THEY battled roads covered in sheets of ice, snow-capped mountains and dodgy wheel bearings, but Derrinallum’s Gary Poole and his team pushed through it all to complete the Rallye Monte-Carlo.
When contacted by The Standard yesterday Mr Poole was racing his FX Holden in the rally’s final stages, but support team member Lyall Bond said he expected them to finish the rally at 4am Monaco time (2pm AEDST).
Mr Poole’s car is a replica of one that completed the rally in 1953 — the only Australian entry ever to compete in the prestigious rally until now.
He has been joined behind the wheel by V8 Supercar legend Craig Lowndes and Richard Davison, the son of 1953 team member Lex Davison. In support is David Fazakerley of Derrinallum and Mr Bond, of Lismore, in a modern Holden — a Commodore wagon supplied by Callaghan Motors.
Mr Bond said the team had overcome plenty of challenges to earn the honour of being registered as completing the rally, which started on January 26.
“It’s certainly been an adventure. Driving non-stop through all sorts of weather conditions has certainly put them to the test,” Mr Bond said.
“They have driven through ice, snow and wind, but have been having a ball.
“There have been a few issues with wheel bearings, which delayed them a bit, but the car has otherwise been reliable and mechanically sound.”
Mr Bond said failed wheel bearing had forced the team to miss two stages until they could fashion another set from what they had available.
“You can’t buy bearings sets over here and we had no idea we would need so many spares,” he said.
“But in true Aussie fashion, they manufactured a new set from salvageable pieces of the busted sets and quite a few other people have helped them out along the way.”
Mr Bond said the team was sitting fourth in its section before the delay.
“But they had to miss two stages and the penalties that attracted meant they were pushed right back down.
“The main thing is they will be registered as having completed the rally, which was the main aim of the whole thing.”