Exclusive: Rallycross to make Australian comeback
- 9th November 2014, 1:21am
Plans are afoot to re-introduce rallycross to Australia in the very near future. According to Rallysport Mag sources, a new rallycross series, similar to that being run at the moment in the UK, Europe and the USA, is being introduced, initially at a track about an hour’s drive from Melbourne.
While initial details are sketchy, a further announcement will be made once the ink dries on contracts. Rallysport Mag understands that full details of the new series will be announced in the not-too-distant future.
Rallycross was a popular form of motorsport in the 1970s, being held at Melbourne’s Calder Park, Catalina Park at Katoomba in NSW, and at Tailem Bend in South Australia. Factory teams such as Renault, British Leyland, Ford and Holden built cars to the then rallycross regulations, attracting “name” drivers such as Peter Brock, Allan Moffat, Alan Hamilton, Bob Watson, Evan Green, Colin Bond, Barry Ferguson and Bruce Hodgson.
It proved so popular that national television channels became enthused, and at one stage were streaming as much as three hours of live television right around Australia on a Sunday afternoon.
After several successful seasons, rallycross stopped because of difficulties in obtaining suitable permanent circuits, but many lament the disappearance of the high-speed action that the events provided.
Rallycross is a branch of motorsport that combines rallying with racing and is run on a track consisting of part tarmac and part gravel, with jumps and water splashes adding to the excitement. Tracks were long enough to provide exciting racing and short enough for spectators to see the full track.
In the proposed new series, four cars will compete at a time. Eligible vehicles will be cars that fit all CAMS rally categories. It is likely that international categories will be adopted, allowing turbo 4WD vehicles and specially modified cars to compete as well.
Meetings will be held on one day and there are plans to conduct practice, heats and a final for each category on that one-day format.
Overseas, rallycross was born when the Rally of Great Britain was cancelled at the last minute due to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, and has remained, albeit on a smaller scale, particularly in the UK, ever since.
The FIA introduced a World Rallycross Series for 2014, sponsored by Monster Energy drink and, in the USA, Red Bull, and this has proved to be extremely popular. In the 1970s major Australian companies such as Coca Cola and Motorcraft were among the major sponsors.
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