Coffs Coast Rally set to deliver
- 30th April 2010, 8:42am
The Australian Rally Championship, of which the Coffs Coast Rally is a round this year, is over 40 years old and in times past, Ford Escorts and Datsun Stanzas ruled the rally roads around the Coffs Harbour area and spectators will have a chance to see them again at this year's event.
Ross Dunkerton, a multiple Australian Rally Champion winner will compete in his Ford Escort RS1800 and will be joined by a number of leading ‘Classic’ crews, including former ARC driver, Will Orders, in a full replica of the famous Hugh Bell RX-7 that thrilled the crowds in ARC rallies of the 80's. These cars are sure to ignite the old Ford v Datsun battles seen in Coffs Harbour in past years. Some of these cars are worth over $150,000, their owners not afraid to drive them like they used to be driven!
Washed out by torrential rain last year, the Coffs Harbour and District Sporting Car Club have rebuilt the rally in conjunction with the local forestry who have worked wonders on the roads traditionally used by the event.
"Many roads we used in the past were damaged badly after the storms last year," Rally Manager Martin Quinn said. Quinn, a former front running competitor and now Team Manager for his son, an ARC regular in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, has put down his spanners to run the event for the club.
Victorian driver Scott Pedder leads the Australian Rally Championship in his Mitsubishi EVO 9 after two rounds and is looking forward to the challenge of the Coffs Coast Rally.
"I have never competed in Coffs Harbour as a driver however I navigated once for my brother Mark in the 90’s but that's a long time ago. I know some of the roads in the area have legendary status and I can guarantee that despite my not knowing the roads, the fight will be on between me and Simon Evans in his Subaru. His car might be faster on the straight bits but we are fast in the tighter stuff".
Round 2 of the NSW Rally Championship will be conducted in conjunction with the Australian Rally Championship component and many of the top runners in the local series are expected to compete. John Mitchell leads the championship in his Mitsubishi EVO 6. With over double of the competitive distance of the first round held in Lithgow earlier this year, the Coffs Coast Rally is sure to be a challenge for NSW crews. Mitchell, who lives on the NSW central coast, is favourite and is no stranger to Coffs Harbour.
Rallies have been forced to reduce their competitive distances for a number of different reasons and as part of the Australian Championship review last year, an endurance styled event was sought. The Allied Air Conditioning Coffs Coast Rally will deliver over 295 competitive kilometres - the longest in the 2010 Australian Championship.
Clerk of Course Martin Quinn commented that the longer stages, combined with roads never before used, will test the skills of all crews. “With a service halt in the historic town of Glenreagh, many hundreds of people will get to see the cars in action, and who wouldn't want to see Escort BDAs and Datsun Stanzas at full noise in the forest?"
The rally starts at 1pm on Friday May 14 with a Super Special stage at the Coffs Harbour Showground. Cars will use this stage three times during the event.
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