After a break from national rally competitions due to Covid19, rally driver Trevor Stilling is eager to test his Nissan Silvia out in the Monaro Stages Rally this Saturday in the Bondi forest region near Bombala. The last long event the Silvia competed in was the Adelaide Australian rally championship in late 2019 where he won outright the 2WD class with codriver Larisa Biggar. The 2020 Australian Rally championship series was cancelled due to Covid border closures. The Monaro stages rally is a round of the NSW and ACT rally championships.
Trevor Stilling, who was the run-away winner of the 2017 Australian Classic Rally Challenge series driving a Datsun Stanza, made a return to racing last year after injuring his back in a bad crash during the classic outback trial at Alice Springs in 2018.
Stilling finished second 2WD in the 2019 Pedder’s Eureka Rush Rally following up with a win in the Adelaide round of the Australian Rally series. He was a serious contender for the 2019 2WD Australian Rally Championship title despite only entering late in the series but was unable to contest the final round of the series as the event was cancelled due to bushfires in the Coffs Harbour region last year. As a result, he finished second in the 2019 2WD Australian Rally Championship series.
Stilling also won plenty of awards in the late 80s and 90s in NSW and ACT events and went on to compete in two Sydney to London endurance races.
Trevor Stilling who has experienced co-driver Anthony Caldwell next to him in the Cooma Nissan Silvia is keen to finish in the top 2WD placings this weekend at the Monaro Stages rally near Bombala. “It’s a long rally but we do have a good service team supporting us”, said Stilling.
With over 30 years of experience as a rally driver, Trevor Stilling will not be deterred by the road conditions dampened by recent rains. ‘Wet roads bring challenges but also makes it a tight race’ said Stilling. When asked about his strategy for the event Stilling said ‘we need to make sure we make it to the end of the rally and our car is prepared for all road conditions’.
Stilling’s Nissan Silvia was a crowd favourite in last year’s Australian Rally championship with the car’s livery in the design of ‘Lighting McQueen’ from the Cars Movie complete with no 95. ‘The previous owner designed the car for his children’, said Stilling. ‘Our fans liked it, so we kept the design’.
Trevor Stilling with codriver Anthony Caldwell attribute High Country Automotive, Alpine Motor Group, Summit Commercial, V Sport Canberra, Bendigo Tyres and Stew Wilkins motorsport and Simply Music Management for their support. ‘Without these supporters it is simply not possible to compete in high level motorsport’, said Stilling.
Stilling’s son, Chris Stilling, who took out several awards last year in his first year of rally driving is currently rebuilding a car for the 2021 season. For this event he is navigating in the Regularity stages for first time driver Jacci Sharkey in a Mitsubishi Mirage. Jacci recently navigated for Andrew Penny in the Blue range rally sprint. When asked if she prefers driving or navigating Sharky said ‘I am not sure what side of the car I prefer, but I really like to understand both sides. I think overall it will make me a better competitor’. The regularity event is only four stages and designed for new competitors to test their skills and their car. Jacci is one to watch out for in the Regularity event this weekend.
The Kosciuszko Automotive Monaro Stages rally commences this Saturday from the Bondi Forest Lodge near Bombala. For more information go to the Light Car Club of Canberra website lightcarclub.org.au.