The Politics of Rally Racing
25 May 1999
Media Release - Motorsport - Rallying BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia May 26th The Member for Blair Rallies for a New 'Seat'! When Cameron Thompson does a bit of 'mud slinging' over the weekend of June 4th - 6th, his political rivals need not worry as the Federal Member for Blair will not be gunning for the opposition, unless they too enter the Falken Tyres Rally Queensland! As a Liberal politician, Cameron is a seasoned campaigner, having defeated Pauline Hanson for the seat of Blair after having been first pre-selected over the legendary Jim Killen. However, he is also a seasoned campaigner in the world of motorsport and will co-drive the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO III of Nambour's rally ace, Bruce Dummett. Their 4WD turbocharged 'pocket rocket' rally car is arguably the fastest in Queensland and the pair are indeed the second highest seeded Queensland duo in this the second round of the Australian Rally Championship Super Series. Thompson has rallied to a new challenge in the big event. He's already captured a new 'seat', sitting in for an injured Tom Smith as co-driver (the co-driver reads the pace notes and is absolutely vital in a good rally team), in the Nambour Radiator Works Mitsubishi. The team is also racing the clock on another issue, the specialised rally car is under going an intensive repair and refurbishment program following the crash that injured Smith - he cracked his sternum in the rallying accident - just four weeks ago. Falken Tyres and Grace Mitsubishi have already come to the 'party' in helping the team prepare and repair for the biggest rally in Queensland this year. Dummett and Thompson will be targeting the country's best drivers and crew in the gruelling 730km event, held entirely on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and based from Caloundra. Tom Smith will also be on hand to help the team and is looking forward to watching his replacement at work! "Cameron has extensive motor sport experience," says Smith, "He did a lot of rallying in the Northern Territory prior to shifting to Brisbane and he's a rallying 'nut'. He has now competed in south-east Queensland for some years and when his parliamentary time permits, he'll usually be found sitting beside someone in a local rally event." Thompson comes from the Northern Territory, where he worked for senior Ministers and came to Brisbane where he worked as a speech writer/adviser for then Deputy State Leader Joan Sheldon. He eventually decided to run for politics himself. He is married with three boys and his middle son is named Ari - after the legendary rally driver, Ari Vatanen! While the Dummett / Thompson team race the clock in preparation for the big event, the Sunshine Coast prepares for an invasion of rally competitors from all around Australia as 77 crews head for Caloundra, base of the three day, 730km event. The factory Subaru team of Possum Bourne and Craig Vincent, the defending Australian Champions and winners here last year, faces a strong challenge from Canberra's Neal Bates and former Sunshine Coaster, Coral Taylor in their WRC Toyota Corolla. The two top seeds have a myriad challengers including father and son combination, NSW's John and Damien Long in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO V and Queensland's top seeded pairing, Stewart Reid and Anthony McLoughlin in their debut event with a brand new Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VI. The rally is also a contributing round of the Queensland Rally Championship, with local competitors boosting entry numbers substantially. Many leading Queensland crews will push the speed of the regular ARC teams, as they enjoy the opportunity of competing against the National regulars. Event organisers have also generously offered the event for inclusion in the Queensland segment of the 'Australian Rallysport News Junior Rally Challenge ' for drivers under 25 years of age. Those drivers will only need to complete the first heat of the rally, but the experience gained from the pace-noted event will be immeasurable. However, there'll be no 'dirty politics' in car 47. Bruce Dummett and Cameron Thompson will be out to capture a few 'votes' of their own come June 4th and the start of the big rally from Caloundra. Organised by the Brisbane Sporting Car Club, the second round of the Australian Rally Championship will feature Australia's top rally crews and machinery, fighting out both outright and two-litre honours between June 4-6th.