Sunraysia Safari delivers exciting Wentworth takeover

Tuesday 12 September, 2023
Photos: Simon Pradhan
One of Australia’s largest rally event returned last weekend with the 2023 Local Legends Sunraysia Safari.

Taking over the Wentworth region of Outback NSW, the event spanned four days and covered more than 1200 kilometres of competitive distance, as more than 72 teams took part in the event’s Auto and Moto divisions.

While both divisions were highly competitive, it was Tony Quinn and Jacob Smith who topped the Auto and Moto competitions, respectively.

Quinn and co-driver John Doble outpaced the 27 other 27 with an outstanding time of 10:07:12, finishing more than 12 seconds ahead of runners-up Todd Smith and Christopher Holman.

While Quinn and Doble held onto the lead for most of the event, Smith and Holman were hot on their trail right throughout, with gaps as small as a second separating the two teams on day four.

230912_quinnsafari2Day one even saw the runners-up achieve a time faster than the winner, making for a consistently exhilarating battle at the front of the pack.

Despite their wins it wasn’t all smooth sailing as neither were the fastest at the start of the event, with times almost four seconds slower than last year’s runners-up Andrew and David Travis.

The Davis duo got off to a roaring start at this year’s event, set to match and even improve upon their second-place finish in 2022. But a rough run on day two and DNFs on days three and four saw the team finish in 25th, unable to live up to the brilliant standard they’d set at last year’s event.

As well as the outright winners, the event also saw a number of teams and solo competitors take home class wins.

230912_travissafariIn the Auto division, this included Ethan and Lisi Pickstock in the Recreational Vehicles & Light Commercials category, Lance Rippon, Paul Loughnan and Morgan Cornelius for Vehicles 3501cc and Over, and Richard and Andrew McNay for Modified 2WD Vehicles 3501cc and Over.

Quinn and Doble, and Ed Mulligan and Mark Bramble, also won their A5 classes, while Robert and Sophie Cox were best in the Utility Terrain Vehicles Side by Side class.

For Classic Safari Cars, it was Murray Rogers and Darren Wythe, as well as Jamie Lawson and Darryl O’Brien who took home the win in the Rally category.
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