Exclusive access from $6.55/month
Brothers Darryn and Justyn Snooks will go head-to-head in the Great Lakes Classic Rally this month. This special stage rally will be based at Forster on the New South Wales lower central coast and use the forests north, south and west of Taree that hosted the great Southern Cross Rally in the seventies.

The event will be combined with the fifth round of both the Australian and the NSW State Rally Championships.

Driving the pair of Snooks Motorsport Datsun Stanzas, the brothers will be well aware of the success of this model in the latter years of the great Southern Cross Rallies. George Fury won in a Stanza in 1978 and again in 1979, with Ross Dunkerton second and Finland’s Rauno Aaltonen third – all driving Stanzas; then Dunkerton took out the event in its last year in 1980, again in a Stanza.

Although not as tough as the original Southern Cross rallies, which were run in a totally different era of rallying, Clerk of Course, Mike Bell, and his team have put together a formidable course that will fully test the Classic cars.

The two-day event will include 20 special stages for the Classic competition, 13 of these on the Saturday and 7 on the Sunday, whilst the National and State Championship cars will cover a total of 14 stages. There is some length in them too, with three stages in excess of 40 kilometres and another four around 25 kilometres. In all, the event will be over 980 kilometres, of which 35%, or 340 kilometres, will comprise special stages.

The toughness won’t just be in the special stages either, as the Saturday starts at the very early time of 7am for the first car, which is not expected back at Forster until around 11pm that night. The first car leaves again on Sunday at 8.15am, finishing at 3.20pm.

“The roads are in great shape and will be super-smooth,” Bell has indicated. “With the inclusion of the 45 kilometre long ‘Manning Hill’ stage, one of the famous Southern Cross Rally stages which is still widely regarded as one of the best rally roads around, it will be worth being in the event just to compete on this road alone. It’s so good, we have listed it as the first stage of the event, and the second last.”

The last stage is a tarmac stage using O’Sullivans’s Gap, part of the old Pacific Highway. This was fairly competitive as an open road in the early seventies, prior to speed limits being introduced!

Darryn Snooks will have Matt de Vaus as his navigator in Stanza #1, the same pair who won the Classic competition in this year’s Bega Rally, and who are currently leading the Australian Classic Car Association Challenge.

Brother Justyn Snooks, who prepares the cars and provides the servicing during the event, will run Stanza #2 with Scott Middleton in the left hand seat. It will be both guys first serious drive for over three years.

Adding to the Southern Cross Rally flavour will be the entry of Ian Hill, with long time co-driver Phil Bonser, in a Ford Escort RS1800. Hill drove a Mitsubishi Lancer to very creditable eighth outright placings behind the works Datsuns and Ford in the 1978 and 1979 Southern Crosses, then in 1980 he took an Escort RS2000 to an excellent fourth place, behind the top class drivers Ross Dunkerton, Greg Carr and Ari Vatanen.

This is the first time this event has been conducted and, with the local councils and tourism organisations involved in getting it underway, the Great Lakes Classic Rally should will become an annual fixture on the rally calendar.

Get full, exclusive access for only $6.55/month.
  • Full access
  • Exclusive news
  • Store & Tour discounts

Show Your Support


Recent Posts