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Entrants in the 2009 Classic Outback Trial from August 31-September 5 will share some of the marquee stages of Repco Rally Australia with competitors in the World Rally Championship round as a fitting climax to their event.

After five days and 18 timed stages from the Trial’s start in Forbes, Classic Trial entrants will conclude their 2260km adventure with four fast and furious timed stages over the WRC course in north-eastern New South Wales.

The first on Friday (September 4) will be at night on the Repco Rally Australia Super Special Stage tarmac course on the streets of Murwillumbah.

The next day (Saturday, September 5), Trial entrants will compete over three of the actual unsealed Repco Rally Australia special stages  – two immediately after the WRC cars and the last ahead of the International rally field.

A major attraction for COT entrants of sharing roads with WRC competitors is that the average maximum speeds required for the Trial’s earlier stages do not apply on the Repco Rally Australia course.

“Classic Outback Trial entrants are in for a fantastic ride,” said event organiser Philip Bernadou, who has just completed the fourth official survey of the course in the Trial’s Nissan X-Trail Diesel Official Course Survey vehicle. “This will be as good as it gets for a classic rally!”

Using private properties and forestry roads, the Trial will take around 50 entrants in classic rally cars and recreational 4WDs built up to 1995 on a journey from Forbes in Western New South Wales to the bright lights of the Tweed area – one of the fastest growing regions of Australia.

Forbes was chosen as the Trial’s starting point because of its central location for Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian entrants, its compact size and its access to challenging roads on large rural properties and state forests in the adjoining Forbes and Condobolin shires.

Many of the property tracks have been opened for the first time to Trial competitors, guaranteeing entrants a unique event, with up to 40 per cent of the route competitive on some days.

Setting the course has been a challenging exercise for the X-Trial, taking Nissan’s popular ‘soft-roader’ over terrain more suited to a larger Patrol or a Pathfinder 4WD.

“The X-Trail has been amazing,” said Bernadou. “Searching for the most exciting-possible Trial course has taken us through creek crossings, gullies and rough terrain that we will not be asking competitors to experience, but apart from two punctures, the X-Trail never let us down. And as a major bonus it has consistently delivered well under 9.0 litres/100km, no matter how hard, or where we have driven it.”

Starting on Monday August 31, the Classic Outback Trial will spend two nights in Forbes, two nights in Coonabarabran and a further night in Glen Innes before spending itsocialises final two nights in Tweeds Heads, where it will join Repco Rally Australia competitors.

As well as the competitive Trial, there is also a parallel Classic Outback Tour to Repco Rally Australia for enthusiasts in all types and age of vehicles, led by COT committee-member and 1970 Australian Rally Champion, Bob Watson. The Tour will follow following the Trial on good quality roads, visit interesting sites and socialise with Trial competitors at night.

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