Roe masters Mt Baw Baw Sprint

February 22, 2016

Bendigo Tyre Centre customer and tarmac rally rookie Alan Roe has announced his arrival in the sport with a definitive outright win in the Mt Baw Baw Sprint, the first round of the 2016 Australian Tarmac Rally Championship.

In only his second tarmac event, and the first with co-driver Michael Lloyd, Roe (2000 Lancer Evo 6.5 equipped with BRAID 17×9 Fullrace Monobloc wheels from Bendigo Tyre Centre) came home two minutes and 17 seconds ahead of Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penney (1985 Mazda RX7). Ben Calder and Steve Glenney (2000 Lancer Evo 6.5) finished third, a further one minute and 24 seconds behind.

While Roe has a background in gravel rallying at state and national level, Calder was contesting only his fifth motorsport event ever. Both he and Roe credit the expertise of professional race and rally driver and driver trainer, Steve Glenney, in guiding their progress.

“The aim for the weekend was to have fun, go fast and keep the car tidy, so we’re very pleased with the result,” said Roe, who owns a car service business in his hometown of Shepparton, north-east of Melbourne.

“It was a bit of a shakedown for us, to see how we’d go together, but we worked really well in the car and I’m certainly keen to come back and do more of these events. We really enjoyed it.”

Second-placed Kaplan, from Hunters Hill in Sydney, admitted his aim for the weekend had been to win, but he was quick to acknowledge Roe’s efforts.

“It was an awesome result for us, but he did a great job. Nothing went wrong for us except maybe I should have been quicker in the damp conditions on Saturday. The simple truth is that someone else went faster than me all weekend!

“I have to say Aleshia was excellent. It was only her third rally and her first with me, and she proved to be unflappable in the car. I will be back for Lake Mountain and I’ll be trying to win that one!”

Ben Calder, from the Adelaide suburb of Hyde Park, was quick to acknowledge his co-driver, Steve Glenney, for the podium finish.

“It’s a fantastic result for me. The secret plan for the weekend was to absorb as much experience from Steve as I could, so I can continue learning the sport.

“This is my fifth event. I don’t have a background in circuit racing or gravel rallying. The plan is to keep progressing, go faster and stay safe, but I definitely want to do a few more of these. It was a lot of fun.”

In the classic category, father and son Keith and Alex Morling (1976 Ford Escort Mk2) from Tonimbuk east of Melbourne, grabbed the bragging rights ahead of defending champions Laurie Burton and Russell Hannah (1976 Datsun 260Z) from Canberra. Sandy Bowman and Daniel Hardman (1973 Ford Escort) of Melbourne finished third.

Last year’s outright championship winners, Craig Dean and Emma Quigley (2015 Ford Mustang) posted some very quick times in the drier conditions on Sunday, after Saturday’s foggy runs, but couldn’t make up the time they lost with mechanical issues on Day One. They had to be satisfied with 20th outright.

The Mt Baw Baw Sprint utilised the access road from Icy Creek to the top of Mt Baw Baw, 120km east of Melbourne. It features 214 corners in each direction and was divided into 17 individual special stages, up and down, for a total of 220km of competition. The final stage was a 28.7km ‘blast’ over the full distance, from Icy Creek to the village.

The next round in the series is the Lake Mountain Sprint near Marysville in the Yarra Ranges National Park over the weekend of May 28-29.