“If you prang it, you need to get the other body shell in my back yard prepared and re-sprayed!”
Such was the jovial conversation between Simon Crane and his long-time friend David “Dinta” Officer, after an agreement was made for Simon to drive David’s famous Mitsubishi Colt Galant in the 2020 Classic Outback Trial.
Crane is the Owner and CEO of Lovells Springs in Newcastle, which he proudly says is Australia’s only remaining industrial spring maker. He spends most of his motorsport time at race circuits these days, rather than on gravel rally roads where he recalls many Saturday nights mastering the trade.
“The truth is that it’s probably a last reasonably leisurely foray onto gravel” Simon lamented about his entry in the Classic Outback Trial. His most recent rally was in 2008!
He has little reason to lament one last rally event, as the car he will use has been a well proven one, used to good effect by David Officer, a former Australian Rally Champion.
A 1970 Mitsubishi Colt Galant, it is fitted with a 1750cc, highly modified engine. Open the bonnet and you are faced with two Webers and an elaborate snaking exhaust extractor system.
Coupled to a virtually indestructible 5 speed Holinger gearbox and a 4.6:1 Toyota limited slip differential, the car is suspended by MCA suspension. It definitely has all the right “go gear”.
And large 4 wheel disc brakes to wipe off the speed complete the package.
The Colt has a celebrated history, having won the 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial and was driven by Officer in every Alpine Rally since 2001, resulting in a fine 7th outright in 2003.
The car is no stranger to the Classic Outback Trials, having been used by David and his wife, Kate – herself a twice Australian Rally Champion – in the 2009, 2014 and 2016 events.
Simon will be co-driven by his partner, Alison Thomas.
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.