Outback traillers test skills against champs
TESTING your time against some of the world's best professional race drivers may seem a strange desire after driving more than 2200km through the bush.
But for the 40, two-person crews who will take part in the Frontier Services Classic Outback Trial that starts in Forbes later this month and ends during the Tweed round of the World Rally Championship on September 5, this dream will soon be reality.
“We'll be competing in the special stages and will compete on the same tracks as the WRC drivers,” said event director Phillip Bernadou.
“Our drivers are really looking forward to being able to compare their times on these stages to the rally drivers, because they are undoubtedly some of the best in the world.
“In fact, combining the trial with the rally was our aim last year when we ran the Alice Springs to Gold Coast Trial, but the rally never went ahead.”
Accompanied by an estimated 200 crew, organisers and supporters, the Classic Outback Trial will feature cars made before 1995 and is similar to the reliability trails that raced through the Northern Rivers in the 1950s and 60s.
Like the “bash” events organised by the children's charity Variety, the Classic Outback Trial will raise money for Rev John Flynn's Frontier Services, which assists Australians living in remote areas.
After leaving Forbes, the drivers will head off the beaten track, through isolated rural NSW towns, before reaching the Tweed on September 4.
“This is not a 'bash', but a serious motor sport event for classic and historic rally cars,” Mr Bernadou said.
“This rally will be less arduous than last year, but will still be a test of the crew's skill and perseverance.”
The drivers, crew, organisers and supporters will “take over” the Tweed Ultima for the weekend event and will hold a gala awards presentation at the Tweed Heads high-rise on September 5.
“We're pleased to be part of the bigger program and think we'll add something extra that the Speed on Tweed and rally events can't because we are a different style of event,” Mr Bernadou said.
“It's not just about the racing; for some of the competitors this will be their first chance to see the WRC drivers in action.”
For more information visit www.classicoutbacktrial.com.auRallying round • WRC Rally Australia, Tweed and Kyogle Shire from September 3-6. Tickets for the rally are available from Ticketek: Three-day pass, $45 adult; $27 concession; Weekend pass, $35 adult, $21 concession; Saturday or Sunday pass $22 adult, $13.20 concession. • Series of special stages were WRC cars screech through Murwillumbah CBD as well as rural locations. Check the website atwww.rallyaustralia.com for more information. • Speed on Tweed events will coincide with the WRC and run from September 4-6. For more information visitwww.speedontweed.com.au