The RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship was meant to be running in South Australia this weekend, but due to uncertainty surrounding the border restrictions, the 2021 Adelaide Hills Rally was cancelled.
However, the cancellation of the national championship hasn’t stopped Ultimate Motorsport Events from holding an event this weekend at the Mid Murray Motorplex, the location of what would have been the Super Special Stage for the ARC’s fifth round of the season.
Known as the Adelaide Hills Rallysprint, the 26 entered crews will be competing for top honours in the final round of the South Australian Clubman Series, as well as the Southern Districts Car Club Rallysprint Championship decider.
Running solely on Sunday, the event will see entered crews get three runs of the stage in both directions with their two best times from each way combined for a total score.
The top four crews from the 2WD class and then top four from the 4WD class will then go up against each other in a shootout, with the prize of each class to be free entry into the promotor’s next big event – the Willunga Hillclimb.
While the cream of the Australian rally crop won’t be in attendance, there are still a number of high-profile individuals locked in.
The most notable names on the entry list include Motorsport Australia SA Rally Championship (SARC) leader Nicholas Cagney, ARC junior Ryan Poel and SARC stars Guy Tyler and Zayne Admiraal.
In addition to the prominent local rally drivers, the event will also provide grassroots khanacross and autocross competitors an opportunity to get a feel for competing in rally, at a fraction of the cost.
Part of the pool of talented young drivers competing include teenagers Oscar Farnden and Daniel Hazelgrove – both of whom have little experience but have shown plenty of promise – enough to have received free entry for the event.
Clerk of Course Michael Clements was looking forward to seeing all the drivers in action and was hopeful the event would be a worthy replacement for the ARC event.
“To have 26 entries is about what we expected for an event like this, but we’re pretty pleased there has been interest in this smaller scale rallysprint,” Clements said.
“There were a few motivations behind holding the event rather than just counting our losses when we had to cancel the ARC.
“One major factor behind this weekend was wanting to finish the Clubman Series and give these drivers a chance to get their cars out of the shed before the year’s end.
“We also feel that it’s good for helping people work towards rallying. Events like this help interested drivers make that step in a safe environment and experience that next level. That will then hopefully help them decide whether they want to pursue the SARC and ARC pathway.
“It’s a level one rallysprint, so essentially they are getting that feel for it at a smaller cost with far less effort, which we think is important for the development of the sport.
“We have also created those incentives for the shootouts and to kids like Oscar and Daniel to build interest. Oscar is just 14 and has been doing really well at state khanacross level, while Daniel has only done around three or four events but has been really improving with each event.
“Overall, it should be a good day and the standard of competitors should make for interesting viewing.”
Entry for the event is free for all spectators with the action getting underway on Sunday morning.
The 2021 Adelaide Hills Rallysprint takes place at the Mid Murray Motorplex on Sunday 24 October.