Valley prepares for rally
LEADING rally driver Eli Evans reckons he grew up hoping to one day emulate his brother’s feats behind the wheel.
Though he is now well into his 20s, the Honda driver jokes he is still trying. Eli 26, is 12 years the junior of brother Simon, who holds a huge points lead in the Australian Rally Championship heading into this weekend’s International Rally of Queensland in the Mary Valley.
Evans and co-driver Glen Weston are sixth and within striking distance of a podium finish as they prepare to embark on the penultimate round of the championship.
“Our dad used to do whatever rallies he could and Simon used to go watch him,” Evans said.
“When Simon began racing, he was 18 and I was six and once I was old enough it became my turn.
“I always wanted to be like big brother and, unfortunately, I’m still trying.”
Evans and Weston have been in a partnership for just over a year and performed admirably this season given the massive adjustments Evans has made.
“It’s my first year in a two-wheel drive and they’re a lot harder to drive,” he said.
“I thought if we had a consistent run this season we could finish in the top three.
“If we have a nice, consistent weekend, we’ll make a move up the leaderboard, but the forecast for the next three days is showers, which could make it interesting.
“Whenever it gets slippery or wet, our car can struggle for grip.”
Evans’ championship cause was not helped by a big crash in the third round of the series, at Coffs Harbour in May.
“It required a full rebuild of the car but, thankfully, Glen and I were all right,” he said.
“It was probably a judgement of speed error where I didn’t realise just how fast I was going.
“I’ve been pretty lucky (in terms of injury) so far, touch wood.
“Some call us lucky and we definitely have the parents worried sometimes, but it’s more the disappointment of the mechanics’ faces when they see what we’ve done to the car that hurts.”
The rally will begin with the Coates Hire Rally Shootout at Caloundra’s Sunshine Coast Industrial Park on Friday night and head to the Mary Valley forests Saturday and Sunday.