David McKenzie – the Multi Purpose Man

The 1973 GB Chrysler Galant may have been in nearly 50 rallies in its 20 year career but Melbourne’s David McKenzie is determined to “have a real go” in the 2020 Classic Outback Trial.

McKenzie, a retired financial consultant has experienced rallying on both sides of the gear stick, having navigated for such rally luminaries as Geoff Portman (Queensland ARC round in 1984) and also Brian Smith, when they won the 1985 Tile Supplies Rally in South Australia, a round of the Australian Rally Championship that year.

His list of successful navigation duties also included two 3rd outright places in the notoriously difficult Victorian Experts Trial.

His smiling face is well known to rally folk across Victoria, having been involved in every aspect of rally organisation from Road Closure Official to Director of the 1981 Akademos Rally, a round of the Australian Rally Championship.

A stint as President of the Historic Rally Association has been most recent motor sport administrative post.

These days however, 67 year old David has retired from co-driving to concentrate on driving his yellow Galant. “As a driver, not so capable, but I enjoy it”, he noted with a cheeky smile.

He enjoys his Classic Outback Trials, too, having driven in the past three events. His most promising result being 12th outright in 2018.

David recalls his fondest “COT memory” as being a member of all-Galant “Mitsubishi Magic” team in 2014, with his long-time friends Steve Ashton, Ro Nixon and David and Kate Officer, when they won the teams award.

He also has the winner’s trophy of the 2015 Moonlight Meander – a well known Victorian Rally – on his trophy shelf as a handy reminder of his skill behind the wheel.

David’s most recent event was the 2019 Alpine Rally of East Gippsland. “The car has a welded diff, which is great in sand but was totally unsuited to the wet roads in last year’s Alpine”, in which he finished “a lowly 65th…”

He hopes that a fresh, 2 litre Mitsubishi Astron engine built by John Rawson of Tayell Automotive will give the Galant, David McKenzie and his co-driver, long time friend Terry Brain from Camperdown (Victoria) a competitive advantage in the Classic Outback Trial.

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.

We thought that the pic below, of David doing “running repairs” on the Galant at Gemtree in COT16, looked like a “car repair” technique popularised by an English Hotelier – particularly in the two handed grip and facial expression. What do you think? 😎