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Mechanic turns Driver for Classic Outback Trial

Rally car preparation specialist John Rawson is the latest entry in the 2020 Classic Outback Trial.

Proprietor of Tayell Service Centre, a small but well known rally preparation business in the Melbourne suburb of East Bentleigh, 64 year old Rawson will compete in his 1978 Datsun Stanza in an attempt to win the 2,300 kilometer special stage rally.

The need for speed and his love of driving in long distance rallies overcame the business pressure to continue to build cars for others, then to provide on-site back up and cover thousands of kilometres chasing them around the country. 

Rawson is no stranger to driving fast cars on gravel roads, having won the 2008 BP Rallye and placed a fine second outright in the 2012 State Bank Discovery Trial re-run.

His latest rally, the 2019 Alpine Rally of East Gippsland resulted in 15th place, from 106 starters.

Originally built as a Production Rally Car, the Stanza has received an increase in performance courtesy of a powerful competition 2 litre engine in place of the relatively standard 1600cc unit used for many years.

Coupled to a strong 5 speed gearbox from a Nissan 720 Diesel ute and a specially built Torsen differential, Rawson hopes not only speed, but reliability as well, will see him in the major placings at the end of the 7 day event.

John’s co-driver will be Victorian Jenny Pollock, herself no stranger to rallying. 

It will definitely be an all-in effort for the small but enthusiastic team from Tayell!

The 2020 Classic Outback Trial will start in the Central West NSW town of Parkes on Sunday, 1 November.

After two days of special stage rallying around Parkes, the event will move to Orange for two nights before heading further east to Bathurst for the final three days.

COT20 will finish on Saturday 7 November with the much-anticipated celebration and presentation dinner to be held at the famous Mt Panorama Motor Racing Circuit.