The 2009 Classic Adelaide Rally was held November 18-22 over approximately 1000 kilometres throughout South Australia, with natives Kevin Weeks and Bec Crunkhorn winning their third straight Classic Adelaide tarmac rally.
The pair crossed the finish line after an almost trouble-free run over four days of competition, needing only to adjust the speed of their 1974 Porsche 911RS to keep comfortably ahead of the opposition. They won by almost one minute and 40 seconds.
This year’s event sadly experienced a tragedy with the loss of Gary Tierney and co-driver David Carra that were killed on Day One of the rally. While competitors and organizers decided to continue the rally, Tierney and Carra were remembered the following day with a prayer and a minute’s silence by rally chaplain David Vaughan.
Winning driver Kevin Weeks said, “We’re really, really pleased to win. Bec and I discussed whether we wanted to continue after Thursday (when Porsche crew Glen Tierney and David Carra were killed in a crash) but we knew they would want that. They were really good guys and we’d done a lot of racing them and they were friends. It was very difficult.”
The Late Classic competition category saw a clean sweep for South Australian entrants, with Hamish Gibson and Ben Scott second in a 1974 Holden Commodore V8 and Roger Paterson and Paul Whatnell third in another Porsche. Paterson surrendered second place to Gibson just two stages from the finish when his transmission lost second and fourth gears.
The 13th Classic Adelaide saw new contenders in the shape of the inaugural Modern category for cars built after 1990. Although not eligible for “classic” honours the sophisticated Modern cars with all-wheel drive and turbocharged engines set the fastest times on almost every stage.
Danish Le Mans driver Allan Simonsen won the Modern category in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, needing only a steady drive to the finish after early leader Tony Quinn (Nissan R35 GT-R) and fellow rival Tony Longhurst (Subaru Impreza WRX) both retired yesterday.
“It’s been a very good event and I’d love to come back next year if the opportunity arises,” Simonsen said of his maiden Classic Adelaide competition. “I haven’t minded the hot weather and have been soaking up as much as I can because tomorrow I’m going back to Denmark where it’s minus-three degrees.”
Classic category winner Rob Devenish, from Melbourne, described his result as the best in 38 years of competition. “I’ve won rallies before, but none was as good as this. We’ve had 43 degree heat, we’ve had rain and we’ve mastered it,” he said.
Event Chairman David Edwards said Classic Adelaide had continued to earn its reputation as one of South Australia’s most popular major events. “We’ll be back next year for the 14th time and expect a large contingent of Aston Martin owners from overseas, as well as a big Australian group of Ferraris,” he said.
2009 Classic Adelaide Rally Official Results
Late Classic (1972-1990)
1. Kevin Weeks/Bec Crunkhorn -1974 Porsche 911RS
2. Hamish Gibson/Ben Scott – 1980 HDT Holden Commodore
3. Roger Paterson/Paul Whatnell – 1974 Porsche 911RS
4. Steve McClintock/Jann Skinner – 1981 Mazda RX-7
5. Steve Cadden/Strik Steven – 1972 Porsche 911
1. Allan Simonsen/Matt Lee – 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
2. Steve Jones/Ben Searcy – 2008 Nissan R35 GT-R
3. Dylan Thomas/Dave Thomas – 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
1. Rob Devenish/Lyn Carr – 1971 Datsun 240Z
2. David Moir/Vicki Moir – 1973 Datsun 240Z
3. Peter Ulrich/Sari Ulrich – 1963 Jensen CV8
1. John Lawson/Andrew Lawson – 1936 Delage Le Mans
2. John Rowe/Jock Osborne – 1932 Alvis Speed 20