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Classic Outback Service

A service crew member sitting on a jerry can waiting for their car.


This story, about the Service Crews on the 2014 Classic Outback Trial, was written by COT wordsmith Alan Baker and appeared in the March 2105 issue of HRA News – the bimonthly magazine from the Historic Rally Association. Alan and the HRA have generously provided the attached copy of the report for our reading pleasure. It’s a great story, supported by some wonderful pics by Ian Smith Autopix and Alan himself.

Service crews – last to leave and first to arrive. Come along for the ride on the 2014 Classic Outback Trial...

How would you like a couple of weeks off work driving around the countryside? A different town each night, new scenery each day and new people with similar interests to meet. With a bit of luck, maybe someone will contribute towards fuel and accommodation too. Sound Okay? Great. Bring your sunscreen.

Read on… Classic Outback Service (pdf, 500 Kb)

event reports, News

Day 7 – Around Renmark

The Fat Lady Sings.

The last day of competition in the Classic Outback trial provided as much drama as any of the previous days. While first place Andrew and David Travis with a 22 minute lead just had to keep in on its wheels to take the win and second place looked safe enough at 4 minutes 26 seconds (although as we have seen, a tyre change will cost them at least 6 minutes), the battle for third was really on. The Datsun 240Z of Pickering and Boddy were a mere 30 seconds ahead of Batten and Snooks who were themselves just 30 seconds clear of Swan/Swan’s Volvo. Pickering was ready to defend his third place with new tyres and determination, Batten was intent on playing his usual game of worrying about himself, but sniffing a podium finish, Ian Swan was going to drive the wheels off the Volvo to position himself to take advantage of any slowing by those in front. There were 3 stages today totalling 66 kilometres today. Continue reading

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Day 6 – Broken Hill to Renmark

The Cream will rise. Another mammoth day of rallying in the outback on Friday on the run from Broken Hill in far western New South Wales, south to Renmark in South Australia, crossing a time zone on the way.

Leaving the famous town with street names such as Oxide, Sulphide and Chloride Street and in to sandy terrain for the first time, our crews had a 50 kilometre stage before a service break at the Coombah roadhouse. As the crews arrived it didn’t take long to work out that the thoughts of anyone backing off to hold their position were misplaced. Indeed, anyone who did, with the exception of the leaders Travis/Travis would be shuffled down the order without apology. Continue reading

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Day 5 – Broken Hill

Welcome relief at the COT. Crews, including the tireless service crews on the classic outback trial, enjoyed a quiet day around Broken Hill where 4 stages were contested in the morning. Finish of the day was before Noon at the Silverton Hotel, around 20 km out of Broken Hill, the birthplace of Broken Hill Proprietary Limited. Indeed, it was in the ruins of the original Hotel, just beside the current Hotel where the instrument was signed to wind up the original company and form the new company which evolved in to the biggest mining company in the world. Today was also event photographer Ian Smith’s birthday. Happy birthday Ian.  Continue reading

event reports, News

Day 4 – Ivanhoe to Broken Hill

Moving day at the COT. The fourth day of the Classic Outback Trial has provided the first day where the leading crews incorporated some real strategy into their days rallying.

This is a long event and although there are still 3 days to go, it’s clear the front runners have their eyes on a bottle of champagne at Angove Winery in Renmark on Saturday afternoon. For the first time in the event, “hopes” of the previous days were replaced with “possibilities” at the Ivanhoe start. Crews would use the longest day of the event to set themselves up for the remaining days and the finish in Renmark.

In the service park too, the relaxed atmosphere of previous days was replaced with a sense of drama and tension. At every service rendezvous the service crews of the leading cars each noted the condition of their opposition. Don’t get me wrong, the strong sense of camaraderie is still there with crews lending other crews parts and even repairing each other’s service trailers on the side of the road. Continue reading