Rally at capacity

Rally at capacity

Less than five hours after entries opened for the Alpine Rally of East Gippsland, the field limit of 105 cars and 20 reserves has been reached.

All entries were received online with no issues through a system developed for organisers, the Historic Rally Association of Victoria. Entries have been received from every state and territory in Australia.

“With more than 300 registrations of interest since April, a full field was looking very likely, but to have 120-plus fully paid up entries received in less than a day is a stunning result. We’re over the moon at the interest in the Alpine Rally,” rally director Owen Polanski, said.

The rally cars are all classic or historic rally cars from the 1960s to late 80s. They include Ford Escorts, Datsuns of all sorts, Mercedes, BMWs, Fiat Abarths and even a Plymouth Fire Arrow (a US-built Mitsubishi based coupe). Crews include many past Australian Rally Champions, including David ‘Dinta’ Officer and 2017 Australian champion, Nathan Quinn, in his classic Mazda RX2, as well as many state champions.

“It’s a high quality field, that’s for sure, undoubtedly one of the best for an historic rally in Australia,” Mr Polanski said.

“We are even more excited that competitor attitudes to the event have stayed high after experiencing such a tough time on the last event due to the very wet weather.”

The rally will run from November 29 to December 1 and is based out of Lakes Entrance, but travels through East Gippsland from Bairnsdale, through Granite Rock Speedway, Bruthen and as far east as Cann River.

Crews will fight it out over 370 kilometres of competition stages. As well as the 210 crew members in the rally cars, there will be more than 450 rally officials and around another 300 service crew members as well as many hundreds of spectators from all over Australia and overseas who will call the region home over the last weekend in November.

Local rally fans will have the chance to visit 12 super- vised spectator points throughout the rally includ- ing the Granite Rock Speed- way just north of Bairnsdale on Friday, November 29, from 5pm. Spectator guides will be available from the event website, www.alpinerally.org.au closer to the event.

The 2019 Alpine Rally of East Gippsland, which can trace its origins way back to 1921, will again be the subject of a one-hour documentary style program produced by Black Magic Media, which will air on Australian and international television in January 2020.

PICTURED: The 2017 Alpine Rally winner, Ben Barker, in his BMW, will return to East Gippsland for the Alpine Rally in late November. (Photo: Paul Mollison)