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The Australian Rally Championship takes a step back in time next month with four night stages on the itinerary for the next round of the series. With Lightforce as the event’s major sponsor, the choice might be more by necessity than desire, but it’s a great move, and one that should be embraced by competitors and fans. It offers a fantastic opportunity for the sport to return to a previous time when night stages were the norm, rather than the exception. Night rallying requires quite a different skill set for drivers, and drivers brought up on daylight rallying may take some time to adjust. But it’s the perfect chance to showcase a major sponsor’s product. It also provides an incredible experience for spectators where sight, sound and smell all play an equally important part. If you haven’t been spectating at night, do yourself a favour and get out on the Rally SA stages on the Saturday night. The four stages, two run twice, add up to 56km of the first Heat’s 111km of competitive distance, meaning that they could have a huge bearing on the result. Last year’s night stages were run in parts of the Mt Crawford Forest where kangaroos were a real problem, but this year organisers have selected two shire road stages, Goldfields and Trial Hill. While this doesn’t mean ‘roos will not be a concern, it will certainly reduce the possibility of a competitor having their event compromised by an unwanted altercation. Top marks to Lightforce Rally SA organisers for their decision to continue with night stages in 2017. We’re hoping it will become a regular feature of the event, and one that other events consider as well.
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