Lo­cals hit the rally road

Race has four Coffs Coast cars

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - SPORT - Brad Green­shields brad.green­shields@coff­s­coas­tad­vo­cate.com.au

AMONG the 78 driv­ers rac­ing around the Coffs Coast in the Ken­nards Hire Rally Aus­tralia will be four lo­cals test­ing their skills against the world’s best.

Rally fans will be able to give out a loud cheer or whis­tle when they see cars num­bered 68, 81, 93 and 123 go fly­ing past.

Long-time rally en­thu­si­ast Bruce McDougall and co-driver Kel­lie Pearce will sport num­ber 123 on their Dai­hatsu Cha­rade.

Vet­eran Mal Keough will drive a Dat­sun 1600, with Pip Ben­nett call­ing out the notes in car num­ber 93.

The 2004 Subaru RS Im­preza driven by Wool­go­olga’s Mark Beard will be num­ber 81 while Nathan Quinn and co-driver Ben Searcy will have 68 fea­tured on the Coffs Coast Rally Team’s Mit­subishi Lancer Evo IX.

Be­ing close to home, driv­ing on roads he knows so well holds pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives for Beard.

When the Wool­go­olga Ser­vice Cen­tre owner hits the fa­mil­iar roads on Fri­day, he’ll be try­ing to for­get how well he knows them.

“I no­ticed a cou­ple of years ago that my co-driver was read­ing the notes but I was mem­o­ris­ing the road and when we came out of the stage my co-driver ac­tu­ally asked me if he did some­thing wrong be­cause the times weren’t as good as what we thought,” Beard said.

“In the sec­ond pass­ing I re­ally con­cen­trated on my notes rather than the road and I was a lot quicker so it can have ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages driv­ing so close to home.”

That’s great news for co-driver Scott Beck­with, who’s call­ing out the pace notes.

With less than 12km of the 2016 Rally Aus­tralia re­main­ing, Beard was in 19th po­si­tion over­all, the fifth Aus­tralian, when a fuel pump is­sue stopped him from reach­ing the fin­ish line.

Back again in the only four-wheel-drive non-turbo charged car in the field, Beard’s hop­ing for a sim­i­lar per­for­mance de­spite giv­ing up about 150kW and prob­a­bly 40–50km/h to the WRC and ARC con­tenders.

“We’re down on speed but we’ll just keep it go­ing with mo­men­tum and re­li­a­bil­ity,” he said.

READY TO GO: Wool­go­olga driver Mark Beard and his Subaru RS Im­preza will fea­ture in the Ken­nards Hire Rally Aus­tralia.

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