Mega motorsport action mixed with magical spring weather drew over 15,000 people to the City of Perth for the free Make Smoking History Tarmac West yesterday (Sunday, 10th September).
This year, the Make Smoking History Tarmac West was sanctioned by AASA and ran a new format, namely a series of three short and fast Rallysprint events.
There were 96 competitors who raced along the closed streets of Ellenbrook on Thursday evening (Thursday, 7th September), Malaga on Sunday morning and in the City of Perth on Sunday afternoon (Sunday, 10th September).
Reigning champion Troy Wilson, with rookie co-driver Brodie Kirwan, took a clean sweep winning all runs in all three events in his 2010 Mitsubishi Evo X.
“I’ve never done drugs, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, this is my drug,” Wilson said about Make Smoking History Tarmac West.
His outright wins, while they looked convincing, weren’t without challenges.
Riverside Drive and the streets surrounding streets to Terrace Road car park were closed to traffic and transformed into a street circuit in Perth’s CBD.
Langley Park was transformed into WA’s biggest motoring and motorsport festival with over 500 cars on display. The Schlam Celebration of Motorsport and the Celebration of Hot Rods and Street Machines, the finest collection of automobiles with hundreds of vehicles from all eras on display, along with the Shannons Classics on the Swan on the river’s edge.
Crowds were wowed by the Ridin’ Free Stunt Team, everyone loved the Red School Bus Monster Truck, and the helicopter scenic flights gave a bird’s eye view of the rally action below.
Friday saw a Show and Shine at Forrest Place in the City of Perth with magnificent rally cars on display from the 1960s to modern day, from the compact to the big and heavy, and from the thirsty V8s to green EVs.
Midland Toyota Ellenbrook Rallysprint
Thursday evening (7th September) saw Ellenbrook’s shopping district transformed into a 1.8km tarmac rally street stage. Mild spring conditions drew over 6,000 spectators who lined the stage.
With rookie co-driver Brodie Kirwan, Troy Wilson dominated in his 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, winning every one of the four stages to finish 12 seconds ahead of Matthew O’Neill and Kelly Thomas in their 2006 Subaru WRX STi Spec C.
Rounding out the top three was Brett Morse and co-driver Rodney Ng in their quick 2019 BWM M2 Competition, less than two-tenths of a second behind O’Neill.
O’Neill, who first started competing in tarmac rallies in 2013, said he was stoked with second place.
“You don’t know how many weeks I’ve spent in the shed until 2 a.m., just for three days for fun, but this makes it worth it,” O’Neill said.
“Ellenbrook was really good, great atmosphere, lots of people, and it was great to get back behind the wheel and race the clock again.”
Sitting in second place at one point was Alex Rullo with co-driver Ben Searcy until they overcooked a corner on the third run hitting a water barrier, damaging their 2020 Hyundai i20 Rally 2 and ending their night.
For full results, click here.
Make Smoking History Malaga Sprint
The high-octane entertainment on the streets of industrial area in Perth’s north did not disappoint. On Sunday morning (10th September), about 3,500 spectators lined the 5.85km Malaga stage watching drivers race the clock four times, a total of 23.4 competitive kilometres.
Troy Wilson, in his 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 took title honours, winning all four runs, but only just.
“This morning was a disaster. Being the budget racer that I am, I used three-year-old tyres that I thought were okay,” Wilson explained.
Wilson said that he thought the road was greasy because the car was sliding, and he was missing corners he usually didn’t miss.
“During the third run, the tyre started to delaminate, I could hear it flicking, and luckily, we managed to finish,” the former AFL footballer said.
“My other set of tyres, mixed Yokohamas, one medium and three soft, again about three years old, had about 30 per cent tread left.
“So, we changed the front two tyres, and I was five seconds faster in the last run. And that was without notes. I was swerving before the start line, and my co-driver’s notes fell under the seat, and he couldn’t get to them, so I drove by sight, but then the rears were going, the backend was sliding out rally-style,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he regretted not changing the rear tyres too.
On those first runs, Wilson had young gun Max Whiting hot on his tail, just three-tenths of a second behind in the second run.
Whiting with co-driver Savanna Maxted in his 1999 Subaru WRX, finished second overall, 3.35 minutes behind Wilson.
At just 18-years-of-age, the Year 12 Kennedy Baptist College student said that he and his dad built the car.
“Today has been amazing! I started rallying about three years G when I was 15. Tarmac Rally events are our main focus, and I’d love to win the Targa Cup some day,” Whiting said.
And making up for the DNF in Ellenbrook, to finish in third place 7.6 seconds behind Whiting was Alex Rullo with co-driver Ben Searcy in his 2020 Hyundai i20 Rally 2.
For full results, click here.
City of Perth Rallysprint
The perfect conditions and mega motorsport and motoring action drew 15,000 spectators to the City of Perth Rallysprint. Four times competitors negotiated 2.1km of twisty turns at speed in the Terrace Road car park before going full pace along Riverside Drive to clock up 8.4 competitive kilometres.
Again, Troy Wilson was dominant winning each of the four runs to finish fastest in his 2010 Mitsubishi Evo X, some 14 seconds ahead of Matthew O’Neill and Kelly Thompson in their 2006 Subaru WRX STi Spec C.
Rounding out third place was young gun Max Whiting and Savanna Maxted in their 1999 Subaru WRX.
After the scare in Malaga in the morning with tyres, Wilson said that he chose the four best tyres he had for the city.
“Even though the tyres were three years old, within two corners, I could tell the car was back to handling the way it usually does,” the two-time winner said.
“I had a lucky run in the city where there’s massive kerbs; anything can go wrong. I guess the Rally Gods were smiling on me today; it does take a bit of luck for everything to go your way to win.
“I’m happy. It’s been a great few days of racing. My co-driver, on the other hand, he left feeling really sick, It was his first time co-driving, and I have a feeling it might’ve been his last….”
O’Neill was elated with his excellent results, which he said comes down to experience, this being his tenth year of competing in the same car, which he claimed is better suited to Ellenbrook and the City stages.
“In the city, it was tight, twisty, and you couldn’t afford to make mistakes, but you were rewarded for fast, clean driving,” said O’Neill.
Max Whiting couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.
“This is our first time running in the open category, and to be consistently up the front, it feels so good to progress,” Whiting said.
“The past couple of years, we’ve been in the middle, and now we’re battling up the front with the fast boys, and it’s awesome.
“The city stage was just amazing – there were so many people there, and I had a few mates from school come down to watch, and they loved it.
“I thought it was going to be a challenge to do two events in one day, and I’m super happy with the organisation and how it all ran. Thanks to Ross, Jan, AASA, I just want to thank everyone.”
Engine Shop City Sprint
Also run on Sunday morning in the city was the Engine Shop City Sprint for drivers only (no co-drivers) on the same stage as the City of Perth Rallysprint, which they traversed four times to a total of 8.4 competitive kilometres.
Finishing fasted by about 2.5 seconds was Peter Bergman in his 1990 Mazda MX5 NA-K24. In second place was Alexis Hernandez in a 2001 Mazda MX5, and third place, less than half a second behind, was Harley Owens in his 2007 Subaru WRX.
For full results, click here.
The 2023 Tarmac Events WA Rally Calendar
Make Smoking History Tarmac West
7 – 10 September
The Engine Shop City Sprint
GT Fabrication Bunbury Rallysprint
Make Smoking History Tarmac Cup
Shannons Rallysprint at Perth Motorplex
Five events held on Thursdays once per month from November to March