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Kerr hits trouble, Travis’ extend their lead

Andrew Travis/David Travis - Nissan Gazelle

The Travis’ duo pass an outback windmill. on Day 2. Photo: Phil Williams.

Phil Kerr and Jenny Cole hit trouble on day two of the Lasseters Classic Outback Trial, while Andrew and David Travis extended their advantage at the top of the leaderboard, winning three out of the day’s five stages.

Unlike the sand which defined the opening day, day two required plenty of horsepower and commitment on roads described by Michael Valentine’s co-driver Jason Fraser as Finland in the desert.  Despite their inexperience in blind events, Adam Kaplan/Aleshia Penney started the day going fastest on the 42km SS6 Bloodwood stage with Ian Reddiex/Mike Mitchell (Datsun) a further 23 seconds behind and the similar car of Valentine in third.

Valentine displayed his supreme road reading skills and commitment throughout the day with a stage win on SS6 and his consistency saw him jump up from fifth to third in the classic standings by day’s end. Reddiex/Mitchell also displayed excellent pace in the morning loop to elevate themselves ahead of Kerr/Cole by the major service break at Gemtree.

On the 54km Pinnacles stage, Kerr’s challenge was dented a huge blow when he struck a rock at speed, ending up stuck on an embankment, damaging the car and ending his day prematurely.  The Travis duo won the last three stages and head into day three with a lead of 1m22s from Reddiex. The Tuthill Porsche of Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein has them best placed of the international entries in fourth.

Chris McCormack/Blake McCormack - Mitsubishi Magna

The McCormack’s had excellent speed on Day 2. Photo: Ian Smith.

In Modern competition, Chris and Blake McCormack (Magna) nearly halved the deficit to the Peter Neal/Craig Whyburn Subaru, winning two stages and now trail by little more than a minute. Peter Sweeney and Dan Murphy (Subaru) stayed out of trouble to hold down third, while Jamie and Michelle Lawson bounced back from their issues on day one, to record the fastest time in their class on the long 54km SS8.