Graves happy with clean sweep

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Four-time champion . . . Rankleburn Rally winner Andrew Graves of Gore and co-driver Glenn Frew in their Mitsubushi EVO 3. PHOTO: TRACY MICHELLE / STEPHEN RUSSELL

A clean sweep of all four Rankleburn Rally stages has earned Gore driver Andrew Graves his fourth victory in the annual event.

He was awarded the Darryl Robinson Memorial Trophy for his win at the Eastern Southland Car Club’s Rankleburn Rally at the Rankleburn Forest in West Otago on Saturday.

Mr Graves also won the event in 2012, 2014 and 2018.

“It was a great day and a great event by the club as per normal,” he said.

He drove a Mitsubishi EVO 3 and finished 1min 06.1sec ahead of second place.

“It was nice to clean sweep every stage.

“The car ran faultlessly and I had a new co-driver, Glenn Frew, in the hot seat.

“My usual co-driver, son Hayden, had a speedway commitment although that event was cancelled so he came and assisted at the event.

“I have to thank my sponsors, too.”

The Glen Shirlaw Memorial Trophy was awarded to Mr Graves’ co-driver, Glenn Frew.

Runner-up James Worker, of Lumsden, finished second in the first three stages in an EVO 6.

He eased back in the last stage and secured second place.

It was his third event in the car which had won the rally for the past two years and he was “pretty happy” to be just half a second a kilometre off Graves’ times.

The Mark Parsons novice co-driver award went to Worker’s co-driver, Bradley Smith, in just his second event.

The novice driver award went to ex-pat Italian Mauro Balzarini, a former works motorcycle racer in Europe, in just his second rally.

Clerk of the course Roger Laird said the drivers loved the new stages and the event as a whole.