TOO FAST, TOO FURIOUS: Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith in their 1970 Mazda RX2.
TOO FAST, TOO FURIOUS: Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith in their 1970 Mazda RX2.

Quinn born to win as he takes out historic event

IN A 1970 Mazda RX2 which cost only $10,000, 2017 Australian Rally Champion and Coffs Coast local Nathan Quinn triumphed over a class field during a bushfire and rain-shorted Alpine Rally Of East Gippsland.

“I built the car, pretty-well from the ground-up ten years ago,” Quinn said of his winning ride.

“Wayne Parker gave me the shell and it cost me 10 grand to build and we probably spent 10 grand on it this year, so I’m pretty happy.

“It’s got much the same engine I had when I used to deliver pizzas, telling my old man I wanted to be a rally driver.... so it’s pretty cool”

His navigator, Ray Winwood-Smith, has resumed rallying after a twenty-eight year break. It was his first Alpine Rally.

The Alpine Rally is regarded as one of the oldest rally events in the world and the fourth oldest motorsport event on the planet.

Only the French Grand Prix, Monte Carlo Rally and Indianapolis 500 have been running for longer.

CHAMPAGNE SHOWER: Nathan Quinn celebrates his victory at the Alpine Rally.
CHAMPAGNE SHOWER: Nathan Quinn celebrates his victory at the Alpine Rally.

Quinn not only beat top drivers to the podium this year, he also beat Mother Nature.

“My heart goes out to the organisers with the fire and the rain, that’s a tough set of dice to be thrown,” he said.

“It was still a great event and great roads, I love to do these roads. Commiserations to all the competitors who had big issues.”

Second place went to Tasmanians Kade Barrett and David Guest in their bright orange Plymouth Fire Arrow while Carl Stewart and Matty James clinched third in their Datsun 1600.

Previous winner of the Rookie’s Award, this was Stewart’s seventh attempt, and best place in The Alpine.

International voice of the World Rally Championship, Colin Clark, told a packed crowd The Alpine is a unique event on the world stage. “Every time you come to Australia you realise how strong the rally community is,” he said.

“You’ve got to give it to the organisers, they have worked with the two most challenging extremes you can imagine, bushfires on one hand, terrible rain and slippery conditions on the other — and we’ve still had a rally.

“You’ve got this event that, next time, will be a hundred years old. That’s something to be celebrate, surely.”



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