Herridge and Subaru XV conquer gruelling 2022 safari rally

Friday, 16th September 2022


Last week, Subaru rally champion, Dean Herridge, along with co-driver, Sam Hill, competed in the gruelling Sunraysia Safari Cross Country Rally finishing up an impressive third in class and fifth place overall.

The WA based Maximum Motorsport team entered two Subarus into the competition, Dean drove a Subaru XV and his father, former Australian rally champion Rob Herridge, drove a performance-orientated Forester XT – who finished a notable 13th place overall. 

The Subaru XV driven by Dean was a production-based Subaru XV running a 2.0-litre turbocharged WRX STI Production rally engine, which competed against purpose built off-road racing machinery.

Although this particular Subaru XV has been modified to suit rally competition conditions, Dean and Sam’s performance in the Cross Country Rally demonstrates the capability of a production-based Subaru vehicle across tough terrain.

A four-day event, the Sunraysia Safari Cross Country Rally is based in the beautiful Wentworth region on the edge of Outback NSW. Normally covering over 1200 competitive kilometres of cross-country competition, the 2022 event was shortened due to two legs of the competition washed out because of the heavy rainstorms in the area.

Despite a long and successful rally career, the Sunraysia Safari Rally marked Dean’s first appearance competing in a cross-country rally competition. 

Rally champion, Dean Herridge, commented: “Given this was my first time competing in a cross-country rally event, I came into it just wanting to have a go and curious to see how far we could push the car’s capabilities.

“Over the course of four days, we came across some pretty challenging driving conditions, there were some parts that were complete night and day terrain – one leg would be dry and dusty, the next wet and muddy.

“Considering the Subaru XV was against purpose built off-road vehicles and trucks, we’re very pleased with where we finished in the end. It was an incredible and memorable experience.”

Dean along with co-driver Sam, were running third overall after the first day of the competition, however, some challenging conditions due to rain and storms in the area gave the off-road buggies an advantage on the final day’s 230km stage. Nevertheless, Herridge still claimed a top five finish in a rookie appearance!