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Twenty five intrepid crews will gather in Tasmania this weekend for the running of the 2006 Olde BP Rallye, a navigational event that covers many little-used roads in the north of the state.

After arriving in Devonport by boat, the contingent of 21 mainland crews will meet up with a further four crews starting in Hobart, before the rally proper gets under way at 10am on Saturday morning, September 2.

For the next day and a half, navigators will be poring over their maps and directing their drivers to keep an eye out for road realignments and the usual map inaccuracies that these sorts of events delight in.

Leading the mainland crews will be Terry Naish and navigator Ross Runnalls, who is considered one of Australia’s best map-readers. The pair will drive a Datsun 1600. They will be joined by former Australian and Victorian Rally Champion, Bob Watson, navigated by Graeme Vaux in an EH Holden.

Another car containing previous Australian Champions will be that of Dinta and Kate Officer, who won their title in 1984. They are expected to do well in their Mitsubishi Galant, not a 4WD model, but a potent rear-wheel-drive model from the 1970s.

Up against the might of four Tasmanian crews will be Graham Wallis and Phil Nicholas, a formidable crew who are expected to do well, despite having little knowledge of the event’s locale.

As far as Tasmanian crews are concerned, James and Daniel Willson (Nissan Stanza), Craig Sault and Ian Wiggins (Holden Commodore), David Cooper and Harold Percy (Mercedes Benz 280S), and two Davids – Allwright and Button, who will drive a Mazda RX2, are expected to do uphold Apple Isle honours.

As an all day and all night event, the Olde BP will be a tough-as-nails event where concentration and accurate mapping will be the main requirement to be classed as a finisher. The rally finishes early on Sunday afternoon.

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