Nicholas Cagney has finally notched up his first win of the 2021 Motorsport Australia SA Rally Championship after a solid performance during the PMD Race Products Forest Sprint.
With 22 crews featuring in the championship’s second round of the year, Nicholas and co-driver Kenneth Moore proved too strong around the forests of SEAC Park, navigating their new Subaru WRX to a convincing 14 second win.
Having purchased his car from Jamie Pohlner at the start of the year, it’s taken a while for Nicholas to find his groove in the car after multiple DNFs.
However, with his local club, the South Eastern Automobile Club playing host to the state championship, everything seemed to click for Cagney as his seven stage wins helped him beat Pohlner and Adam Branford.
Rounding out the podium thanks to a couple of stage wins of their own were Dale Cagney and Matt Kirby while RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) junior driver Ryan Poel edged out Daren Herring and Matthew Woods by two seconds to secure fourth place.
Nicholas Cagney’s charge towards victory started with the first two stage wins at SEAC Park on Saturday afternoon, before Dale picked up his two wins for the event – recovering from a disappointing start to the event.
Sunday then became a tussle between Nicholas and Pohlner with little separating them, but it was Nicholas who did more damage early on as he added 15 seconds to his lead in the opening two stages of the day.
It took until the event’s seventh stage and the day’s third for Pohlner to get his first win of the day, a solid eight second victory giving the star some hope of a late comeback.
The duo then traded blows over the next five stages, but Pohlner had no answer for a determined Nicholas who won four of the final six stages and stormed home to victory.
After what had been a tough start to the year, Nicholas was relieved to finally get some good results for his efforts in the new car.
“It was a good and tough event, but to finally get a win in a car that I haven’t had much success in was great and I am pretty happy with this weekend,” Nicholas said.
“There were a few rough stages there in the early part of the day as it was really mossy and slippery, but we managed to keep it safe and push through to the end.
“Because of our strong start, we knew we had some time in reserve should anything have happened, so I was pretty confident throughout even though Jamie found pace in the back half of the event.
“It was quite special beating him too, especially in his old car, but it was quite tough and he kept me on my toes the whole event and I am just happy to win something.
“It’s a great confidence boost and we’re hopeful of continuing with our plan of doing some more state rounds this year and then joining the ARC next year for a proper crack.”
While there was some jubilation for Nicholas, there were a few high-profile names who were unable to finish the event, with former champion Zayne Admiraal on track for a podium until driveshaft issues on stage 11 saw him retire early.
Admiraal and co-driver Matthew Heywood weren’t the only DNF for the event with five other crews failing to finish the event.
The next round of the Motorsport Australia SA Rally Championship is the Copyworld Walky 100 Rally at Eudunda on 14 August.
Photos: Bailey Perryman