Brendan Reeves has claimed his second consecutive Till US Pickups Motorsport Australia Victorian Rally Championship (VRC) round victory after taking out the state component of The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally.
Behind the wheel of the Datsun P510 with international star co-driver Alex Gelsomino calling the notes, Reeves ended up enjoying a 45 second victory over Danny Traverso and Anthony Carr.
With the VRC sharing the spotlight alongside the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) at the Gippsland-based rally, the 28 entered crews contested eight stages across Saturday’s competition, totalling more than 120 competitive kilometres.
Reeves and Gelsomino went on to win three of those eight stages in addition to finishing in the top three for the remaining five, as they eventually claimed the lead on the sixth stage and never looked back thereafter.
Up until that point though, Justin Dowel was the driver to beat after he and Tracey Dewhurst steered their Mitsubishi Mirage G4 to three stage wins and a lead of 12 seconds.
Unfortunately for Dowel and Dewhurst, the Mirage suffered brake failure on the day’s sixth stage – forcing him to limp to the stage’s finish in 23rd and drop down the sixth, elevating Reeves and Gelsomino to the lead.
Although Dowel was able to get the issue fixed and win the event’s final two stages, he could only get as high as fourth, as the third placed Warren Lee and David Leathlean finished one minute and 20 seconds ahead.
Dowel would at least come away with the Heat 1 win, while Reeves went on to win the second heat by one second over Traverso in an entertaining battle.
"It was a bit of a surprise to win as we had a five month break between rallies, but we put in a lot of effort into prep which certainly helped," Reeves said.
"Having Alex in the car was fantastic and putting that combination together really made the difference.
"It was a very mixed rally - most people think it was sunny and dry, but there was a lot of fog on the mountains and it was slippery, so it was a great challenge.
"In events like these, you have to push hard from the start and not look back. You can't make up for lost time if you get a puncture or other issues, so we focused on pushing hard at the start.
"On the opening three stages, there was very little between us and Justin, but he got his big chunk of time on us during SS4 before having his issues.
"The day was pretty cruisy for us, we wanted to have fun, and we only won heat two by one second which made it interesting, but we were just focused on getting to the end.
"Nice to get the extra points and now we are in the lead in the championship, so overall we had a good weekend."
View the full results here.
The fourth round of the VRC also saw its fair share of drama across the day as six of the 28 crews did not finish the event including Brad Till and Miitch Garrad, who withdrew after four stages.
Tim and Leonie Clark were also another high-profile team to have issues as they were highly competitive across the whole event, but were 37 minutes late to SS4, eventually missing a Time Control – forcing them out of contention.
The next round of the Till US Pickups Motorsport Australia Victorian Rally Championship will be the Ballarat Supatilt Valley Stages in Ballarat on 23 September.