event reports, News

Day 6: Valantine makes a last ditch try to overhaul Travis

The pine forests south of Bathurst, which hosted today’s 92 kilometres of stages in the 2022 Classic Outback Trial, set the scene for the seven day-long rally’s close competition amongst the leading crews on the penultimate day of the event.

Hard charging second placed Michael Valantine and his co-driver, son Timothy Valantine, steered their Datsun Stanza to a fastest stage time in the forest plantations near Black Springs today in a heroic effort to claw back some much needed time to the leader, Bathurst financial advisor Andrew Travis and his dentist father, David in their potent Nissan Gazelle V6.

The Valantines run was eventually in vain, as on the days final stage a rock bent a rim and loosened the brake caliper bleed nipple, giving Michael a “bit of a fright” when he went to apply the brakes for the following corner and there was no pedal!

Valantine’s wheel…

Incredibly, despite a bent and broken wheel, the tyre stayed inflated and they were able to finish the stage, although the resultant damage saw them lose 5 and a half minutes on the stage and with it almost any hope of overtaking the flying Travis pair.

Andrew and David Travis now lead the Classic Outback Trial by almost 15 minutes from the Valantines, with South Australia’s Darkie Barr-Smith and Rob Hunt in a Ford Capri Perana only 43 seconds behind in third place.

The Ford Escort RS 1800 of New South Welshmen David Hills and Ben Richards lie in fourth spot, 17 minutes behind Barr-Smith.

Today’s leg of the rally started with crews doing lap of the famous Mt Panorama Motor Racing Circuit-race – albeit at road speed, which is strictly 60 km/h during non-race time – before starting the competition in earnest in the pine plantations surrounding Oberon and Black Springs.

Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penney, RX7

The pace was hot from the get-go with Valantines pushing the Travis’ hard to grab second fastest time by 6 seconds on the todays first stage; one second on the following stage, 12 seconds on stage three, then they cracked it for a welcome fastest time on stage 4 – by a single second! The last stage of the day saw their wheel problem occur and they dropped down the stage time board.

Barr-Smith was consistent with third fastest times on most stages. A surprise visitor to the high end of the stage times board was Adam Kaplan and Alisha Penny in a Mazda RX7, where they snagged a third fastest time on the days longest stage, the 26 kilometre “Arkstone” Stage.

Victorians Joel Wald and Cathy Elliot are putting in a fast and reliable run in their Datsun Stanza to be in 5th outright position at the end of the day, with Mark Pickering/David Boddy (Datsun 260Z) in sixth place; Shane Attwell and David Moir from Western Australia in the Falcon GT in seventh; Victorians Michael Ward and Peter Hellwig in their diminutive Toyota Corolla in eighth, with Murray Rogers and Peter Ellis in a Holden Commodore from Ballarat, Victoria in ninth. Rounding out the top ten is veteran Classic Outback Trial competitors Pat and Brad Cole in the very pretty Mercedes 280 SLC Pagoda.

Paul Lahiff & John Paine competing in Allcomers

There are three special stages on the last day of the 2022 Classic Outback Trial before the celebrations at the finish – in Russell Street, Bathurst – commence at 1300 hrs on Saturday 2 April.


Four tough sections faced the field in the Regularity section of the 2022 Classic Outback Trial on the next-to last day of competition of the grueling seven day event.

Datsun 240Z crew of David and Stephen Gainer now hold a 46 point lead in the event over new second placed crew of Paul and Mariella Kirkham in their Datsun 1600. The Kirkhams overtook the first few day’s leader, Bill and Kathy Gill and their Mercedes Benz 350 SLC after the Gills dropped a heap of points in the “Roberts” forestry section.

Paul & Mariella Kirkham on Mt Panorama

There are two regularity sections on tomorrow’s final day of the Classic Outback Trial, before the event finishes with the podium celebrations in Russell Street, Bathurst 1300 hrs on Saturday 2 April.

Banner: Veterans Peter Glennie and Peter Clark are in 12th place as Day 7 starts.