The Jenolan Forest Rally
Just slipped through their fingers!
What started out as a promising day for the BEMW Rally team turned to disappointment, just 15km from completion of the last stage at the first round of the 2009 AMSAG Rally Series held in the forests around Hampton on Saturday April 4th.
Mark and Co-driver Matt Wilson started the event seeded an impressive Car 8 in a field of 50 entries. The BMW E30 325i had been the recipient of some TLC over the Christmas break and both the team and car were ready to make their mark on the 2009 season. The rally got under way at 12:45pm in damp conditions, a result of recent heavy rainfall. The roads in the open sections of the forest were dry but in the protected forest areas the roads were quite muddy and slippery, conditions which certainly favoured the 4WD Subarus and Mitsubishis. Just to add to the challenge – and in true Blue Mountains character – fog started rolling in from about 2:00pm. Visibility was at first reduced to approximately 100 metres, but by the end of the "daylight" stages, visibility was down to just five or six metres in places.
At the meal break service, after seven stages, Mark and Matt had the BMW in 5th place just 10 seconds behind the 4WD Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 of David Hills and Paul Bennett. They were quietly confident that they could pull back the ten second deficit over the remaining two stages to secure 4th outright – a result which would be the team’s best to date and prove that they can mix it with the top runners in modern 4WD cars. By the end of Special Stage 8, the Evo 6 of Hills and Bennett had withdrawn, handing 4th place to the BEMW Team. However, Murphy was waiting in the fog ready to strike just 15kms from the end of the final 38km special stage when the BMW ran out of fuel. It would appear that an impact to the fuel tank on one of the special stages prior to the meal break service had damaged the fuel gauge sender inside the tank, subsequently causing the fuel gauge to jam and mislead the crew to believing 30 litres of fuel remained when they set off to tackle the final two stages.
"Motorsport can be a cruel game!" exclaimed Mark, "and this weekend it was our turn to experience its cruel sense of humour. It was certainly character-building sitting in the forest in the dark, watching all the other competitors come past and realising what had just slipped through our fingers. We'll be learning from the experience and putting measures in place to ensure such an oversight doesn't happen again. We are now looking forward to the Bathurst RSL Rally on the 16th and 17th of May and will be out to make amends!"
Once again Mark, Matt and the BEMW Rally Team would like to thank the businesses that support the team and ask that where possible you support them. You can click on their names to link to their websites:
Sydney Wide European Autos
Quality parts & accessories for European vehicles
A better class of oil for a better class of rally car
Sonax Car Care Products
This is how we scrub up to win our 'Best Presented Car' awards
The Other Dimension
Creative, Marketing & Design
Kumho Motorsport Tyres
Stick with these guys
Photos by Geoff Benson, Bathurst Light Car Club.
For more information on AMSAG and the 2009 AMSAG Rally Series please visit: www.amsag.com.au
The BEMW Team.
Previous Rally Updates:
► Update 1: Manning Valley -
► Update 2: Bega - click here
► Update 3: Canberra - click here
► Update 4: Cowra -
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