Bathurst son and father combination, Andrew and David Travis were the cream of the crop at the end of the 2016 Classic Outback Trial (COT), as they took back to back wins and their third in four attempts, this time in a Nissan Gazelle.
The 4th day of the 6 day Classic Outback Trial in the Northern Territory was thrown in to turmoil on Wednesday morning when 15 cars became bogged in a sandy section of road south east of Rainbow Valley, about 100 km from Alice Springs.
Wednesday provided our crews with a visit a genuine working cattle station for service and lunch but not before the field had rode the roller coaster 65 km Winneke Goldfield stage. It proved to be a most exhilarating drive for most with crest after crest after crest, requiring a serious amount of commitment to be fast. But for some it was a ride they’d want to get off.
The first stage of the day, SS13 Ironwood Creek of 29 km gave the Callinan’s in their Historic Motorsport build Ford Escort RS1800 their first stage win. 5 seconds down the road though was the other RS1800 of Companc / Volta. Overnight leader Cuthbert / Evans retained the overall lead despite being 1:27 off the pace. Even further off the pace was Travis / Travis 1:41 behind but still retaining 2nd place. Crane / Anderson (Peugeot 504) began their charge up the leader board from 12th with a fine 3rd place on stage. Continue reading
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
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
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
Crews attending a welcome function tonight hosted by the Alice Springs Town Council were disappointed but understanding with the decision to cancel day one of the classic outback trial due to impassable road conditions.
The Central Australian town of Alice Springs where the Classic outback Trial is based, was hit hard by freak weather on Friday afternoon, forcing the cancellation of the first days stages. Severe wind gusts carried in 63 mm of rain and an avalanche of hail that has flooded much of the town, brought down trees and cut off many roads. Roads crossing the normally dry Todd River are still underwater today allowing the locals and the crews to photograph the rare sight of a flooded Todd River, about the only redeeming feature for the rally crews, disappointed to miss the first days competition.
A spokesperson for the NTES said this afternoon that they had so far dealt with over 80 calls for assistance to clear fallen trees from houses and cars and to help clean up homes with flood damage and damage to roofs.
The Alice was turned white with the tonnes of hail that was dumped, and the hail damage has caused several roofs to collapse in town, including at the hospital and the Imparja TC studio. There are media reports that some parts of streets in the town had been under a metre of water.
The ABC news website has quoted the Bureau of Meteorology as saying that Alice Springs hasn’t had a severe storm with hail and flooding in June for the last 20 years.
Speaking shortly after the decision to cancel the first day’s competition was made, event director Phillip Bernadou speaking from Lasseters Hotel where the Rally is based said “We’re really disappointed for the competitors but the roads south of town are just impassable. We’re hoping that drying weather over the next few days will mean no more interruptions to the rally.”
The cancellation of the first days stages means crews have an extra day to prepare their cars and do final checks on fuel consumption and spares inventory. It also means they have a day to enjoy Alice Springs and surrounds as well as the Lasseters entertainment complex. “Regrettable though it is, it is a great place for a day off.” observed a philosophical Bernadou.
The 2016 Classic outback Trial has attracted 52 rally crews in classic rally cars like Ford Mustangs, Porsche’s and Datsun 260Z’s, including 4 cars and crews from overseas. Each rally crew will have the support of one or more service crews and the event itself will bring about 50 officials in from all over Australia. In total, at least 350 people associated with the Classic Outback Trial will be in Alice Springs for over a week.
The event runs from June 18 to 24 and starts and finishes each day at Lasseters in Alice Springs.