Preview: AMSAG Bulahdelah Classic Rally
The fourth round of the PipeKing Southern Cross Rally Series will take place on Saturday 29th July on the NSW Mid North Coast.
The fast, flowing roads around Bulahdelah are steeped in rallying folk-lore originating from the Southern Cross International Rally. In more recent times, locals such as Peter Roberts, Nathan Quinn, Tony Sullens, Michael Boaden, Dave Darby, Chris Giddens and John Mitchell have ensured that any rally in the region is hotly contested.
The AMSAG Bulahdelah event has quickly established itself as one of the premier rallies on the East Coast. The 2017 entry list contains ARC hotshots Nathan Quinn and Tony Sullens, inter-twined with a capacity field of both Classic and Open vehicles.
AMSAG Open Series Leaders Ian Plenderleith and Mel McMinn (Bathurst) in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo3 will face their toughest challenge of the season to date, with local Subaru drivers Tony Sullens (Central Coast) Peter Neal (Taree) and Adrian Turnbull (Newcastle) expected to set a quick early pace. The Mitsubishi entries of Ron Moore (Bathurst), Jody Mill (Naranderra) and Tim Joass (Western Sydney) will need to lift to match the local entries, but cannot be dismissed. The dark-horse’s are undoubtably the Nissan entries, with Tim Valantine (Denman) becoming increasingly familiar with his powerful Silvia to record a stage win at Bega. Jake Bramble (Newcastle) has Brett Kerr (Wingham) beside him in the Pulsar GTiR, and despite being the youngest pairing in the field, are expected to perform well.
The Classic category is one-again headed by Tom Dermody/Eoin Moynihan (Queensland) in their Escort RS1800. If Dermody is to emerge as an outright winner, he will need to fend off challenges from a vast array of talented drivers. Nathan Quinn (Coffs Harbour) has entered his Mazda RX2, Oberon winner Dave Hills (Sydney) returns in his Escort, and Jayke Skeffington (Newcastle) lines up in a Datsun 1600. Other likely contenders include Jeff Davies (Central Coast) PJ O’Keefe (Sydney) Jack Wightman (Newcastle) Lee Manning (Tathra) Wade Ryan (Wagga) Evan Bollard (Coffs Harbour) and Brett Wright (Sydney). The V8 Commodores of Mick Pinckham and Rob Inall are also in the mix.
Rally stalwarts Ian Hill and Phil Bonser teamed to be front-runners in International events on these roads in the 1970’s. Today, not much has changed, with the ageless pairing continuing to be competitive in their Escort when they occasionally bring it out to play in AMSAG events.
Other notable entries include leading lady driver Amanda Williams (Western Sydney) in her Mazda GTX, Bega Rally Director Ian Slater in an Evo 8 and Mick Tori (Wagga) in a newly acquired Altezza.
The event consists of over 150 competitive kilometres of forestry and shire road in a day-night format. The central service area at Bulahdelah Showgrounds includes campsites and hot shower amenities.
Spectator information is available via the AMSAG Website – www.amsag.com.au.
Competitors interested in upcoming AMSAG events as part of the 2017 Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series can also find information about the club at the website.