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Classic Outback Trial comes to Oberon

The 2022 Classic Outback Trial was a seven-day car rally running from Parkes to Bathurst between March 27 and April 2. On April 1 the cars competed over stages in Vulcan, Essington and Lowes Mount State Forests.

The first stage of the day was in the Roberts Road part of Essington State Forest to the north of Sewells Creek Road. This has been used in rallies over the last two or three years, but few of the competitors would have been familiar with it. The roads there provide a good mixture to test drivers.

Second stage was also in Essington forest, running from Chain of Ponds Road northwards and then returning to the finish at the intersection of Knights and Dog Rocks Roads, another stage used in recent rallies in the area. There were some good fast roads there to test crew bravery. The last time I took photos in that forest I was snowed on but this time the weather warmed up to a balmy seven degrees (not allowing for wind chill).

After a break at Black Springs for lunch and to work on the cars, the rally went south into the Arkstone part of Vulcan where drivers could test their brakes and handling on some very twisty roads.

The final stage before crews returned to rally HQ at Bathurst was in Lowes Mount State Forest. Again, this stage would have been familiar to some competitors and contained some very deep erosion ruts to make sure that codrivers called out the cautions correctly.

Fastest crews on the day were Andrew and David Travis (Nissan Gazelle), Michael and Tim Valantine (Datsun Stanza) and Darkie Barr-Smith and Rob Hunt (Ford Capri). It probably wasn't a coincidence that these three crews took out the podium places for the overall seven days, but they had been at the top all week.

The next rally in the Oberon area will be the Midstate Freight Oberon Stages on April 23, Round 2 of the NSW Rally Championship. It will run on much of the same course but there might be some even faster cars there.

This story appeared in the online edition of the Oberon Review on April 15, 2022
with the unfortunate headline "Rev-heads turn on their engines for 2022 Classic
Outback Trial" and with no credit to me for either the article or the photographs

You can read the full report on the rally here.

Copyright © 1998- Peter Bowditch

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