Matthew Selley and Hamish McKendrick emerged victorious at the annual MSS Safety Rally Barossa last weekend following an extended period away from the sport.
The duo outlasted more than 30 other crews to take victory in the third round of the Motorsport Australia South Australian Rally Championship (SARC), edging out Declan and Zoe Dwyer by just under three minutes.
Based at the Parnad Ricard Winery just 80 kilometres north of Adelaide, competitors tackled 13 challenging stages across two days of jam-packed action, showcasing their immense skill and talent alongside some of the best rally crews South Australia has to offer.
The victory didn’t come easy for Selley and McKendrick, who were forced to fight their way back through the field after a handful of eighth place finishes in challenging conditions through the opening stages.
It wasn’t until SS7 when they really made their mark, taking the first of three stage wins across the weekend in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, with the other stage wins coming in SS9 and SS11.
Selley was pleased to take victory in his return to the sport and took pleasure in competing on some of the best roads Australia has to offer.
“It feels terrific to get the win after a bit of an absence from competing,” Selley said.
“It was also the first time we have run the Evo on gravel, so it is very pleasing to get the result.
“Much like everywhere around Australia these couple of weeks, the weather was quite warm, so the dust was diabolical.
“At the start, I was just preserving to get those stages out of the way, but it meant we suffered through that dust and were several minutes behind.
“Sunday it all changed, we could actually see where we were going and we were able to jump a number of positions.
“It was a terrific event, it's very well organised and in such a beautiful part of the world.
“The roads we got to used are roads that have been run in the national round for decades and they are some of the best in the country, we are very privileged.”
A well-deserved second place finish for the Dwyers came off the back of consistent results through all 13 stages, while a pair of stage wins to their name ultimately the difference between themselves and third place runners, David McDonough and Steve Hiser.
Although, it could have been much worse after a mechanical issue in the final stage meant they had to limp home to save the position.
A mixed weekend for Molly Spalding and Guy Tyler saw them finish in fourth, while Daren Herring and Matthew Woods rounded out the top five.
Also taking place simultaneously with the state championship was the competitive South Australian Regularity Series, which saw the battle for round honours go right down to the wire.
The duo of Stephen Barker and Mandy Rudham pipped Emma and Ross Smith right at the line to take the win despite the latter leading throughout most of the nine stages.
Graham Wallis and Richard Davies would round out the top three, finishing ahead of Damian Reed and Ashley Busby-Lyons.