Unit G21 2A Victoria
Avenue Castle Hill
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The BEMW Rally Team Results
2009 Winners: AMSAG Open Rally Championship 2008 AASA 2WD Modern Rally Champions 2008 AMSAG Modern 2WD Championship 2nd Outright 2007 Forster Great Lakes Rally 2WD Outright Champions 2006 2WD(over 2 Litre) Class NSW State Rally Champions
SMR Eden Rally The rally that could have been...
Fine weather and sublime road conditions made for an exciting rally at Eden (31st July/1st August), with the BEMW team making a strong impression as they led throughout Saturday and early into Sunday.
Mark had an opportunity to sample the local roads on Friday’s media day, taking sponsors and media through a 9km section of East Boyd State Forest. Reviewing the in-car footage showed some interesting reactions from passengers for whom this was their first rally experience – responses ranged from terrified to thoroughly excited as Mark put the car through its paces on some twisty sections of road.
One BEMW team member was also provided the opportunity to ride in the rival BMW E30 of Ben and Pip Barker. This was the car’s first competitive outing, with ex-Toyota factory driver Ben Barker behind the wheel. The ride confirmed that the BEMW team had some serious competition on their hands.
It was largely the presence of such a direct competitor that gave driver Mark Callinan and co-driver Matt Wilson the impetus to push their car harder for the duration of the SMR Eden Rally, with impressive results. The pair managed to set the fastest times for Stages One and Two, providing a lead that they held onto for the remainder of the day.
In addition to the Barker BMW, more stiff competition came in the form of Mal Hurley in his WRX. Mal managed to combine his local knowledge with some gutsy driving to keep the BEMW team on their toes for both days’ racing. In fact, one stage saw cars competing on a section of road that Mal drives daily en route to work – he managed to take 35 seconds off the BEMW car on this stage, partially helped by the fact that the BEMW car had a spin part way through the stage. This gain helped Mal to enter the night stages only 9 seconds behind the BEMW team.
However, a strong performance by the BEMW boys during the four night stages saw them stretch their lead to an impressive 1min 9 seconds before the close of Saturday’s racing.
Sunday morning the team went out aggressively in an effort to maintain their lead, despite being in the undesirable position of first car on the road (essentially meaning that they are sweeping it for the other competitors). The team dropped only 1 second to Hurley and 13 seconds to the Barkers on Sunday morning’s 36km long opening stage, but still held onto their overall lead of almost 1min 08 sec into the Stage 16.
Unfortunately, the BEMW car got a flat tyre on the offside rear only a few kilometres into the 20+ kilometre stage. The executive decision was made to drive on rather than lose time changing the tyre. Mark put in a gutsy drive at speeds of up to 110 km/h with the tyre slowly shredding itself to pieces, before finally finishing the stage on a cracked and rubberless rim. The slowed pace inevitably allowed Mal Hurley to catch and overtaking the BMW, meaning that their lead was now lost.
The wheel... or what was left of it!
After changing the damaged wheel at service, the BEMW car again started as Car 1 into the seventeenth and final stage. The team had calculated that they would need to make up 4 seconds per kilometre over the remaining 17km in order to regain their lead and take out first place outright for the rally, an impossible task. A strong start showed the determination of the boys to make up lost time, but it wasn’t to be – with only seven competitive kilometres remaining, the car’s number two piston let go and pushed the gudgeon pin out through the side of the block, causing the engine to fail. The BEMW pair were then forced to spectate as each of the remaining cars passed them and took their place from a possible first to a DNF (‘did not finish’) over the course of the next hour.
And one of the pistons... or what was left of it!
While the engine now requires rebuilding, it is worth noting that it had withstood the significant punishment of almost 11 000km of rallying, during which it had spent much time revving to 7500rpm – not exactly your average driving conditions. The pistons were also the basic cast variety and not forged race pistons, and yet had provided 4 years of hassle-free racing. In fact, the number two piston letting go represents the first significant issue in the car’s four year history, a true testament to the BEMW crew’s mechanical expertise.
The team remained in good spirits after an overall satisfying outing, but were left to consider what could have been as they towed the car out of the stage and winched it onto the trailer for the ride back to Eden.
The weekend’s SMR Eden Rally showed what BEMW team was capable of and also provided some valuable experience in terms of tyre selection. Mark opted for the new Kumho R900 pattern on the rear and eventually experimented with cross-cutting and grooving the Kumho R800 tyres fitted to the front to achieve even better results. An experimental design with the front skirt also paid off, with it withstanding more punishment than previous versions. A new in-car camera set-up also allowed for more and better quality footage, which will soon be uploaded to Youtube and Facebook.
The team is planning to rebuild the BEMW 325i engine in time to compete in the Cowra rally in September. Check the BEMW Rally website (www.bemwrally.com.au) for updates on the car’s progress – and for a sneak peak of the new E46 M3 rally car the team is preparing for 2011.
BEMW would like to acknowledge the support of the sponsors who make it all possible. Morrisey Services who provided both the service vehicle and financial support, Kumho Tyres, The Other Dimension, and of course Sydney Wide European Autos.
Anyone interested can view some video footage of the BEMW Rally team in action on Youtube - just search for 'BEMW Rally Team' or check out the website at www.bemwrally.com.
Once again Mark, Matt and the BEMW Rally Team would like to thank the businesses that support the team and ask that where possible you support them. You can click on their names to link to their websites: