In an effort to promote and strengthen relationships between NSW Car Clubs, each month Rally NSW will be profiling one of the clubs that make up our rally community. First cab off the rank for January is the Bathurst Light Car Club, promoter of the Bathurst Rally which is a round of both the NSW Rally Championship and Development Rally Series in 2016.
Club Name: Bathurst Light Car Club
Club Location: Bathurst, NSW
Membership: Approximately 300
Motorsport focus: Everything! Rallies, motorkhanas, khanacross, hillclimbs and super sprints.
The Bathurst Light Car Club was formed on the 12th February 1953 by a small group of local car fanatics and is one of the oldest affiliated CAMS clubs in Australia.
The Club’s reputation for organising local Trials and Hillclimbs grew and Club members were soon involved in assisting the Australian Racing Drivers Club with their race meetings on Mt Panorama. Club members constructed much of the original timber fencing around the Mount and then later the tyre barriers that preceded the current concrete barriers.
By 1961 the club had built clubrooms at Mt Panorama and over the decades this building has progressed to the current asset that members and guests currently enjoy. Many rallies and Trials were based in Bathurst from the mid 1960’s when route chartered events first came into vogue.
After many years of struggling to make an annual profit, the Bathurst Light Car Club gained sole rights to run the Beer Booths at the Easter Race meetings on the Mount. In return for these rights club members built several brick beer booths and fund raising became a thing of the past. In 1969 CAMS advised that all Road events were banned so members sought other means such as Hillclimbs and Motorkhanas to get their thrills. Social events became popular and in 1970 the club invited Evan Green to be a guest speaker for a Dinner meeting.
What events does the club organise?
From those early days to today the BLCC has been awarded the rights to host the Australian Hillclimb on the Mount on several occasions as well as rounds of the Australian Rally Championship in 1984 and again in 1993 and 1994. During the 1980’s rallying was at its peak with the Club running rounds of the NSW State and Clubman Championships and BLCC members were excelling in State and Group 7 Rallies during this period. Whilst there was generally a Rally somewhere in the State every 3 weeks or so from March through to November in the mid 1980’s the Club added a Khanacross to the calendar and this proved very popular with attracting competitors as young as 14 to learn dirt driving skills. Rallysprints were also popular on the Mt Panorama car park roads at the time.
Any famous/successful members?
The Club has had many successful Rally competitors over the decades with Greg Brown and Arthur Davis winning the NSW Rally Championship for Drivers and Navigators in 1987 against stiff competition that included Neal & Rick Bates, Martin Quinn and David Eadie. David Robinson was a close 2nd Outright Co-Driver in the 1989 NSW Championship with his regular steerer John Paine. This crew won the 1985 Group 7 Open Series during the period of Group G cars.
Club stalwarts; Rod Jones and Arthur Davis proved a force to be reckoned with in their attempts at the Southern Cross Rallies in the early 1970’s, 18th outright in the 1977 London to Sydney Rally and Arthur placing his Datsun 16th Outright in the 1970 Repco Round Australia. Rod was also successful in the Australian Safaris and the NSW Rally Championships in the 1980’s and early 1990’s as well as AMSAG events up until his retirement. Rod also tried his hand at the Bathurst 12 Hour in 1992 in a VR4 co driven by George Fury and Ed Ordinsky and they finished 4th in class with the entry fee paid by BLCC and pit crewed by club members.
In 2015 two Bathurst crews had several fierce battles throughout the year with Joseph Chapman’s WRX coming out slightly ahead of Ron Moore in his EVO. Both these crews also excel with promoting themselves and Rallying in the local media which is highly supportive of the Bathurst Light Car Club.
President Mick Tuckey competes regularly with fellow club members; David and John Hills in their BDA Escorts in Australia and New Zealand and a growing contingent of members have been trying their hand at Targa style rallying of late including new club member Grant Denyer who achieved success in 2015 in the Showroom class at Targa Tasmania. Mark Hammond and Lisa Dunkerton, John Paine and Andrew Crowley plus Warren Bossey and Martin McLoughlin have all entered the 2016 Targa Tasmania event.
As well as success in competition the BLCC has provided some exceptional Rally mechanics such as Rod Jones’ son Shane who built Rod’s Safari Nissan in the mid 1990’s then went to Europe to work on Tommi Makinens’ World Championship winning Mitsubishi EVO Lancers. Tony Barrie was Head Mechanic for Wayne Bell’s Hyundai Rallysport team aided by other club members including Jeff Doggett, Peter Tracey and Andrew Martin plus Dave Robinson.
What does the club do to attract new members?
BLCC run 5 dirt Motorkhanas and 5 Khanacross events each year on the Club’s own property at “The Quarry” located at the rear of Mt Panorama. The Club has a long ongoing history with running events for the NSW Rally Championship and Development Rally Series (previously Clubman Series) as well as a busy speed event calendar on the famous Mount including Hillclimbs, Flying 5th, Supersprints and Esses Descents.
What are the clubs plans for 2016 and the future?
In 2016, the Bathurst Light Car Club not only has planned a busy year of Speed Events including hosting a round of the Nulon Nationals, Motorkhana and Khanacross events as well as hosting a round of the NSW Rally Championship and Development Rally Series on September 24.