Big V8s Not Left Out in Queensland Rally Attack

Australian Rally Championship ----------------------------------------------------------- BIG V8s NOT LEFT OUT IN QLD RALLY ATTACK The Falken Tyres Rally Queensland arrives on the Sunshine Coast this coming weekend...

Australian Rally Championship -----------------------------------------------------------


The Falken Tyres Rally Queensland arrives on the Sunshine Coast this coming weekend with some stirring rally action. While the spot light will shine on the 4WD turbocharged World Rally Championship cars of Possum Bourne and Neal Bates, there are a few 'Aussie cars' in the field, sure to bring the crowds to their feet and in true Aussie fashion, the battle of the 'supercars' will be fought out by V8 engined Fords and Holdens.

In the Ford corner is the former 2WD Australian champion from South Australia, Steve Winwood and his brand new Falcon AU XR8. Winwood is keen to register some major points.

"I am really hungry for a win right now," says a confident Winwood. "The Falken Tyres Rally is suited to my new AU XR8 Falcon and I plan to drive hard and fast. I believe that I can take out both heat wins with this plan. Last year I had an incredible event winning my class by over three minutes in each heat and even managed to take a sixth outright stage time at night."

Following the first round of the Australian Rally Championship at Coffs Harbour, Winwood's Tickford XR8 Falcon was shipped straight to Brisbane where Ford Dealer, Southside Ford and their top technicians have been preparing the car. Canberra based Lyndall Drake will again call the pace notes after doing an excellent job in her debut with the team in the wet and demanding conditions of Coffs Harbour.

While Winwood is recognised as having been 'the' Falcon driver of the ARC Super Series, with a number of 'XR' models over the years, it is a Queenslander who may lay claim to having competed in more events than Steve ever has in just the one Ford.

Viv Gees, from Maryborough, has for many years thrilled the crowds in his 'giant' XA Tudor Ford Falcon hardtop - a bright red version of Ford's 'super car' of the seventies. The 351 cu in V8-powered monster is not really the sort of car one expects to fit between trees, let alone be a competitive rally car, but Viv and co-driver Brad Wedlock, are past big-car class winners in the Queensland Championship. They are also very proud of the fact that they have not missed a Championship rally for many, many years.

While this Falcon may not win the 'high technology' stakes, the sheer horsepower available and Viv's bravery have often shown a clean pair of heels to the opposition. As a local hero, Viv is proud to compete with the hometown support of Maryborough.

The Ford camp is further strengthened with the Falcon EL XR6 of the Victorian / New South Wales crew of Andrew Murdoch and Stella Plenderleith and the more diminutive Ford Laser TX3 of Allen Jones and Andrew Crawford. The oldest car in the field may be the Ford Cortina of Neil Moxey and Peter Gerathy.

Challenging the might and numbers of the Ford entries is a lone V8 Commodore of Byron Bay's Ed Mulligan and Canberra's Fred Gocentas. The veteran pairing have arguably competed in more events than the rest of the field but remain ultra competitive and Mulligan is renown for his spectacular driving of the big V8.

The Holden camp also enjoys the entries of a number of Geminis. The smaller Holdens have been a starting point for many Queensland rally crews in recent years. Gavin Mosher / Simon Parker, Peter Menzies / Stephen Kennedy and Brent Armitage / Peter Chatburn will campaign the now elderly Holden Geminis but the car's age will not stop some spirited driving!

The battle of the 'big' cars however will become a major talking point in the Falken Tyres Rally of Queensland!

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Neal Bates , Peter Gerathy , Fred Gocentas