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The Internationals are coming!

After hearing about the great events in Australia, and more importantly the Classic Outback Trial, the international invasion has started.

Val and Ian Swan have made some wonderful like-minded rally friends while competing in South America, Africa and Mexico in the past few years. Their aim has always been to get as many of them out to our great wide land to enjoy what we have to offer and this year there are friends coming from England and Sweden to get involved in the COT.

David and Sarah Rayner in the East African Safari.

David and Sarah Rayner in the East African Safari.

David and Sarah Rayner have been to Australia many times to visit. Whilst they competed in the early 1990’s in Targa Tasmania in a Sunbeam Tiger, the COT will be their first “dirt” event out here.

“They have been looking forward to this years event for quite some time and we are really glad to see they can finally make it” reported Ian. David and Sarah compete regularly all over Europe in a variety of different styles of event and more recently competed in the Peking to Paris in their 1938 BMW 328.

The Swans and the Rayners met in South America in the La Carrera Sudamericana in 2006 and again in the 2007 East African Classic Safari and the Rayners will be finally bringing their Capri RS2600 out here. They will love it!

The recent Sydney to London Marathon had a number of entries from around the world and one of these had entered with Ian c0-driving in his 1965 Ford Mustang coupe.

Warren Briggs has been competing in Europe very successfully in another Mustang in what is their Appendix K Touring car series. He had purposely built a new car for the SLM, but withdrew at the last minute due to a number of reasons. His beautifully prepared car had been shipped to Australia and is now sitting in Ian and Val”s garage!

Warren Briggs, with his 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe.

Warren Briggs, with his 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe.

Warren is a New Zealander but has lived for the past 30 odd years in England. He owns a successful irrigation equipment manufacturing business in the UK that exports world wide and has been involved in a number of other very interesting businesses over the years. Ask him about Formula One exhaust systems! A true enthusiast who can’t wait to get out and dirty in the Aussie Outback. His brother’s Mowbray Park farmstay holidays in Picton, NSW is supporting his Australian entry.

The car is all ready to go and what better event to tackle than the COT? Warren is lucky to this time have secured the services of talented Matt DeVaus in the passenger seat!  Ian had already committed to running his ever ‘unreliable’ Volvo with Val on the COT.

“I hadn’t co-driven for twenty years so I was always worried about letting Warren down in the SLM. So, when Matt was available for the COT Warren jumped at the opportunity” said Ian.

To add a little more international flavour Ian knew he would need a few service crew to handle three cars, so he immediately signed up the experienced Peter Washington and then thought of another friend he had met when rallying overseas.

In 2013 Val and Ian competed in a Mustang team in the La Carrera Panamericana, the “Mexican Road Race” (wait for the feature movie to appear soon at a cinema near you!!). One of the 8 service crew members they had supplied was a Swedish guy called Ralf Christensson (aren’t they all?) and he knew he would be a great asset.

Ralf is one of those guys with stories to tell that you won’t believe. Rickshaw racing in India was his last adventure. He has also just won his class and come third outright in the smaller Mexican event known as the Chihuahua Express in a Mustang and won his class in the Pikes Peak hill climb. A very interesting guy and a great addition to the service crew.

“We are still looking for possibly two more good spanner men to join us on the COT” reported Ian.

So, if you know anything about Fords and Volvos and don’t mind getting your hands dirty then perhaps now is the time to contact Ian! You never know you might learn some Swedish.

See the gallery – COT 2014 – the internationals!

The mustang behind the Swans’ service truck.