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Home News Datzilla's 10th start in 100th running of Alpine Rally

Datzilla's 10th start in 100th running of Alpine Rally


One of Australia's most iconic motorsport events, the Alpine Rally, returns this weekend with a top quality list of contenders.


Amongst the front runners will be Brendan Reeves who, with Kate Catford alongside, will contest the event in his highly modified Datsun 1600, known as Datzilla.


This year's Alpine Rally marks the tenth outing for Datzilla which debuted at the same event in 2019.  Reeves built the car with the goal of winning the Alpine Rally and he has spent the past few years developing the car and focusing on its reliability.


Since the car's debut, Reeves has entered multiple events for the purpose of practice and preparation, and is confident he is taking a reliable car into this weekend's event.

Brendan Reeves' highly modified Datsun 1600 rally car known as Datzilla


Riding along with Reeves and Catford will be 20 lucky supporters, whose names appear on Datzilla's bonnet, courtesy of a fundraising effort by the team.


Based out of Gippsland in eastern Victorian, this year's Alpine Rally celebrates 100 years since the event first took place, and has drawn a capacity field of 110 crews. 


Running over four days, the event will be a real test of both crew and machine, and Reeves admits there will need to be a lot of strategy involved to get to the finish line.


Starting on Thursday, 1 December around 1pm, the rally will comprise 420 kilometres of competitive driving. The second full day of the rally (Saturday) will see crews travel as far as Omeo and it's this day in particular that Reeves is most looking forward to.


"The stages to Omeo were originally included in the last running of the Alpine (2019) but had to be cancelled due to bushfires and then heavy rainfall in the area just prior to the event,” Reeves said.


"I was really looking forward to tackling those roads which are more hard-packed and open than the majority of the stages in the rally, so to have the chance to compete on them this time round is very exciting."


Reeves and Catford, who have built up an excellent partnership in the car over the past year or so, will start as car 2 on the road on Thursday.  The rally's opening three stages will be run close to Lakes Entrance and, at the end of the first day, crews will be reseeded based on their times on day 1.


"There's been a lot of pre-event talk about road position but we will just take what comes," Reeves commented. "Obviously, if it's dusty, being at the head of the field is an advantage but then you have the loose road surface to deal with."


"We will focus on finding our rhythm on Thursday. It's a long event so taking a measured approach, whilst also setting a good pace, will be key."


The Ceremonial Start for this year's Alpine Rally will take place on Thursday, 1 December at 1pm on the Lakes Entrance Foreshore, with competitors to finish the event some 72 hours later.


Image: Wishart Media