The National Motor Museum in Birdwood in the Adelaide Hills hosted the service park for Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2020 Championship, with two one-day events of the AGI Sports Adelaide Hills rally. With COVID-19 having an effect on every motorsport championships in the world, South Australia was no exception with the schedule reduced to three events.
After winning the first round of the championship, Guy Tyler, a resident of Mt Compass, found himself in the favorite position to be crowned South Australian Rally Champion for the second time in his short but impressive career.
Tyler’s form at the wheel did not disappoint during the second round of the championship, the AGI Sports Adelaide Hills Rally – The Birdwood Stages. Tyler was driving his Mitsubishi Evo 9 rally car during the early competitive stages of the event.
By the end of stage four, Tyler had dominated the timesheets across all four stages and forged a solid 28-second lead over Luke Anear, driving a much more powerful and capable R5 Ford Fiesta.
Behind Anear were Tyler’s two biggest threats to the championship, reigning defending champion Zayne Admiraal and 2017 champion Aaron Bowering. The next four stages saw the results start to tighten as Anear spent time in the service park fixing clutch and transmission issues.
With Anear’s car back at full capacity, he took up the challenge to Tyler. Unfortunately, the repairs which allowed him to find a certain rhythm resulted in a penalty of three minutes for exceeding the allotted time for service, putting him out of the race for the victory of the rally. Tyler managed to keep Admiraal and Bowering, both in the Subaru WRXs, both of whom stepped up their challenge to try and keep their hopes for rally and championship victory.
All three were having blazing times ahead of the final two super specials of the day at Mid-Murray Motorplex.
As the sun set and temperatures cooled, the action on the track continued to heat up with Anear out of action, Tyler, Bowering and Admiraal continued to trade quick times in what was shaping up to be the one of the closest championship battles in recent memory.
The lead Tyler had racked up at the start of the day became all the more important as a mechanical gremlin saw him bring the car home in the final leg to position himself as the frontrunner to become state champion for 2020.
Admiraal came in second and Bowering third, leaving them both hotly contested the next day.
On Sunday morning, the teams prepared for âForest and Fences,â which was round three of the SA Rally Championship and day two of the AGI Sports Adelaide Hills rally.
Guy Tyler and his team were convinced they had settled the problems of the last stage of the night before, but time will tell because he still had Zayne Admiraal and Aaron Bowering up his neck in the race for the 2020 championship.
Tyler started the day off strong again by winning two of the first three stages through the forest of Mount Crawford, but on the fourth stage of the day the mechanical gremlins of the clutch, brakes and engine driving him had tormented during the last stage the night before had returned.
Unfortunately for Tyler and his crew, the problems were beyond a quick fix and ended his race for the day without being able to complete the rally, putting an end to his championship hopes.
The only chance of winning the championship would be if Admiral and Bowering didn’t finish the rally either, being such a graceful athlete as ever, this is not how Tyler would want to win.
Unknown to Tyler at the time, Zayne Admiraal had his own challenges in the special four, leaving him stranded midway through with a broken driveshaft and a damaged gearbox afterwards. This left Bowering in the box seat to snatch the championship title from Tyler.
Bowering did not hesitate to seize his opportunities by winning five of the last six stages and putting his second championship victory beyond any doubt. Losing the state championship in this manner left Tyler disappointed but graceful in defeat as that is the nature of motorsport and rallying in particular.
Rest assured that Tyler and his team will be back in 2021 doing their best to catch up with the one who escaped in 2020.
AGI Sports Adelaide Hills Rally – The Birdwood Stages – SARC Rnd. 2
1st – Guy Tyler / Mike Dale – Mitsubishi Evo 9 – 46: 52.8
2nd – Zayne Admiraal / Matthew Heywood – Subaru WRX – 48: 50.6
3rd – Aaron Bowering / HeathWeedon – Subaru WRX – 49: 21.3
AGI Sports Adelaide Hills Rally – Forest and Fences – SARC Rnd. 3
1st – Aaron Bowering / Heath Weedon – Subaru WRX – 57: 57.3
2nd – Jamie Pohlner / Adam Brandford – Subaru WRX – 59: 59.5
3rd – Daren Herring / Matthew Woods – Mitsubishi Evo 6 – 1: 00: 26.4