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Letter to the Australian rallying community from Mike Bell, Clerk of Course, 2007 Great Lakes Rally.

"Since the running of the Great Lakes Rally and the Great Lakes Classic Rally in the Forster - Tuncurry region on the mid north Coast of NSW, various media reports and posts on motorsport forums have made some inaccurate claims about this event.


 
The rallies were run by the National Rally Sport Association Inc, a non-profit CAMS affiliated club. We acknowledge there were difficulties on the weekend, and indeed leading up to the event, with issues with communication and itineraries. The commercial radio system was tested in the weeks prior to the event, with no problems encountered.
 
On Saturday morning the southern area commercial radio repeater failed. Local technicians spent all day in an effort to repair it, only for it to fail again on Sunday. Skynet was to be used on Saturday as back-up, but the plane was found to be in the wrong location for that system to work. The plane was repositioned on Sunday.
 
The decision was made to cancel the first two stages on the grounds of safety. With poor radio links it was deemed too dangerous to run these stages.
 
At no time was the event’s safety in question, nor was any stage run without safety and a “green” being given. No competitor’s safety was at stake. Where discrepancies were found in the road book for the classic event, competitor bulletins were issued prior to cars starting the stage, with road crews dealing with issues and being in constant communication with rally base.
 
The organizers accept that many are critical of these and other decisions, but the safely of crews was paramount, rather than keeping to a schedule.
 
Circumstances out of the organisers control prior to the event almost saw the cancellation of the rally due to late finalisation of the itinerary. This is not how the organisers planned for the rally to run, but do accept responsibility for the event.
 
It would have been an easy decision to cancel the rally prior to the event, and even during it, with the event enduring constant radio failure and back-up systems not working as well as planned. A lot of crews would have been disappointed had this have happened.
 
The fact the rally ran is a tribute to the hard working officials who took abuse from some competitors and tried to deal with information as it was given to them. To them, we say thanks, especially to the people who stayed up all night helping out.
 
We would hope that for those who did compete that they enjoyed the rally, despite the delays that we encountered. We fully recognise that we must do better next time.  Once again we apologise to those inconvenienced."
 
Mike Bell
Clerk of Course
Great Lakes Rally
 
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