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Entries are still available for the first round of the 2015 Australian Tarmac Rally Championship, which gets underway in Victoria’s alpine region next month.

The ATRC will be made up of four events in 2015, with the Mt Baw Baw Sprint kicking off the action over the weekend of February 21-22. Scrutineering is at Mt Baw Baw Resort on the afternoon of Friday, February 20.

The next round is a month later (March 21-22), the Lake Mountain Sprint near Marysville in Victoria’s Yarra Ranges National Park. Competitors then have to wait until the weekend of October 3-4 for their next fix (Great Tarmac Rally) before the 2015 ‘grand final’ (Snowy River Sprint) on December 5-6.

The Mt Baw Baw Sprint utilises the access road from Icy Creek to the top of Mt Baw Baw, 120km east of Melbourne. It’s broken up into a series of individual special stages run both up and down the road for a total of 220km of competition. The final stage is a 30km ‘blast’ over the full distance of the road to the village.

The Mountain Motorsports group, which runs the Australian Tarmac Rally Championship series, is still offering a special deal to competitors who sign up now for the four events – but not for much longer.

Those entering the full competition category for all four events pay only $5400, while those who want to have a ‘taste’ of tarmac rallying by driving in their road car in the touring category (a ‘spirited drive’) pay just $1800 for the four events. For those not ready to commit to the full series, a competition entry for Mt Baw Baw is $1600 and a touring entry is $600.

“The touring category is very popular with people who want to compete in a tarmac rally but don’t want to go to all the expense of getting their competition licence and investing in a fully prepared rally car,” says event director, Peter Washington.

“Having said that, we’ve had a number of entrants who’ve done a couple of events as a ‘tourer’ and then decided to take the next step and buy themselves a competition car. We’re expecting a couple of former touring category entrants will make their competition debut at Mt Baw Baw, which is really fantastic.”

With support from Mt Baw Baw Resort, this is the fourth year the event has been run. Competitors can contact the resort to organise their accommodation (http://mountbawbaw.com.au/).

While the series is based in Victoria, the entry list attracts competitors from every state in Australia. They are prepared to commute from WA, SA, Queensland and NSW, as well as suburban and rural Victoria, to drive some great mountain roads under closed road conditions.

All the ATRC events are open to modern (modified), classic (pre-1982) and showroom-spec vehicles which meet tarmac rally specifications (full rollcage etc). Aside from the outright title, there are individual honours up for grabs in all three categories.

Competing crews must wear full racesuits and helmets and be licensed by the Australian Auto Sport Alliance (AASA). Touring competitors must be wear non-flammable clothing from neck to wrist and ankle but not necessarily a racesuit. Driver and co-driver must wear helmets.

“This year, the championship will be decided on the points tally from three rounds, but there will be a special award for anyone doing all four events,” Mr Washington says.

“We decided it allows for a more level playing field for those who can’t commit to all four rounds, and means those who do sign up for four and have problems on one event can drop their worst round without any penalty.

“And just to make things really interesting, we’ve decided that the final round – the Snowy River Sprint – will carry double points, which will ensure the title chase goes down to the wire. Should be fun!”

Last year’s outright title win went to Danny Traverso and Bernie Webb in a 2005 Mitsubishi Evo IX. The classic crown was won by brothers Robin and Peter Lowe in a 1971 Datsun 240Z. The 2WD category title went to Charlie Nott and Roger Harrison (1998 TVR Chimaera) while showroom honours went to Clinton Arentz and Dale Moscatt in a 2009 Mitsubishi Evo X.

Further information on this year’s events is available from event director Peter Washington (0418 337 955) or the website: http://www.australiantarmacrally.com/

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