Brett’s crack at the Rally title
Thursday, 1st May, 2014
By Ethan James
A second place showing at the SA Rally Championship has given Broken Hill driver Brett Baldwin the motivation to have a crack at a state title.
Baldwin and co-driver Jay Burns finished a mere 15 seconds off top spot in the first leg of the championships at Avondale Station last weekend.
“It was always the plan to contest the five legs of the series but after this result I’m thinking, ‘why not give it a good crack?’,” he said.
The duo’s strong performance was set up by a 20-second margin after the first stage. They went on to record top times in four of the seven stages.
Mitsubishi driver Henry Nott claimed the win with a time of 2:01:33, while last year’s state champion James Rodda finished third.
“(Rodda) actually hit a ‘roo and we were joking afterwards that us locals had something to do with it,” Baldwin laughed.
He and Burns weren’t immune from problems either and had issues with brake calipers.
“There was about a 40km stretch in one stage where we had no brakes at all and then only three functioning breaks for the remainder of the race.
“Plus the back window is about to fall out.”
Despite muddy conditions, Baldwin said the track still allowed him to go full pelt.
“We were hitting 240km per hour on the straights which was quite funny considering the speedo only goes to about 180, so it was going right around again to about 30 or so,” he said.
Locals Matt Andrew (4th), Rob Andrews (6th) and Paul Rook (10th) did well in a field of 17.
“Rob got two flat tyres, so he did well to finish where he did,” Baldwin said.
Three pairs failed to complete the course due to mechanical problems.
It was the first time a leg of the rally had been held in Broken Hill in nine years.
The next leg of the SA Rally Championship takes place in Robertstown, about 50km south of Burra, in July.
“I’ve driven there for about 20 years so I know the roads fairly well and they’re a bit quicker and wider than here,” Baldwin said.