For the 2017 CAMS Australian 2WD Rally Champions Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penney, it was another year of learning the art of rally on gravel in their Mazda RX7.
The pair from New South Wales stepped up their commitment to the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) this year, competing in four of the five rounds and winning the 2WD class at Eureka Rally and Lightforce Rally SA.
Kaplan purchased the 1985 Mazda RX7 two years ago when deciding to make the transition from tarmac rally to gravel.
“We’ve had the car for two years, it’s our first gravel car and it has served its purpose well,” Kaplan said.
“The car was last campaigned in the ARC by Glen Raymond back in 2013. We purchased the car from Glen to test our ability on gravel and see if we liked it compared to the tarmac rallying that I’ve been doing for 25 years.
“For an older car it has done remarkably well and it was fun trading times with Lewis Bates in his Corolla this year.”
After tasting success in 2017, Kaplan and Penney will be back for all six rounds in 2018 with a new car.
“We’re sticking to 2WD and rear-wheel drive with a Nissan 370Z which we will debut in Western Australia at the second round,” revealed Kaplan.
“It’s a newer car, a better build, definitely a safer car and hopefully a faster car than the RX7.
“It will be sad to leave the rotary in the shed but I suspect there are a whole lot on Nissan fans out there who will love to see a 370Z blasting sideways through the forests around Australia.”
Kaplan said that he and Penney will be up for the new challenges facing competitors in the 2018 ARC.
“The calendar for next year look great. We are looking forward to our first visit to the slippery roads in Western Australia as well as our first gravel rally in Tasmania where we hope the roads will be as challenging as the tarmac rally roads that we’re so familiar with.
“It’s also great that there is an even spread of events throughout the year without a long winter layover….that was painful this year.”