A dramatic season finale in the P3 Solutions CAMS Queensland Rally Championship has ended with Brayden Wilson being crowned as 2019 state champion.
Wilson had a comfortable lead over the rest of the competition heading into the Inspirations Paint Capalaba Hinterland Rally and only needed to steer his Mitsubishi Evo 9 to the finishing line.
However, it wasn’t meant to be for Wilson and co-driver Blake Wilson, with their Evo suffering mechanical issues during the first stage and eventually they were forced out of the rally after just making it to service.
Fortunately for Wilson, the event was taxing on a number of crews with around 20 different entrants having mechanical issues throughout the day, including title contenders Melinda Bergmann and Larisa Bigger, who found themselves out of the event after just two stages.
With both Wilson and Bergmann out of the event, all eyes were on Glen Brinkman who was the only other driver with any chance to steal the championship from Wilson’s grasp – but the 2018 MTA CAMS NSW Rally champion needed to win the event to force the count back.
Alongside Harvey Smith in another Evo 9, the duo started well after posting the fastest time on two of three first stages, but their fortunes turned in the fourth stage and the leaders succumbed to the pressure – crossing the line more than a minute and half slower than the stage’s fastest driver.
Replacing them at the top of the event standings were Classic Cup leaders Ryan Smart and Hugh Reardon-Smith in the Datsun Stanza and the duo managed to hold onto their lead for the rest of the event, causing a monumental upset.
Brinkman’s slower fourth stage saw the crew finish in fourth place behind Jack Monkhouse and Dale Moscatt in second and the third placed Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith, thus handing a relieved Wilson the title.
“I was pretty unbelievably stoked to take home the championship and knowing the amount of work we put into the car, it was a big sigh of relief to be honest,” Wilson said.
“We knew we had to finish well and we were anxious heading into the event. However as soon as we had the failure, even more nerves kick in especially with the championship on the line. It was not a fun way to end.
“We lost the clutch in the first (stage) but because it’s a sequential gear box, we just kept going and we ended up doing five stages and making it to service, but we then made the call to retire after finding an extra few problems with the car.
“We were pretty anxious when we found out what was wrong with the car after the first stage. We had a few hours to wait and to be honest, I had hopes that Glen wouldn’t win and we were a bit fortunate when he faced issues himself.
“It’s been a lot of hard work that has gone into getting the job done this year but we got there in the end which is just fantastic. Hopefully we can celebrate more in the future.”
While Brinkman may not have won the title, his fourth place moved him into clear second ahead of the round’s winner in Ryan Smart who snuck ahead of Bergmann to finish the year on the podium.
Despite not attending the event, Alan Stean was crowned the 2019 co-driver champion after both Blake Wilson and Larisa Biggar failed to finish the event.
While Smith managed to score points alongside Brinkman, it wasn’t enough to replace Stean nor Wilson in the top two positions, therefore he settled on the final step of the championship podium.