Preparations are well underway for the penultimate round of the 2018 Australian Tarmac Rally Championship (ATRC), the Snowy River Sprint, on of September 22 and 23, based in the beautiful seaside town of Lakes Entrance, Victoria. Only 18 points separate the top three teams, Danny Traverso and Jason Page, in their Mitsubishi Evo on 196-points, leading Barrie Smith and Dale Moscatt in an Audi TT RS on 188 points, ahead of husband and wife team of Greg and Rhonda Burrowes in another Evo, on 178 points. Keith and son Alex Morling driving a 1976 Escort are showing a clean pair of heels in the Classics series, with a commanding 90-point lead over Stewart McAuley and Phillipe Etienne in their 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera, followed by Mark Clair in another Porsche 911. In the SuperSport championship, where competitors are restricted to a top speed of 140 kph, Andrew Richmond and Chris Thompson in a 2016 Porsche GT4 are leading Oliver Ridge & Luke Ellis in a Nissan Silvia, ahead of Mark and Lacy Biggs in their 2000 Subaru WRX. The Snowy River Sprint is the longest rally in the series with a total competitive distance of 320 km. In keeping with the series format, the roads are tight and challenging. The Snowy River Sprint is not as exacting on the cars as the other rounds; not that competitors can relax. It’s the ideal event for motor sport enthusiasts who are wanting a taste of tarmac rallying. For the leaders in the championship, it's an important event to win. As a popular ABC TV program likes to say, “Anything can happen and probably will.” Whatever the results at Snowy River, the championship is guaranteed to go down to the wire because double points are on offer for the final round, the Great Tarmac Rally (GTR), based around Marysville, on October 13 and 14, 2018. With over 264km of competitive stages over the two days, the GTR is the toughest and most demanding but highly anticipated round of the series. It incorporates the pinnacle of tarmac rally roads in Victoria, the exacting descent from Lake Mountain to Reefton, a stage which keeps bringing competitors back year after year. For 2019, the ATRC is changing its championship calendar. While the Snowy River Sprint is the penultimate round of the 2018 championship, it will also be the first round of the 2019 championship. The 2019 series will finish with a double point event, the rally on Mt Baw Baw, with its celebrated Porcupine Ck stage, the 29 km run from Icy Creek to the Baw Baw summit, with its 354 corners. Porcupine Ck is the most technically challenging stage of the ATRC series and is reminiscent of some of the famous European tarmac stages; a true partnership of driver and navigator. Entries are now open for the Snowy River and Great Tarmac Rallies. The ATRC tries to accommodate most rally vehicle classes. There is also a Touring category (limited 130 kph), Target Times (limited 130 kph) and the SuperSport class (limited 140 kph). The ATRC are Rally Safe events. For further information contact: Peter Washington on 0418 337 955 or visit the Australian Tarmac Rally Championship website.
  • Story: Mark A. Biggs.
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