars right on track   and last, but not least, to the crew that made it all possible on the day. Thanks guys!


Above: Boasting fresh Sydney Wide European Auto decals, the BEMW Rally Car is prepared for the next run at Bega on 10th June.

As a result of a great run in the Manning Valley Rally and a very positive response to the BEMW Rally Car, we have just had Sydney Wide European Autos (www.swea.com.au) join the team as a sponsor. We thank them for their contributions and look forward to carrying their name with pride for the duration of the State Rally Championship.

If you are interested in joining the team to watch the next event, please contact us. Click here for the rally schedule (our events are highlighted in blue).

Go to the Downloads page to see the  videos (including in-car footage) from the event.

Keep an eye out for the feature article on the BEMW Rally Car in the upcoming  issue of RallySport Magazine!

If you do not wish to receive any further rally updates, please send us an email by clicking here.

Action photos courtesy of www.blacky.com.au

 

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