Long-time rally competitor and fan, Steve Jones, recently spent a day helping his local car club when he officiated at the Narooma Rally in NSW. Here's his first-hand account on the day.

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I have been involved in motorsport in many ways for more years than I am ready to confess. Growing up in North Eastern Victoria, in the town that hosted the Alpine Rally and watching some of our rally greats have a blast around Bright Speedway, as well as seeing the London to Sydney cars come through our area, may give the game away on my age! I also have to admit that while I have enjoyed all the different forms of motorsport, forest rallying is really where my heart is. One factor that is always on my mind is that it is easy, in any sport, to do more competition than it is to do volunteering. With that in mind, and as a member of the Brindabella Motor Sport Club, I put my hand up and volunteered to help out at the recent Narooma Rally. I was allocated an SOS road closure for the day. One thing that was immediately apparent is that is easy to be complacent about what is actually involved behind the scenes in organising and running an event. The countless hours and effort that is put in by people who, are mostly invisible, leading up to and on the day of the event, and then of course the follow up, is incredible. As competitors, we have a lot to be thankful for, as without this huge effort by the clubs and volunteers, there would not be any hope of ever turning a wheel. I left Canberra at sun up, and despite a short delay due to an overturned sewerage truck on the Clyde Mountain (I was talking to the trapped driver and suggested he was in S@#t in more ways than one!!), I arrived at the assembly point with time to spare. We met our stage commander, who gave us a briefing, and then we all joined the escort out in to the forest where we were dropped off at our respective points. There was a mix of people from the car clubs, and some locals who were just keen to help out.

The obligatory snags on the BBQ were part of Steve Jones' day at the Narooma Rally.

My “spot” was about a third of the way in to the stage. A hard left into a sweeping left hander and then a sweeping right. Fantastic! My own private spectator point!!! As this stage was run twice, it made it a long day but, it also provided some great viewing, getting to see the cars run past again. I did have a bit of company, as some locals turned up to watch, and some media as well. At the end of the day I assisted with the packing up and then headed back to Canberra very happy, even if a little dusty. If you are thinking about volunteering, here are a few tips that might help once you are out in the forest.
  • The obligatory sunscreen, hat and plenty of water to get you through the day. I took plenty of snacks and some lunch, as once you are in there it will be a while before you come out.
  • It was very cold to start with early in the day, and cold again once the sun started to set, so take appropriate clothing.
  • The forest at the moment is tinder dry, so take care! It gets dusty, so try and keep your car closed and have some extra water to have a wash!
  • Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the day!
Once again, a big thanks to all the volunteers that helped make this happen. It was a great event and I, for one, certainly enjoyed it. So, if you are keen on rallying and thinking about a way to get involved, then join a club and take a look at the different ways you can help out. The people are great and being out in the forest, seeing the cars close up, is a real treat.
  • Story by Steve Jones
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