Motorsport Safety & Rescue - November 2011 report

Motorsport Safety & Rescue have continued their busy 2011 season with crews working at five major rallies over the past six weeks.

In mid-October two crews attended the Victorian Rally Championship round, the Akademos Rally, in north east Victoria. The event was won by the Honda Civic of Eli Evans, with no major incidents throughout the one day rally.

Another trouble-free event was the Bago Rally, a round of the AMSAG series in New South Wales. One MSR crew attended the event.

At the start of November the three-day Targa High Country was held on Mt Buller, with 150 cars contesting the tarmac roads in round two of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship.

Eight MSR crews worked on the event, as well as using an incident controller in event headquarters. There was only one significant crash, with both competitors transported to hospital. Both received only minor injuries.

This was the second running of Targa High Country, and the Lamborghini of Jason and John White took a narrow victory, despite their brand new car catching fire on the final stage and literally finishing the event with flames engulfing the rear of the car. The damage to the rear of the car was significant, but they still managed to take the win.

The following weekend it was back to gravel rallying for the final round of the Australian Rally Championship. Rally Victoria was held in the Warragul / Neerim region on November 11 and 12, and saw a great battle for the ARC title between Ryan Smart (Toyota) and Justin Dowel (Mitsubishi).

After a hard fought event, it was Dowel who came out on top to claim his first national title.

Four MSR crews covered the event on the shorter first day, while six crews were in attendance during day two. There were no major incidents, and the event ran well, proving to be a fitting end of the Australian Rally Championship for 2011.

On the last weekend in November, “Australia’s biggest club rally” took place in Lakes Entrance, in Victoria. The bi-annual Alpine Rally never fails to attract a capacity field, and this year was no different, with 120 cars competing in the three day-event.

Heavy rain made conditions treacherous and saw the cancellation of eight of the 24 stages, but this didn’t stop the domination of two-time Australian Champion, Geoff Portman, who drove his Ford Escort RS1800 to a convincing win.

In the difficult conditions, numerous competitors ended up off the road or upside down, but no injuries resulted, giving the three MSR crews a relatively easy weekend.

MSR’s final event for the year is the international Mark Webber Challenge, being held over five days around the eastern and southern areas of Tasmania.

Three medial crews and two water safety crews will work on this multi-discipline event, which attracts worldwide media coverage, and a range of high profile sportsman.

After a break for Christmas and New Year, the MSR season gets underway in 2012 with Targa Wrest Point on the final weekend in January. The event will be held around Hobart in Tasmania’s south, and is round three of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship.

The gravel season gets underway in March with the first round of the Australian Rally Championship, the brand new Rally Calder.