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The BEMW Rally Web Update No. 2

The Bega Rally - June 11th 2006

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

Above: The BEMW Rally Car - sporting sponsor logos and um, wet dirt.

The British & European Motor Works BMW 325i had its second run at Round 2 of the NSW State Rally Championship at Bega on June 11.

In the early hours of Saturday morning (read: 3am!), the BEMW convoy began its journey south through Goulbourn and on to Bega for Round 2 of the NSW State Rally Championship. A field of over 100 cars turned up for the combined event, with vehicles coming from NSW, ACT, and Victoria to compete. Scrutineering took place in Bega town centre before the team set up headquarters in nearby Tathra.

Above: The BEMW Rally Crew - Mark & Matt in the office.

Above: The BEMW WRX Rally Crew - Leigh & David, last minute checks.

Saturday afternoon provided a rare opportunity for testing on some forest roads, so Mark took several of his service crew for a run in the car. The short, steep track provided plenty of scope for everyone to experience the vehicle’s capabilities first-hand, and all returned with sizable grins on their faces, thoroughly impressed and begging for more.

As the sun set in the west on Saturday afternoon, the rain came in from the east and became constant throughout the night, delivering a very slippery surface for the following day’s racing. Much speculation about track conditions and safety concerns early Sunday morning proved to be wasted, as organisers pledged to continue with the race.

Arrival at the start saw a welcome compatriot/competitor in the form of another E30 BMW 325i. However, the first two stages saw the BEMW 325i make significant ground on its opponent, being nearly 5 minutes quicker over the 1st 3 stages.

Above: The BEMW Rally Car - hooting through that corner.

Above: Mark & Matt doing what they love.

The slippery roads proved extremely challenging for all competitors, with some choosing to withdraw rather than take their chances in the mud and drizzling rain. But both BEMW cars performed strongly throughout the day.

Above: Fortunately not much to be done at service on the BM - car ran beautifully.

Above: The WRX getting some checks at service - it also ran incredibly well.

However, the weather eventually forced the organisers to cancel the final four stages and shorten the fifth stage by seven kilometres. This fourth stage proved particularly slippery, with most cars opting for a crawling pace to simply ensure that they completed the event. A sound strategy, but the three cars sitting in the scrub that the BEMW team passed would suggest that it wasn’t quite enough. Leigh Gotch & David Green in the WRX were holding down an impressive 3rd position in Group N until a spin on this stage cost them approx. 10 seconds. Final analysis of the results showed that they were relegated from 3rd to 4th in class by just 4 seconds.

Above: Gotch & Greenie on the last special stage of the day.

While both BEMW cars made a solid start to the day, Leigh & David in the WRX powered on to an impressive 31st outright placing (in a field of 106 starters), while the  325i suffered a broken diff 3.5km from the finish of the last stage. Mark had made some changes to the rear suspension as well as going to narrower tyres & a softer compound, resulting in a lot more traction from the rear wheels compared to when the car first ran at Taree. Unfortunately this meant the diff soon reached its limits and let go. Mark had been using the smaller E30 diff because of the available 4.45:1 ratio. The car is now fitted with the larger (stronger), 4.10:1 E30 diff. Despite an accompanying mechanical cacophony, the car was still able to be limped to the completion of the stage. Unfortunately the organisers of the event have misplaced the time cards from the last 2 stages for the 325i and the final results for Mark and Matt have not been resolved.

Above: Those narrower Kumhos on the  BEMW Rally Car really improved grip.

While the Callinan/Wilson partnership in the 325i performed solidly throughout the 5 stages, BEMW team honours of the weekend certainly went to the Gotch and Green camp with the WRX STI finishing just 4 seconds off third place in its category.

Above: A sweet corner, Mark throws the car sideways nicely for a smooth exit.

However, the greatest victory of the weekend was not on the track, with Leigh using Sunday night’s team meeting to propose to his entirely unsuspecting girlfriend. A very surprised, but delighted Amy gave a teary 'yes', and the champagne flowed from the winner’s podium (read: balcony) for the rest of the night. We wish them every success, and look forward to seeing the bubbly come out for the BEMW team again in the future… although next time for different reasons.

Above: Leigh down on one knee, Amy over the moon.

Many thanks for the weekend are due to the dedicated crew of people who gave their time so generously to come and support the team. Most notably BEMW would like to thank Vince, our team’s head mechanic, for bringing his service truck and wealth of expertise to the event once again. BEMW would also like to thank its sponsors, Sydney Wide European Autos, Penrite Oil Company, Bathurst Truck Tyre Centre, The Australian Wool Network and Kuhmo Tyres for their support.

If you are interested in joining the team to watch one of the rally events, please contact us.

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

Our BEMW Rally Car has a  feature article on it in the current issue of RallySport Magazine! Check it out in any good newsagency... or click here to see the article.

To see the previous BEMW Rally Update (Taree), click here.

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

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