“Hey, send them around again!” was the common call from spectators at this year’s ARC events where Australian Classic Rally Association’s (ACRA) cars competed in the inaugural Front of Field competition as part of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

Held to commemorate and honour 40 years of the continuous running of the ARC, ACRA assembled notable entries from its membership ranks to not only display their cars but to compete in them and relive the glory days when webbers, sideways action and rear wheel drive were kings.

Multiple Australian Rally Champion, Ross Dunkerton, entered his ex-Judd Escort BDA along with former 2GO and Alpine Rally winner, Ian Hill, in his Escort RS1800. Keith Callinan ran a similar car and they were joined by series leader Jeff David in a Porsche 911. Other cars included a TR7V8, Commodores, Mazdas and Datsun 180Bs and Datsun 1600s

In past ARC’s it was always a battle between the Escorts and Stanzas. Alpine winner Darryn Snooks competed, along with Scott McCloy and Nicola Testa, all in Stanzas with Testa’s in resplendent East African Marlboro livery.

Bill Dunn, president of ACRA said, “2010 was the culmination of a lot of work by our club to relive those great days. Our member’s cars are built to suit the CAMS classic regulations that recognise cars prior to 1982. Cars that compete in 2011 with us will comply with those regulations. Classic rallying is one of the fastest growing areas of motorsport worldwide with events overseas often fielding over 200 cars.

“A number of our members are interested in competing in some of the other great Classic events and with our CAMS Classic regs recognizing the FIA formula of the time, very few modifications, if any, are needed for those members to compete overseas with their cars. Conversely, it’s easy for overseas competitors to adapt to our local regs.

“Our club is about remembering and preserving part of our Australian rally heritage. We are not about rallying old cars with later model engines – that’s for others to do and there are events to suit those cars planned for next year.  

“A number of high profile members will join with club regulars for 2011, ensuring sensational spectating for all who come to watch. We expect to field at least 15 “Classic” cars at each event,” Dunn added.

“Interest in our competition for 2011 has been amazing and we ensured that our 2010 efforts gained plenty of publicity to make sure spectators could come and see our cars in action and meet the crews, many of whom competed back in those early days, one with his original sponsor who helped out again!

“These cars are the DNA of our sport and its good to see them being used again at the front of the field at ARC events,”  Dunn said.

ACRA’s Classics will participate in the Front of Field competition at the ARC in the following events in 2011:

16/17th April - Quit Forest Rally (WA)
13/15th May - International Rally of Queensland (Subject to FIA)
30/31st July - Scouts Rally SA

Negotiations with additional events are underway and a revised calendar for 2011 will be posted on ACRA’s web site.

Expressions of interest to participate in ACRA’s Classic Competition are free. Each crew member must be a member of ACRA.

For more information call: Dallas Dogger 0414343223 or dsdogger@iinet.net.au

A sample of the Classics in Action at Coffs Harbour can be seen in this video

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