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
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
“I’m so glad we’ve done this, this is amazing.” An ebullient Matt Lee, 2011 Australian Rally co-driver champion emerged from his Holden Commodore at the major service break this afternoon raving about the day’s stages. There was a similar theme through the service park, a 40 minute break for crews on the road between Cobar and the overnight stop in Ivanhoe. Regardless of any problems they may be nursing to day’s end, drivers especially were singing the praises of the long stages today.
There was a sensation in the event before lunch when the leading Datsun 200B of Neil Cuthbert and Ross Runnalls went over on its side while slowly making a U-turn to check an instruction. Continue reading
Cuthbert and Runnalls back in the lead. Despite hitting a fence on one of the morning’s stages, the troublesome-until-now Datsun 200B of Neil Cuthbert and twice 1981-1982 Australian Rally Champion co-driver Ross Runnalls have overtaken the overnight leaders Travis/Travis who are driving an earlier model Datsun 1600. Cuthbert was first car on the road at Sunday’s start in Parkes but was pushed down to 4th during the day. It was the Travis’s who started day 2 of the Classic Outback Trial with a 2 ½ minute lead over 2012 winners Swan/Franklin in car 1 and over 3 minutes to the better of Cuthbert Runnalls. Continue reading
2012 Classic Outback Trial winners Matt Swan and Paul Franklin in their Holden Commodore VL lie 2nd after today’s 5 stages from Parkes to Condobolin, 29 seconds behind leaders Andrew and David Travis in their veteran Datsun 1600. Long distance specialists Ashton/Nixon (Galant) who have twice finished 2nd in this event are currently 3rd, 56 seconds further back.
Cars were flagged away in bright sunshine from the main street of Parkes by the Mayor after all crews were photographed under the starting arch. First car away was the Datsun 200B of Cuthbert and Runnalls. The team changed the entire rear suspension overnight and then had to change an engine control module this morning, making the start with only a few minutes to spare. Clearly there is quite a lot of fine tuning to be done to this brand new car before it’s where they want it. After today’s stages, the crew has dropped back to 4th on provisional scores, a mere second from Aston/Nixon. Continue reading
The 2014 Classic Outback Trial got off to a roaring start yesterday afternoon on the 12 km Prologue Stage near Parkes in Central N.S.W. It was a chance for competitors to “blow out the cobwebs” and assess their car ahead of the first full day of competition. It was also the first opportunity for the organisers to gauge the relative performances under competition conditions and try and come up with a starting order for Sunday’s 111 km competitive stages. Many crews were simply glad of the chance to finally get the car into a stage. For some, it was their first rally since the 2012 event and they were certainly feeling it after just this short little introduction to outback special stage rallying. Continue reading
… and links to photo galleries will appear here during the 2014 Classic Outback Trial. Come back soon!