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Many competitors at the 2007 EcoPoint Murramarang Bay Stages Rally were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Coral Taylor and Neal Bates running the controls at the start of SS2 on Saturday.  It was a wonderful example of professionals who are willing to give something back to the amateurs of the sport.

Their willingness to be contributors to the sport was a great highlight of the event, from the perspective of the "Plan B Rally Team".

Thanks Coral and Neal!  And thanks also to Ian Bigg and his team who ran a superb event.

Ben Smoker,


As a rally person with quite a number of events under my belt in US and Europe, and now a few events here in OZ, I’m am shocked at the cost of entries into some Australian tarmac events, and at how quickly these are going up.

At first, when I asked why is this so, I got the excuses everyone has been trained to give: Insurance!  But it didn’t wash with me.  After living in the US for 15 years and competing, the events we had had the same amount of competitors, insurance was three times more expensive, but were far less to enter. Then, after much deliberation, thought, and being obnoxious in my pursuit of an answer, it all came to me.

In Europe and the US, events are organised by non-profit car clubs.  These non-profit clubs charge a fee to hold an event, and make sure there's always something in the kitty for the next cost (radios, deposit on fees, etc). The events in Australia are organised by people who are doing this purely to cash in on the surge of desires to do tarmac events, and no doubt pay for their exotic penthouse overlooking Melbourne waters.  

I can't agree with this, but I actually do totally understand that if these guys were not organising them, then they wouldn’t exist. It's up to the individual car clubs to gain kudos with their members by organising equivalent events.

The thought of costs brings me to the next subject of my thoughts: Ford now have a stunning Fiesta S2000. Nicely developed. And getting better. But...  

FIA regs require the S2000 be capped at a certain price, and all parts costs capped also.  That cap, I believe, is 130,000 Euro, which means the Ford Fiesta S2000 is outside of these rules at 450,000 AUD, therefore outside of Homologation requirements, therefore illegal to run under S2000.  So is the cost of a AU$50,000 gearbox.

I’m not finished yet. I'll get my thoughts on CAMS 'insurance levy' out as soon as I process it in my mind.

Jeff Denmeade.

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