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2020 Caves Classic Rally – Full report

Jon Thompson and his crew from North Shore Sporting Car Club brought another excellent rally to Oberon with the 2020 Midstate Freight Caves Classic on October 10. It was all a bit Goldilocks on the day – not too hot and not too cold, not too windy (just enough to blow the dust away) and not too dusty, roads not too rough (to break the cars) and not too smooth (so the drivers were challenged).

The roads in the three forests (Lowes Mount, Essington and Vulcan) were in excellent condition and provided a good mix of fast, open running and twisty bits where the brakes and handling could be as important as power and straight line speed. Even the competitors who didn't finish for a variety of reasons had no complaints about the organisation or the course. The Oberon area has always provided good rallying country, and it lived up to its reputation.

The event was Round 2 of the MTA NSW Rally Championship, the East Coast Classic Rally Series and the NSW Clubman and Hyundai Series, and matched its championship status. New naming sponsor, Midstate Freight from the Central West region, would be satisfied with their investment (and one of their executives was in the car which placed fifth).

A rather disappointing field of 44 cars started the event. The low number of starters could be a result of the COVID-19 epidemic because so few rallies have been run this year that competitors might have felt that they hadn't had enough practice. Eleven cars were classed as non-finishers – nine through mechanical failure (another possible symptom of lack of match fitness) and two dropped out after leaving the road (although one managed to recover and complete the final stages). The medical team had nothing to do all day, which is how it should be.


  • First outright: Car 2, Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell (Citroen CS3)
  • Second: Car 10, Mal Keogh and Andrew Barnett (Audi Quattro S1)
  • Third: Car 1, Tom Clarke and Jim Gleeson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9)
  • Fourth: Car 9, Ron Moore and Jo Moore (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VI)
  • Fifth: Car 7, Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith (Mazda RX2)

You can read a full report of the event plus see a lot of pictures at

This story appeared in the Oberon Review on October 15, 2020

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