Dirtcomp/Randall Kilner photo
(Event release, 3/9/2013) AROUND 40 of Australia’s most spectacular off-road racers are set for a high-flying appearance in the fourth round of their national championship at Coates Hire Rally Australia on the Coffs Coast next week.
The “trophy truck” and “pro buggy” entrants will contest round four of the 2013 Australian Off Road Championship, one of the toughest series in Australian motorsport, on 14-15 September.
They will also make a preview appearance on the rally’s ARMOR ALL Super Special Stage in Coffs Harbour on Thursday 12 September.
Off road racers compete at high speed over difficult bush terrain, often leaping high and long off crests in the track.
While competitors in the FIA World Rally Championship and East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship tackle their competitive Special Stages north, west and south of Coffs Harbour, off-roaders will run on a separate course at Glenugie, 58km north of Coffs Harbour.
The event will comprise eight laps of the 55km course – a total of 440km – with a mix of dirt, sand, gravel, clay and grass surfaces.
Clerk of course John “Pato” Paterson says the competitors are in for a true challenge.
“They’ll find a big part of the course is through the Glenugie State Forest. There are lots of trees and they are very close to the road, conditions that many of our competitors have not experienced before,” Paterson says.
“Lots of today’s off-road courses have become true desert racing, whereas this course is more like the traditional courses that were run 20 or 30 years ago, such as the famous event at Kempsey.
“It should even up the field quite a bit because it’s not about horsepower, so it will be interesting to see how the competition plays out. Some of the guys in the ‘trophy trucks’ might find it a bit tight!”
Among the drivers fans can expect to see in action are current Australian off road champion Matt Hanson, who’s running third in this year’s points chase, along with 2013 championship leader Shannon Rentsch and second placeholder, Hayden Bentley, all in buggies. Top trophy truck competitors include Billy Geddes and Greg Gartner.
The venue for the main event will be at “Frank’s Place”, accessed via Bald Knob Tick Gate Road, 58km north of Coffs Harbour, or 23km south of Grafton.
Off-road racing fans who can’t make it out to Glenugie on the weekend, should make a point of getting to the ARMOR ALL Super Special Stage on Thursday. Ten of the most exciting off-roaders will be on the Brelsford Park course from 5.30pm.
Off road vehicles are very different from rally cars, but just as spectacular. As their name implies, they’re built for off road, where they can race over rough terrain – think rocks, ridges and rabbit holes at up to 200kmh – and flying high on long-travel suspension.
Drivers compete solo or with a co-driver/navigator, depending on the vehicle type, and will need endurance as well as skill to complete a competitive distance greater than their WRC counterparts.
Tickets for the event are priced at $15 per day or $25 for the weekend and are for sale separately on the event website (www.rallyaustralia.com.au), at retail ticket outlets in Coffs Harbour and at the gate.