3rd OR: Ian and Val Swan, 1974 Volvo 242 DL
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Swan’s Swansong

Long time Victorian rally driver, Ian Swan will be hanging up his long distance driving helmet after this year’s Classic Outback Trial.

Swan, a 73 year old from Frankston South in Victoria, will line up in his trusty 1975 Volvo 242 with his “new” co-driver – long-time mate Colin Gow of Wonga Park –  in an attempt to beat a previous third place in the 7 day, 2,300 kilometre Special Stage Rally.

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Roller-coaster COT ride

As the sun rose against the MacDonnell Ranges on a chilly Tuesday morning, all but the Sawyer brothers who retired on day two, disembarked from Lasseters for a challenging days’ rallying.

Before formalities got under-way, event co-ordinator Steuart Snooks, presented Argentine pair Jorge Perez Companc and Jose Volta with the COT gnomes, which are awarded to the most deserving crew each day. Day three of competition would see competitors cover six stages, totalling 159 competitive kilometres, north east of Alice Springs with two service breaks at the sensational Hale River Homestead. Continue reading

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Baptism of fire for COT crews!

The 2016 Classic Outback Trial finally got under way, after Friday’s storms which lashed the region with devastating effect, saw yesterday’s seven stages of competition cancelled.

An eager field of 52 crews from around Australia and overseas gathered at Lasseters early in the morning against the sun-lit backdrop of the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges to begin the quest to conquer the Australian Outback. Awaiting the crews would be five challenging stages covering a distance of 187 competitive kilometres to the north of Alice Springs. Continue reading

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Day 2 – COT16 competition finally underway

After a day’s delay while Alice Springs cleaned up from a massive storm last Friday, we were finally underway to run day two’s stages. The route took us north beyond the Tropic of Capricorn to Mount Yambah and Gemtree for 185 km of competitive kilometres stages and 430 km in total. Like the storm on Friday, the first 2 stages cut a trail of destruction through the field. And like that storm, most of the damage can be repaired, just putting plans back a bit.

The worst news of the day came early. Making its way into the first competitive, Michael and Andrew Sawyer’s Datsun 1600 suffered a terminal engine failure, leaving Andrew by the side of the Stuart Highway waiting for Geoff and Jenny and a trailer. Crushing news for the popular lads who are part of the COT family. Continue reading