Well hello rallying, it's so nice to have you back where you belong.
Apologies to Louis Armstrong, but for a while there it didn't seem that we'd ever get our favourite sport up and running again.
In this crazy year 2020, rallying is a whole lot different, and the sport can't thank the North Shore Sporting Car Club enough for their pioneering work in getting the first event off the ground.
You could write a book on the hoops that the NSSCC organising team had to jump through in order to get the rally to run. Everywhere you looked there was something 'different' that wouldn't have been there prior to COVID-19.
From the two and a half days it took to set up the service park, to the sanitiser and latex gloves on the table at time controls, reminders of Coronavirus were everywhere.
It may have become the norm across the country, but seeing competitors being temperature checked as they pulled up to the first control was a tad confronting, and a harsh reminder that we're not through this yet.
Event officials record competitors' body temperatures at the start of the Rally of the Bay. Photo: Peter Whitten
It was great to be back amongst the 'rally family' though. The sport is so widespread and diverse that many only see each other on events, so many friendships were again rekindled.
At the start of the day there were fist bumps and awkward elbow taps galore – as per the new protocols. Once the rally was done and dusted though, handshakes and hugs were more the norm as teams celebrated with their weary drivers and co-drivers.
The work that the NSSCC did to make the Rally of the Bay happen was staggering, and will assist all events that follow it in 2020, whether they be in NSW or in other states of Australia.
Some states, like Victoria, may be slower in resuming competition than others, but to have rallying back again was like a breath of fresh air for those of us who live for it.
Post COVID-19, everything is done by the book and recorded, just in case. Photo: Peter Whitten
It's true that the sport may never be the same again, but by continuing with some of the new protocols and event strategies that were put in place at Batemans Bay, that may not be a bad thing.
Streamlining operations, doing away with time cards, and even having event officials watching and monitoring the RallySafe system from home (and hundreds of kilometres away) may not be a bad thing.
The world has had to evolve and change the way we live in 2020, and rallying will be no different.
Here's to the future.
Gloves and hand sanitiser were a common addition to control zones at the Rally of the Bay. Photo: Peter Whitten
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