Time to let more types of cars run in rallies
- 11th November 2008, 3:07pm
In my chosen vocation I have the opportunity to both live and work in various parts of the world, but this hasn’t cooled my passion for rallying. I have lived in two different countries outside Australia, which have given me the opportunity to watch rallying in two vastly different countries.
One of those is the UAE, which has more money than you can poke a stick at, and the other is Indonesia, where the average income is around $100USD/month. The thing that they both have in common is that to compete in their national and local series you need a vast amount of cash, but that doesn’t seem to squash the enthusiasm for the sport.
This brings me to my question, is rallying becoming too expensive for the average punter? Let’s not kid ourselves, any kind of motor sport is expensive, especially if you want to be competitive. In saying all of that, it doesn’t make it any easier for a young up-and-coming star to enter the sport on the average income.
In my last letter I mentioned the introduction for a silhouette style of class, whereby if it was legal, it could race; I received numerous responses and most were positive. I also received some information about the Excel Series on the east coast which appears to be going very well. Although this doesn’t do much for me personally, I can certainly appreciate that it does get cars on the road at a relatively low cost.
The rally series in WA seems to be floundering and it is well documented. A while back a public forum was held to try and resolve the issues, but I am yet to hear or see any actions, however it was certainly a great idea by all concerned. So here I go again. About six months ago I had the opportunity to buy a twin cam 710 Datsun from Indonesia with the view of restoring it and competing in the odd rally in Australia. The car wasn’t in particularly good repair, but it sounded cheap and the numbers all matched up. It has since disappeared.
This car has significant rallying heritage over the years with some state champions racing them over the years, backed by the factory. The car would have been restored back to the specification of the era it was competing in, and you guessed it… Group G.
I sent an email to my local Rally Panel member explaining my plans and to ask if he could put the idea to the Rally Panel to see what reaction I got. I did get a response from him personally, with him voicing his personal views, but I never got any other feedback and I am unsure if the idea got to Rally Panel. In saying that, I have since changed jobs and countries and it may have been lost in cyberspace.
I have since been reading the minutes from the national rally panel. About 12 months ago a good friend of mine put a proposal to the rally panel of WA in regards to “Schedule R” cars, and to my amazement the idea got tabled at a national level, and this is the response. In a nut shell, the governing body didn’t have an issue with historically interesting cars, as long as they didn’t compete in a series.
For starters, no historically interesting car that that has been restored to “Group G” specs can compete in a series because there is no class available to do so, but the minutes didn’t say they could not race. The proposal never had the intention to allow new Group G cars to be built, but to allow log booked cars of the era to compete.
With this in mind, why would the local rally panels hinder competitors from paying entry fees and allowing them to compete against the clock? I have heard all of the misquotes about CAMS withdrawing the insurance coverage, which was never documented, so there should be no grounds to not allow historically interesting cars to rally, as long as the vehicles meet the safety standards.
In the current climate of rallying in some states, any vehicle should be allowed to compete, simply to put cars on the road, as long as it was safe. I am not suggesting that we reinvent “Group G”, but I am suggesting that we let these cars have a run once in a while. I am led to believe there are about 14 cars in sheds in WA alone that would be willing to have a run - this could almost be an event in itself.
I sincerely hope that the powers to be start to listen to the punters.
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