Simpsons Take their Second Sea Lake Victory
George Bailey Mallee Rally outright winners – Malcolm Simpson navigator and driver David Simpson.
Local boys David and Malcolm Simpson are the winners of the 2007 George Bailey Sea Lake Mallee Rally.
The local boys thrive on a big occasion, they last won the event in 2003, the 30th Anniversary Mallee Rally.
This year the Sea Lake Off Road Club celebrated George Bailey’s twentieth year of directing by naming the event in his honour.
A field of 78 cars were entered including past winners Jamie Robinson and last year’s winner Justin Anderson. The Queensland ‘Off Road Rush’ team also brought three cars to the event.
The prologue on Saturday saw the South Australian car of Kieren Kelly and Troy Henderson take pole position followed by Jamie Robinson and Craig Hoare. Bob Strawbridge and Bruce Waldron (SA) were on the next row of the grid, beside David and Malcolm Simpson.
The third row of the grid was Trevor Copeland in a single seat Pro Class buggy with the first of the Super 1650 buggies – the local team of Cameron and Stuart McClelland.
Jason and Maree Telford in their Extreme 2WD Chev powered Rodeo were next away, with the first of the Prolite buggies of Daryl Nissen and Richard Wagner.
Rounding off the top ten were ‘Off Road Rush’ entrants Chris Western and Stewy Bishop beside Justin and Owen Anderson.
A Race of Attrition
Robinson, Anderson and Kelly were all out on the first lap.
Strawbridge, Copeland, McClelland and Nissen all broke on the second lap.
Cameron and Stuart McClelland however were able to make repairs and finished the event, winning the trophy for the best jump over the ‘road jump’.
Simpson emerged unscaithed to have a handy lead at the halfway mark. Western and Telford were still in the race and locals Darren Mott and Troy Blythman in a Pro Class buggy worked their way up to third outright.
The Simpson brothers prevailed, despite covering the final 30 km with a faulty turbo. Chris Western and Stewy Bishop were second outright and in third place on adjusted time was Daniel Brown and George Apted in the first Super 1650 buggy, just five seconds up on Jason and Maree Telford in their Extreme 2WD.
Fifth outright was the single seat Pro Buggy of Darren Stock of Sydney.
Prolite buggies filled the next three positions with Eric Schmid and Leanne Walker sixth and fellow South Australians Ben and Kelly Erceg seventh. Colin and Chris Johnson were eighth.
An elated Jamie and Tristen Irving of Tallarook were ninth and second Super 1650.
Des and Phillip Harrington in the white Nissan Patrol utility rounded out the top ten, winning the Extreme 4WD class.
Local cars filled the next three places – Darren Mott and Troy Blythman broke a throttle cable and had to make repairs but finished 11th outright. Steven Millar and Leanne Stewart were next in a Pro Buggy. Dale and Murray Allan finished 13th outright and third in the Super 1650 class. Murray said he had been chasing a podium at the Mallee Rally for 34 years and was proud to finally achieve it with son Dale.
Russell Cairns and Daniel McKean were 14th outright and second Extreme 4WD.
Matt Ryan and Ken Thompson were 15th and first Performance 2WD.
Josh Golsby-Smith and Scott Collis were 16th and first Sportsman buggy.
Forty vehicles finished the event.
A presentation evening was held at the Sea Lake Community Complex, with a three course meal.
Several special guests were present including the instigator of the event and first director Frank Coad and the first event secretary Max Jackman.
The Buloke Shire Council was represented by the Mayor, Cr Reid Mather and his wife Kerry, and the Manager for Business and Community Development Graeme Harris and his wife Sandra. They were accompanied by Mayor Leigh Hardinge and his wife Merridee of Hobsons Bay City Council who were guests of the Buloke Shire Council and attended the Mallee Rally on Sunday.
Karen Newkirk of Regional Development Victoria addressed the gathering. Regional Development Victoria are major sponsors of off road racing in the shire.
Presentations to George Bailey acknowledging his service to the sport were made by several representative groups.
Ben Erceg, on behalf of the Australian Off Road Racing Commission, announced that George Bailey would be inducted into the ‘Off Road Hall of Fame’. He presented George with a certificate, saying a formal presentation would be made at an offical CAMS function in due course.
Marilyn Emmins, on behalf of the State Off Road Panel. Marilyn also read a letter from Peter Bready of CAMS.
The Sea Lake Off Road Club presented Barbara Bailey with a large bouquet of flowers and George was presented with a framed copy of the artwork for the event, featuring a caricature of himself.
George responded, reflecting on both the amusing and somber times he and fellow organisers endured.