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South-east Queensland will host its last rally of the year in special circumstances this weekend, with the 25th anniversary of the first Gallangowan event.

The Goodyear Autocare Rally 2008 is supported by local rally identity John Spencer.
Gallangowan is a small forestry township two hours north of Brisbane, and was first discovered by the legendary Jim Reddiex back in the mid eighties. Jim was an active rally director at the time and always looking for new roads and forest venues.

What he found at Gallangowan was rally nirvana. A small community welcomed the rally crowd with open arms, offering to cater all day and night, and provided a large sports oval ideal for a central service park.

Despite the fact the Forestry workers have all but disappeared from the area, the local chief forester is always happy to see the current organising committee back each year. David Nash, Neil Michel, Barry Neuendorff and Sheridan Hetherman are the team currently responsible for delivering the ‘grand final’ of the rally season.

In an effort to respect the lengthy history of the Gallangowan event, a ‘Legends Dinner’ is to be held on Friday night where all podium place-getters over the past 25 years have been invited. 150 people will be in attendance to celebrate the moment, and recall past successes, and failures.

For 2008, 62 entries have been received for what promises to be a very competitive 100 kilometre rally route. Given the special nature of the rally, a number of semi-retired competitors have been lured up to the old stomping ground.

Perhaps the most notable is the old pairing of Murray Coote and Iain Stewart, who will be competing in the infamous mid-engined Datsun 1200 Coupe built by Coote in the early 80’s.

Peter Glennie, himself a former owner of the nimble little Datsun, will be back to compete in his Landcruiser off-road monster – this time with Barrie Burr calling the corners.

Past QRC champion, Wayne Hoy, will be competing with Lisa Dunkerton in the left hand seat, and the Callinan family will be present with Keith and Mary Anne entered in an Alfa Romeo.

At the other end of the technical spectrum are a flock of Mitsubishi Evolutions, including three-time Gallangowan winners Glenn Brinkman/Steve Richardson and 2008 QRC champions Ryan and Rebecca Smart (in different vehicles this weekend).

Leading the field away will be the event sponsor John Spencer in his rapid Datsun 1600 classic rally car. He has somehow enticed good mate and past champion, Craig Lee, into the role of co-driver.

The state and national champions in the entry list are too many to mention, and while the competitive nature of a champion never ceases, the message in this event is ‘have fun!’.

It has also been confirmed that Ross Dunkerton will be making an appearance at the event, with a view to providing one lucky punter with a ride on the Friday afternoon test session.

Competition commences at about midday on Saturday, with the first car scheduled to finish by about 8.00pm. Overnight camping is encouraged.

What a way to end the year.
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