Quality Field to tackle AMSAG Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series opener
The first round of the Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series will take place this coming weekend on Saturday 18th March in the Vulcan State Forest, near Oberon. Despite the recent heavy rain experienced across the East Coast, the forests around Oberon have seen very little rainfall. The roads are expected to be in excellent condition.
The forests around the central service area of Black Springs have a reputation of providing quality rallying, with a subscribed field of 45 AMSAG vehicles indicates that the series is healthy and popular among competitors. The stages consist of fast flowing roads connected by tight-apex junctions, with surfaces changing from slippery red clay through to shale-like gravel. In addition, the stages wind in and out of harvested forest areas which provide further challenges as drivers will need to adapt to changeable road conditions.
This year’s event has been revamped by road directors Arron Topliff and Peter Batt, in an attempt to break away from the repeat stage format. This means that the event will now be run over 9 daylight stages with 7 individual stage formats. A total competitive distance of nearly 125km’s awaits the 45 crews.
One of the main draw cards of the AMSAG Oberon Rally is the relaxed, family-friendly nature of the event. The service park is situated next to the Black Springs Community Hall and is a constant hub of activity with servicing, scoring, catering, camping, showers and toilet facilities all at this location.
As is the custom, all AMSAG events run in two categories – Classic and Open, with a wide range of vehicles fronting the start line. Leading the field away will be the Shamrock Motorsport entry of Richie Dalton (Western Sydney) and John Allen (Queensland) in their new Ford Fiesta Prototype. The Open 4wd class has been well subscribed with 20 entries in total headed by Tim Joass (Western Sydney), Peter Neal (Taree), Ian Plenderleith (Bathurst), Jody Mill (Wagga) and Adrian Turnbull (Newcastle)
In a delightful mismatch, Adam Casmiri (Western Sydney) has entered a Honda Civic and will look to fend off his the hard-charging Brett Kuhner (Western Sydney) in the high-powered turbo-charged Datsun 1600 for fastest Open 2wd honours.
The Classic category at this event consists of a number of competitors looking to start the new season with a win. Doug and Luke Grimes head the field in their Toyota Celica after showing impressive speed on their only AMSAG outing in 2016. Series regulars David Hills/Paul Bennett have entered the immaculate Pipe King Escort are shape as likely challengers in the 17 car strong category.
The Open Drivers Champion from last year, Ron Moore (Bathurst) has returned with his son Lachlan co-driving. 2016 event winner Jamie Neale (Western Sydney) will be missing from this round but is expected to join Joe Chapman (Bathurst), Michael Long (Western Sydney) and Chris Giddins (Newcastle) at Round 2 at Rosewood, near Tumut. Also expected to return to the series at Rosewood is the reigning Classic Drivers Champion, Michael Valantine, who has opted to co-drive for son Tim in a new Nissan Silvia this weekend.
The Seeded Entry List and Spectator information is available on the Event Page- http://www.amsag.com.au/OberonRally2017.php
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.