There’s a sense of déjà vu with the announcement of the route of this year’s Rally Australia on the New South Wales north coast.

Admittedly, this will be the first time that Rally Australia has ever run in this little part of the world, but to many of us fortunate to have spectated at dozens of locations in the hinterland as far back as the 1970s in the Southern Cross era, the word déjà vu seems appropriate.

Given the time that has expired since those heady Southern Cross days of 30-35 years ago, many spectators at the September 9- 11 event will be unfamiliar with the area around Coffs Harbour that is so conducive to rallying.

Let us assure you that while we might not go as far as to say that it’s Australia’s best rally country, numerous Southern Crosses, not to mention many NSW State and Australian Championship rallies, can attest to some wonderful drivers’ roads in the area.

For those who can turn their minds back to the time when rally action on this part of the coast was a major tourism boost, this year’s Rally Australia will not only exceed all spectator predictions, but also bring back memories of those halcyon days when the cream of Australian and overseas teams made the Port Macquarie – Coffs Harbour areas their home for up to a week at a time.

Of course the fact is that Rally Australia will set new standards of organisation, planning and deliver much the same as the ‘Cross did way back then, but it will be ramped up ten fold this time around

Just as crowds gathered at all those familiar spectator points like the Gordonville Ford, Back Paddock Road, Rollover Road, Internal Break Road and Willi Willi Road to watch the Ari Vatanens, the Rauno Aaltonens, Timo Makinens, Roger Clarks and Bjorn Waldegaards of the era strut their stuff, this year’s spectator locations will remain in the memory of the new generation of spectators who will turn out to cheer on the current line up of world-class drivers.

The locations may be slightly different, the crews’ names a little harder to pronounce, but the action will excite the crowd just as it did all those years ago.

If you’re still making up your mind about being part of the spectator throng, don’t leave it too long.

NOTE: Limited places are still available on RallySport Magazine’s official Rally Australia Spectator Tour. CLICK HERE for full details on the tour, which includes exclusive spectator locations (away from the general public) and a meet and greet with Petter Solberg and his World Rally Team.

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