The vast Outback of Australia has lent itself to the conduct of tough rallying events since the first Round Australia event was run in 1953. These outback event events, which combined the aspects of adventure, crew endurance and vehicle reliability became a fixture until the last great adventure, the 20,000 km Playstation Rally in 1998, after which logistics and more stringent regulation of road usage caused organisers to call it a day.
However, the undercurrent of demand for outback adventure events continued and in 2008 the Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial, run from Alice Springs to the Gold Coast, sparked a revival in outback rallying. In 2009 the theme was taken up by the Classic Outback Trial, run over a week of competition in outback areas of New South Wales. The event, catering for historic and classic rally cars, was a success and since 2010 has been conducted on a bi-annual basis.
After the 2014 Classic Outback Trial the organisers decided to take the major step of returning the event to the true Outback, Central Australia.
In 2018 it will again be conducted in the Northern Territory, based at Alice Springs. The unique central Australian landscape provides terrain which is very different to that normally used for rallies. There are no forests, but there is a vast variety of roads and tracks ranging from fast smooth sandy cattle station roads to steep tight and hilly tracks through the rugged MacDonnell Ranges of Australia’s heartland – providing an exciting new future for rallying in Australia.
It will be a seven day special stage rally with international competitors permitted, and each day will loop from and back to Alice Springs. This means that participants will have a ‘home’ base for the duration of the event, the overnight servicing location will remain constant as there will be no travel required between overnight stops. This makes it ideal for those bringing families to the event!
The Classic Outback Trial offers a unique quality to competition rallying – the promise of the Australian Outback, an almost unlimited choice of exciting roads, a constantly changing and challenging terrain, and the opportunity to participate in one the most amazing parts of Australia – The Red Centre.
Find more about the 2018 COT in the following pages…