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Former Australian Rally Champion and director of the successful 1995 Mobil 1 Trial, Bob Watson, is planning a Round Australia-style event next year to coincide with Rally Australia.
 
Starting in early September and finishing on September 13, the event would be held in the lead up to Australia’s round of the World Rally Championship – Rally Australia – which moves to Queensland next year.

The concept of the Round Australia Trial is to have a number of starting points around Australia, with separate semi-competitive assembly runs of roughly the same length taking crews to a central assembly point at Alice Springs.
 
After a rest day in Alice there will be a six or seven day special stage rally over outback tracks in the Northern Territory and Queensland – typical of the early Round Australia events – to the finish. Total event duration will be 10-12 days, with the total distance covered including the assembly stage of approximately 9,000km.
 
As in the Mobil 1 Trial of 1995, the rally proper will include a ‘Challenge’ section with an easier course and stage times. The intention is to keep the entry fee in the region of $5,500 for the Trial, and $4,000 for the Challenge.
 
Restrictions on duration and length dictate that the event will not be ‘around Australia’ in the true sense, but will provide competitors with an event and an adventure typical of the classic Round Australia trials.
 
In contrast to Rally Australia, which features the world’s fastest rally cars and drivers, the Round Australia vehicle eligibility will be for Historic and Classic rally cars in line with CAMS regulations, with the addition of Production Rally Cars (PRC) up to 1985. Turbocharged and 4WD vehicles will not be eligible.
 
The Round Australia Trial concept has been welcomed by Rally Australia organising committee Chairman, Garry Connelly, as its proposed close official association with Rally Australia will publicise the International event in outback towns and encourage people to attend the World Championship round.
 
Watson is currently discussing with Rally Australia organisers ways in which the Round Australia cars can support Rally Australia, including the possibility that the historic cars may run ahead of the WRC cars on some Rally Australia special stages and participate in the popular evening Super Stage.
 
Round Australia Trial organisers are looking for a field of 100 cars to make the rally viable and a firm decision on whether to conduct the event will be made by the middle of this year.
 
Interested parties should contact Bob Watson at bobwatso@bigpond.net.au or on 03 9646 1066.
 
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