About

Rallying is a type of motorsport conducted in specially-built cars over an itinerary of special stages joined together by liaison or transport stages. Crews, consisting of a driver and a co-driver, drive between the set control points of the special stages, attempting to record the fastest time (measured to the second) over the whole series of special stages. The special stages of NSW rallies are usually gravel roads, set within State forests, providing competitors with a unique set of challenges.  As a result, rally drivers are considered the best all-round drivers as they are used to confronting ever-changing road surfaces and circumstances over roads that they are unfamiliar with. Rally crews are always working on improving their technique, the performance of their car and their pace – it’s a fantastic challenge.

Kumho Rally Of The Bay 2013

The Rally Series’

Usually, rally events are conducted as part of a rally series, and a rally series will consist of at least 4 events over the course of a year. Competitors who register for a rally series are awarded points based on their performance at each event, and at the end of the year, the series champion is announced. In 2017, there are four main rally series operating in NSW – NSW Rallysprint Series (RSS)Development Rally Series (DRS), Hyundai Rally Series (HRS) and the NSW Rally Championship.

Events in the DRS are designed to provide great value competition in a very user-friendly format, usually running on Saturday afternoons and early evenings. The regulations in the DRS are less stringent than in higher levels of rallying, and the focus here is really on having a fun weekend, rather than playing for sheep stations.

All DRS events are also events in the HRS. The HRS is a simple, one-car-make series that is an ideal starting point for new competitors. The minimal vehicle eligibility regulations encourages the focus to be on developing the skills of the crew rather than investing in the performance of the car.

NSWRC events are a step up from the DRS and HRS, with a higher standard of cars and competitors. The pace in a NSWRC is generally much quicker, and the required commitment of time and money is also more significant. These events attract a much higher degree of marketing and promotional activity, and will include ceremonial starts and media days.

After the NSWRC, the next step is the Australian Rally Championship (“ARC”), and then the World Rally Championship (“WRC”). NSW hosts a round of both of these championships annually, and they provide great spectating opportunities.

rallycar

The Crew

There are always two crew members in a rally car – the driver and the co-driver. Usually, the driver is also the owner of the car. The role of the driver is obvious – get the car and the co-driver through the special stages quickly and safely! The co-driver, however, also plays a very critical role in the team. Outside of the car, the co-driver is usually responsible for management of the team, which includes time-management of the driver and the service crew during service breaks. A good co-driver is organised, assertive and calm. In the car, the co-driver guides the driver through the rally course (both special stages and liaison stages) by communicating instructions from a Road Book or Pacenotes.

A successful crew will have excellent communication skills and a strong bond of trust between them.

Kumho Rally Of The Bay 2013

Types of Rallies

A rally may by classified as either a blind rally or a pace-noted rally. All rounds of the DRS/HRS and some rounds of the NSWRC are blind rallies.  Here, the co-driver is provided with a Road Book by the organisers that details the way through each stage and lists the turnoffs and hazards with distances to 0.01km. The co-driver, using a computer that calculates the distance travelled by the car, brings each “call” to the attention of the driver at a pre-determined interval (usually 500m prior). In a blind rally, the crew will not have seen the roads before they reach them at competitive speeds.

ARC, WRC and some NSWRC events are pacenoted instead. With a pacenoted event, the crew will have the opportunity to drive over the special stages at non-competitive speeds and write a detailed set of notes of all the crests and corners in the stage. These notes are then read back to the driver as the crew contests the stages. It’s like Colin McRae Rally on your PlayStation.

Rallysprint

A rallysprint is a short, compact version of a rally where competitors tackle between 1 to 4 special stages 2-3 times. NSW rallysprints are usually held on gravel surfaces, sometimes in forests and sometimes at special “bush” venues. Each stage is between 3km and 8km in length and only the fastest time recorded on each stage contributes to the results. Like a rally, a good co-driver is essential, and in a rallysprint, the crews will add detail to the course instructions on the first pass in order to be able to go a lot faster on the later passes and record a faster time.

Touring Assemblies and Touring Road Events

TRE_1

As they are run in NSW, Touring Road Events (“TREs”) and Touring Assemblies (“TAs”) are considered entry-level motorsport under the umbrella of rally. Based on the rallies of the 50s and 60s and revived in the 90s, they are generally navigational events, run on public roads and using ‘classic cars’. The challenge of these events is not speed – public roads, remember – but working out the navigation and plotting the route on the map.

The main difference between TREs and TAs is that timing is only allowed on TREs – that means, a target time may be set for arrival at certain controls. This adds a whole new dimension to the challenge. Points are lost for things such as missed observations, missed or wrong entry into controls and in TREs, late or early entry to controls.

The length of these events varies but is usually around 300-350 kms per day. Events may run over one day or two, and are usually run on sealed roads, although some events will include some gravel roads also.

There are several clubs in NSW that run TREs and TAs. These include Classic Rally Club, Australian Historic Rally Group and the recently formed Historic Rally Club of NSW & ACT. Although there is no state series, most clubs run a championship series within their own club and these are seriously contested. You can find out about the next TRE or TA by downloading the calendar and contacting the organisers.

2017 TA/TRE Calendar

TRE_2

The Rally Panel is responsible for providing assistance to the NSW State Council of CAMS with the planning and administration of all rallying activities in NSW, including rallies, rallysprints, Touring Road Events and Touring Assemblies. Specifically, some of the duties of the Rally Panel include preparation of the calendar of events; co-ordinate the various rally and rallysprint series; maintain the pointscores, seeding and grading lists; and assist clubs in the organisation of events.

 

The Rally Panel works within the framework of the Rally panel standing orders, which are approved by CAMS from time to time. To download the current Rally Panel Standing Orders click the button below.

Standing Orders

The NSW Rally Panel continues to take on a large role in the promotion and marketing of all rally events, with a view to boosting participation rates and event success.

Members of the Rally Panel are all volunteers, who have an interest in the sport. Each year, new appointments to the Rally Panel are considered by the Panel Chairman and ratified by the State Executive Committee. If you are interested in joining the Rally Panel, please contact the Panel:

info@RallyNSW.com.au

To understand more about the goals of the current Rally Panel, download the Priorities and Objectives document below.

Priorities and Objectives – NSW Rally Panel
John Sparkes
Panel Chair
John contested his first event in 1976 in a Datsun 1600, with brother Sid navigating. John is a welded-on member of North Shore Sporting Car Club and soon after this first event began a long association with the club’s Batemans Bay rally, known as the Yokohama Radial 400 in the late 70s, through various guises in the 80s, 90s and noughties, but best known simply as “the Bay”. John directed the event on four occasions in the 80s and remained on the organising committee until around the turn of the century.

John and Carol became a team in 1980 and contested many Clubman and State rounds together. When Carol and her father built her own Datto, John started navving for her as well. John was also president of NSSCC for 4 years and remains an active committee member. He was a member of the Rally Panel in the 80s – a vastly different animal to today’s panel. However, family life soon took over and John retired from competition in about 1990.

Roll on 17 years and the addiction re-surfaced with John building one of the first rally Silvias in the country, contesting his first event in 2007 with son Andrew, and taking out the NSW 2WD Championship in 2008 and 2010. Later, daughter Fiona became co-driver and despite a roll-over is also hooked. John is having more fun in the sport than ever – loves the camaraderie and the competition - and has no intention of giving up any time soon. Now that their four kids are in their 20s and 30s, John and Carol are becoming more active again in all aspects of the sport. John directed the Caves Classic rallies in 2016 and 2017, is back on the organising committee for the Bay and joined the Rally Panel in 2016, becoming Chair in 2017.
Lui MacLennan
Panel Secretary and TRE Representative
Lui has been involved in rallying since she first competed in a classic navigational rally in 1995. She has competed frequently since then, winning the navigator's championship in four separate years. She became a member of the Classic Rally Club in 1996, and presided over that same club from 2006 to 2011.
She has lots of experience as an official, acting as Clerk of Course or Event Secretary at the Alpine Classic (TRE) from 1999 to 2014. She has travelled all over the country officiating - from Tasmania, to Adelaide to Coffs Harbour, in both forest and tarmac rallies. Highlights have been working as an official on Targa Tasmania for twelve years, the Classic Outback Trials and the Australian leg of the 2014 Sydney to London Marathon. She is rather excitedly looking forward to competing in the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge in 2019.
Lui joined the NSW Rally Panel in 2010.
Carol Sparkes
Panel Treasurer and Registrations
Carol grew up in a family that watched motor racing on TV and as a child went to watch Touring Cars at Oran Park and Warwick Farm. Carol’s father had previously raced bikes at Terrey Hills, Mt Druitt and Mt. Panorama. Her first contact with rallying was as a spectator at the Castrol International Rally in Canberra in 1978 and she was hooked by the sound of the BDA’s in the forest. After assisting with the NSSCC’s 6 Hour relay race at Amaroo Park in mid 1978 Carol joined the Australian Racing Drivers Club and was a lap scorer with them for 2 years at their meetings run at Amaroo and Bathurst.
Carol then realised that Rallying was a more interesting form of motorsport, and joined North Shore Sporting Car Club at the end of 1979. She met John and starting Navigating for him, with their first event together being the Southern Ranges rally in early 1980. In 1981 she joined the committee of NSSCC, holding the position of Treasurer for 5 years, then Secretary for 2 years and then Treasurer again for another 5 years. During this time she built her own Datsun 1600 rally car with her father (and lots of advice and help from John) and competed in this for a few years with John navigating. Being on the committee of NSSCC, she was involved in the organisation of many club events and assisted John for 3 years when he was Director of the Bay Stages State Rally in the 1980’s.
Children then came along and car club & motorsport took a back seat for many years. Now that their 4 children have grown the time is right to become involved again and to rekindle the many friendships formed in the 1980’s.
Carol joined the Rally Panel along with her husband John in 2016.
Tim Wilkins
NSWRC and DRS Co-ordinator
Ernie Martin
Checkers and RSS Co-ordinator
Ernie first caught the disease in 1987 and hasn’t been able to find a cure as yet. He's been a member of the Central North Coast Sporting Car Club since then, competing regularly in Motokhanas, Khanacrosses, Autocrosses & Rallysprints held at the Nabiac Motorsport grounds and has been a scrutineer for these events as well.
He started as a navigator in the old Group 6 competition when the Group 6 Championship was harder to win than the State Championship.
In 1989, Ernie teamed up with Peter Neal as his navigator, competing in too many rallies to count, both in State and Clubman Championships. He finished second outright navigator a number of times and first 4wd navigator just as many.
Ernie drove in a couple of rallies in the early part of the ‘90s but after finding out his ambitions out-weighed his abilities, decided to stay in the left hand seat for the time being.
He built an RX7 rally car in 2003 and competed in the Clubman Series in 2010 finishing second outright to Dennis “Butch” Standford, first Over 2001cc.
Of late he's been servicing for Giddo in his attempts to win the state title. He also ran in the 2015 Alpine Rally, starting car 94, completing 100% of the event and finishing 55th despite many set-backs during the event and funnily enough, not all of his own making...for once.
Ernie joined the Panel in 2016.
Jim Gleeson
Pointscore and Seeding List Co-ordinator
As a high school boy Jim grew up in Newcastle following locals like Wayne Bell, Peter Houghton and Kevin Mason in local state rounds and the famed Southern Cross Rally. He started competing himself as a navigator in 1979 at the Kloster Ford 500 State Rally and has never looked back! Jim has competed with over 50 drivers in hundreds of rallies from club, clubman, State, ARC to WRC and a couple of Targa rallies from that first run in 1979 every single year up to now. Along the way he also has directed some state and clubman rallies around the Newcastle area in the late 80’s and been an event checker. He has previously been a member of the NSW Rally Panel during 2006-2008. Jim is looking forward to the challenge of picking up the seeding list and point score roles in the 2017 Panel as well as continuing to compete in the NSWRC.
Adriana Pallister
Webmaster and Communications
Brett Middleton
Sponsorship and Publicity
Brett's first rally was in Braidwood, many years ago in a Datusn 1600, competing in the NSW rallysprint series then joining the Daihatsu dealer team and running a factory supported team with Honda as well. Moving to a Group A Subaru, into the ARC was a big step, then a period of rest where he focused on his family.
With wife Lisette and kids, Hayley, Oscar and Zac, now being teenagers, Brett wants to help them enjoy motorsport, so he got back into the ARC (with his best make Andrew Benefield) and won the SUV series twice in their Subaru Forester Diesel.
Brett joined the panel in March 2017 and his aim is to continue the growth of NSW rallying with partnership of companies to share mutual benefits.
President of North Shore Sporting Car Club, Brett’s leadership has grown the club to over 400 members with a focus on youth and competitor friendly events. “We need to make it easy for people to compete, and even easier for young drivers to enter events” Brett said.
Brett's experience of competition, both locally and Nationally, plus a few overseas events, will allow him to share his knowledge. He was a member of the panel over 20 years ago under the guidance of past rally legend Mike Bell.
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