Bumper field for Rally of the Bay
- 29th August 2012, 10:06am
When nominations closed on Monday night the rally entry list revealed four Classic rally machines heading the field as well as 16 outright NSW State Championship contenders and 37 competitors in the Realistic Car Rentals NSW Clubman Series, Shannons ACT Rally Series and Rallyschool Excel series.
The rally is set to be flagged away by the Eurobodalla mayor Fergus Thomson as well as the State local member Andrew Constance at the conclusion of a morning of festivities at Corrigans Beach Reserve starting at around 10am this Saturday.
According to Col Fletcher, the clerk of course for the Kumho Tyres Rally of the Bay, the 58-car entry will ensure great competition as well as providing terrific spectating for the many fans expected in the forests around Batemans Bay this weekend.
"It is a quality field and we are very pleased with both the number and calibre of entries for the Kumho Rally of the Bay," said Col Fletcher.
"As organisers we are re-establishing the Rally of the Bay and it is a building process, we have already gained a reputation for some of the best roads in NSW and that is why we have attracted such an exciting array of drivers and cars," said Col Fletcher.
"The battle for the NSW State Championship is going to be exciting but there are three or four rallies within the Kumho Tyres Rally of the Bay and it is going to be fascinating seeing the various battles in the different classes and categories in the forest this Saturday," he added
The strong and high calibre entry for the rally, which is round two of the NSW State Rally Championship, is a pleasing result for the organisers, Sydney's North Shore Sporting Car Club and Canberra's Brindabella Motor Sports Club and gives the event a strong foundation for building the profile of the rally on the South coast in coming years.
Outright winner of the 2011 Rally of the Bay Ben Barker will start first car on the road leading the Classic contingent as part of round two of the East Coast Classic Rally Challenge in his BMW M3 with a pair of thoroughbred Ford Escort RS1800s in the hands of Australian rally legend Ed Mulligan and Bega rally veteran Max Roberts starting behind him.
No less than ten state of the art four wheel drive turbo cars will be fighting out the NSW State Championship points with Gavin Croker seeded at car one in his Mitsubishi Evo ahead of the Evo 7 of Sydney's Aidan Falvey at car 2 and Canberra rally veteran and Brindabella club president John Stilling in a rapid Evo 9.
Chris Giddins completes a pack of Mitsubishis at the head of the State Championship field in his Evo 8 ahead of the Subaru WRX of Canberra's Michael Harding while the smoky in the pack is the rapid Adam Kennedy from Armidale in his Evo 3.
"Any one of these guys is capable of winning the Kumho Rally of the Bay while guys like Adam Casmiri, who is an up and coming driver and finalist in this year's Rallyschool Australian Junior Rally Challenge, but running back in the Clubman field, could be a chance for outright victory," said Col Fletcher.
"Then there are other guys like Canberra's Jon Waterhouse in a Subaru who has vast experience and could produce a surprise on Saturday, he added.
As well as the four wheel drive turbos there is a fleet of spectacular two wheel drive cars including roaring V8 Commodores, turbo Nissan Silvia's, venerable but fast Datsuns as well as Corollas, Celicas, Lancers, Mirage and Geminis along with a lone Mitsubishi Sigma swelling the impressive field.
The rally will be run over nine special stages totalling more than 135 kilometres of competition with the first car to flagged away at 12noon at Corrigans and the first car set to cross the finish line at McKay Park at around 8.30pm on Saturday night.
There will be an array of activities and fun at the start tointerest visitors of all ages. These include truck and gear displays by NSW Fire & Rescue and the Rural Fire Service as well as the SES and personnel and boat display by NSW Marine Rescue not to mention some fascinating displays by the local Hot Rod Club and the Eurobodalla Classic and Veteran car club.
In addition there will be Kumho helium balloons and face painting for the kids, a display by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service with its chopper and the Batemans Bay Basketball club is holding a "shoot the hoop" competition with prizes including a number of dinners for two at the Bay Waters Resort.
As well as all that the Lions Club will have a sausage sizzle, the Rotary Club will be manning a donut van, the Coffee Driven Mobile Café will have espresso coffee on hand and Reggies Ice Creams will have its ice cream van on site to add to the carnival atmosphere.
Batemans Bay and surrounding areas is set to reap a windfall of more than a half a million dollars in economic impact from the Kumho Rally.
The rally will deliver more than 1000 bed nights over the weekend at a time when tourism numbers are at their lowest, providing a major boost to a range of Bay businesses.
A full spectator guide is published in this week's Bay Post.
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