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A Tasmanian invasion this Friday will set the scene for an outstanding Olde BP Tasmania Rallye as mainland competitors hit the Island State in readiness to take on the Tassie stars in the classic rally event.

The Olde BP Tasmania Rallye will run in the forests in the north of the State, extending from Devonport across to Scottsdale, with 21 of the 25 drivers in the rally coming from interstate. It sets an awesome challenge for the four locals contesting the event.

The four local Tasmanian drivers include David Allwright (Mazda RX2), James Willson (Datsun Stanza), Craig Sault (Holden Commodore VL) and Darren Clarke (Mazda RX3). There’s no doubt they will have their work cut out with names like former Australian Rally Champions David and Kate Officer in a Mitsubishi Colt Galant in the mix.

Other outstanding interstate entries include Ian Swan (Volvo 242 DL), a front running competitor in Australian Rallying from the 60s and 70s, Matt Philip, Bob Watson (Holden EH) the name to beat in BP rallies in the 60s, and Ross Runnalls who has won the last three BP Rallies as a co-driver.

Many of the local and interstate drivers will also be joined by local navigators for the event, including Ralph Price, who will be joined by well known Tasmanian navigator Greg Preece, a winner of Targa Tasmania and a former state rally champion.

A great story for the event is the entry of James and Daniel Willson from Dover, south of Hobart. The young Willson Brothers (both around 25 years of age) are well known in Tasmanian rallying, having recently competed in the Tasmanian round of the Australian Rally Championship. As very young competitors they’ll have their work cut out with less experience of this style of navigational rallying.

Lin Gigney, of the event management team, says getting both the mainland and young competitors into the event is a coup in itself.

“The Olde BP Tasmania Rallye is the sort of event that the guys who rallied in the 60s, 70s and 80s are coming back to experience.  Many of the older competitors have been around the block with this style of navigation before and it might be quite a challenge for the young fellas.

“That said, many of the younger guys currently in rallying have a long history in the sport through the involvement of fathers, mothers or uncles and these guys are probably no exception. It’s great for us to have a spread of ages and States involved.”

The event starts concurrently in Hobart and Devonport at 10am on Saturday, September 2 at the Derwent Entertainment Centre and the Devonport Mall The event travels through Deloraine, Launceston, Scottsdale, St Helens via the northern forests, with a finish at Archers Manor in Launceston on Sunday, September 3 in the early afternoon.

The Olde BP Tasmania Rallye carries on the BP tradition of driving skill, navigation ability and vehicle reliability.  Victorian drivers who are starved of forestry roads will find plenty to keep them happy in the Olde BP Rallye, and  the navigators will definitely be kept busy!

Unlike most modern rallies run on closed roads and timed to the second, the BP is a true road event, held under normal road rules and speed limits, with a variety of road conditions to be encountered.  The BP is always an event which goes places, and this one will cover a wide area of northern Tasmania.

Event details are available by visiting the HRA website www.hra.org.au.

The Olde BP Tasmanian Rallye Competitors        
Ian Swan / Matt DeVaus, Volvo 242 DL
Ralph Price / Greg Preece, Volvo 144 GT
Brian Canny / Larry Walker, Peugeot 404
Steve Canny / Tim Shepherd, Peugeot 504 TI
Matt Philip / Ric Bainbridge, Mercedes Benz 300 SE
Alan Upton / Mark Laidlay, Datsun Bluebird
David McAdam / Robert Wilson, Holden Commodore
Steven Coutts-Smith / Stuart Snooks, Volvo 242 GT
Kim Harper / Jenny Cole, Ford Escort
Geoff Ninnes/Dave Gallacher, Mitsubishi Galant
David Officer / Kate Officer, Mitsubishi Colt Galant
David Cooper / Harold Percey, Mercedes Benz 280S
Rick Hartmann / Dave Smith, Datsun Bluebird P510
Peter Fulton / George Davidson, Datsun Stanza 510
David Allwright / David Button, Mazda RX2
Bob Watson / Graeme Vaux, Holden EH
Terry Naish / Ross Runnalls, Datsun 1600
Graham Wallis / Phil Nicholas, Peugeot 404
Rob Dyer / David McKenzie, Peugeot 404
James Willson / Daniel Willson, Datsun Stanza  
Craig Sault / Ian Wiggins, Holden Commodore VL
Darren Clarke/Tim Gadsby, Mazda RX3
Selwyn Lahey/David Weldon, Holden Commodore
Doug Norman/Jeff Stewart, Peugeot 504
John Rawson/David Fiddyment, Ford Escort

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