The road to Rally Victoria was quite bumpy and the bumps would continue during the event testing.
Before we get to that, lets go back two weeks.
The team decided to do some pre-event testing at a local rally, The Blue Range RallySprint, the goal was to test suspension changes and a few other new parts that had been added, and generally add more seat time for Mick, little did they know that this event would lead to a chain reaction of events that would see the end of the season for the Repco Rally Team.
The damage caused at the Blue Range RallySprint was repairable, however with just a week to go before the start of Rally Victoria it was going to be tight, so much so that the team was still putting the car together at the 11th hour the night before scheduled testing in Victoria.
The team rallied together and in a short few days managed to repair the damage, replace the damaged bits and got the car and truck to Victoria just in time for testing.
Testing is an important part in the teams preparations for an event, it not only gives the team a chance to drive similar road conditions to stages of the rally, but it also gives them the opportunity to test and put any new parts through their paces before the event begins, effectively pushing parts to their limits to make sure anything that can break will do so before the event.
Rally Victoria has been a successful event for the team in the past, in 2013 the team came 4th and with the recent Rally Australia result the team were optimistic of a good result coming in to the event, “I really enjoy the roads in Victoria and we wanted to better our place from last year’s event” said Mick.
Testing began at lunch time and after 3 or 4 passes it was time to push a little more, little did Mick and Bernie know what was just around the corner, literally.
At about the half way point of the test stage there was a rocky creek, large blue stone rocks needed to be pushed aside to make way for the compacted road underfoot, unfortunately one of these rocks got lodged in between the caliper and the rim of the rear left wheel, in doing so it bounced back and fourth which eventually resulted in the entire brake disc shattering, the result; no rear brakes, as Mick and Bernie made their way through the creek bed and up the hill Mick realised something was wrong when the brake pedal went flat to the floor, the Repco Rally Team Polo headed straight for a tree at 90kmph and that was it, rally over.
The damaged caused by both the impact and the rock was to much for the team to be able to successfully repair in time for the start of competition in 2 days time, and with no testing it could be a disastrous move without knowing full well what other damage may have resulted.
The team made the heartbreaking decision to call it a day and headed home, a fortnight the team would probably like to forget.
And that brought to a close the end of the 2014 season in the Australian Rally Championship, a roller coaster season for the Repco Rally Team, stay tuned for a review of the season in the coming weeks and what is in store for the team in 2015.