event reports, News

Prologue: Classic Outback Trial gets underway

Just a few seconds separated the 5 fastest cars following a prologue stage in the Gunningbland Forest near Parkes, in the 2022 Classic Outback Trial. The prologue provided a preview for the 42 rally crews of what they are likely to expect in the next seven days of hard and fast competition.

Michael Valantine stormed through the 10.3 kilometres of dusty forest roads and overgrown tracks to finish the Special Stage just a single second in front of Joel Wald and Cathy Elliot. Both crews were driving Dastun Stanzas.

Michael and Tim Valantine had a great run to win the Prologue
33 – Peter Glennie and Peter Clark in their 1972 Datsun 1200 Coupe

There was high expectations of a good place by Valantine, after a great showing in the 2018 Classic Outback Trial which finished for him late in the event after experiencing terminal engine problems. A new car and a couple of years of loving care provided a great result today.

Victorian Joel Wald with co-driver Cathy Elliott put in an impressive run to hold out third placed crew, Ian Swan and Colin Gow in a Volvo 242 by a single second.

Four time COT winner David and Andrew Travis driving their tried and true Nissan Gazelle V6 stormed home in equal fourth place with 2012 Classic Outback Trail winner Matt Swan in Holden Commodore VL and Mark Pickering and David Boddy in a Datsun 260Z.

David Hills in an Escort RS1800, Michael Ward’s Toyota Corolla, John Rawson in another Datsun Stanza, and Tony Jordan in a Triumph Stag rounded out today’s top ten.

The Prologue stage allows drivers to settle in for the tough week of competition ahead and provides a guide for the organisers to order the field for the start proper of the Classic Outback Trail on Sunday morning (Tomorrow).

The first days competition, which includes five Special Stages, starts in the main street of Parkes on Sunday morning at 0800 hrs.

Crews and their cars have been undertaking safety and compliance checks by the Organisers crew of official technicians, for the previous couple of days. These were held at the Parkes Showground.
After today’s prologue crews and the 100 strong volunteer officials force will attend the officials welcome function at the Parkes Leagues Club.


In the Regularity section of the Classic Outback Trial, crews were provided with an opportunity to shake down their cars and their navigational skills.

The Mercedes Benz 350 SLC of Bill and Kathy Gill showed a clean pair of heels to Paul and Mariella Kirkham, in a Datsun 1600. Veteran Regularity competitor Stephen and Ruth Lambert in a very rare BMW 2002 Touring model came in third place.

Regularity scrutineering earlier today: Michael and Anne Wilkinson in a 1963 Sunbeam Alpine EV.

Crews competing in the Regularity Rally will be undertaking four specially designed sections each day to arrive at a winner when the Classic Outback Trial finishes in Bathurst on Saturday 2 April.

David McKenzie and Chris Snell on the Prologue today