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The Australian Rally Museum Inc, based in Coffs Harbour, which celebrates its 10 year anniversary in 2020, has announced Ed Ordynski as its patron. Ordynski is one of Australia’s best-known and most successful drivers and is active in his support of motorsport and rallying in general. As a competitor from 1974 to 2007, he has experienced most of the changing eras of rallying. “The Australian Rally Museum has provided a unique and widely appreciated insight into our long, rallying heritage for many years now,” Ordynski said. “Through the tireless work of its volunteers, it is expanding its ever-growing collection and ability to showcase all levels of our sport’s great history. I am very much looking forward to being able to help support its progress.” While Ordynski will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the Museum organisation, it is hoped that he will find his way to attend major events when the Museum is actively on display. The Museum was conceived by Trevor Shelton, originally of the Grafton Sporting Car Club, and still includes a number of well-known Coffs Coast and east-coast rally identities on the committee. Many who are unfamiliar with the Museum may ask: “Where exactly is it? I want to visit”. At this stage, the Australian Rally Museum is the custodian of a large collection of Australia’s rallying history. Displays have also been held at Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour for a number of years, with the Museum proudly delivering the static rally car showings at Opal Cove Rally HQ, along with the corporate facilities at the Sherwood Forest Rally Village spectacular.

Ed Ordynski (right) with former co-driver, Mark Nelson, at the Rally Retro Day in February. Photo: Bruce Keys

International guests and corporate sponsors have raved about the quality of the displays, which have included a series of Toyotas in original factory colours and signage, drawing gasps of disbelief from visitors each year. The Museum’s display caravan was also a regular attendee at the WRC event, and at the Alpine Rally for the last two events. The van itself is beautifully presented and prepared, with memorabilia carefully collected and proudly shown. Classic rallying in Australia is as popular as ever, and the Museum is often able to bring to life memories of days gone by. The most satisfying outcome from hosting a display comes from the people who approach the van and explain that he or she started rallying way back when the sport was simple, but have followed from afar. Conversations start, common friends and colleagues become part of the chat and everyone departs better for the time spent together.

The Australian Rally Museum's display at Rally Australia's HQ in 2018.

The Museum has aspirations of a permanent home base, but as a purely volunteer group, funding and finance is restricted to some NSW state government grants, plus the support of an extremely important sponsor, Hertz Rent-a-Car Coffs Harbour. Investigations continue with the local Coffs Harbour City Council in relation to a possible home on Council-owned land, where a Museum base could be constructed. While the Committee is committed to making this happen eventually, much work will need to be done to achieve a result. Most opportunities for displaying the Museum’s caravan are obviously on hold, due to COVID-19 restrictions and interstate travel bans. However, the Museum and the team will be on the road at the first chance to attend the next major event.
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