Rally NSW is a CAMS-owned business administered by the NSW Rally Panel for the purpose of promoting the sport in NSW. Rally NSW is funded primarily by businesses as naming rights partners of the various rally series under the Panel’s co-ordination.

All funds generated by Rally NSW, including sponsorship income, competitor registration fees and miscellaneous income, are held in a CAMS bank account for use by the Rally Panel.

Rally NSW uses all of its sponsorship income on the promotion of the sport through a variety of methods. The majority of expenditure is currently used for the production of professional video coverage of the NSW Rally Championship and East Coast Classic Rally Series events for viewing on Facebook and YouTube.

Rally NSW also owns a range of promotional material for use by organising clubs in promoting their events.

The Rally NSW Facebook page and the Rally NSW website are the main sources of information about rallying in NSW for competitors, rally organisers, officials, service crews, spectators and anyone else with an interest in the sport.

Rally NSW is always on the lookout for innovative ways to promote our sport, and would welcome any feedback or ideas.

please use the contact form at www.rallynsw.com.au/contact/ or speak with a Panel member.


NSW led the way in trials of the 1940s and 1950s and it was our car clubs and the people in them and the competitors of the day, which give us our fine rally heritage. Car trials were what clubs could easily run within the law at the time and during the late 1950s, they attracted hundreds of new members who wanted a taste of the adventure that the Redex Trials had generated.

The Redex Trials of 1953, 1954 and 1955 were run by the Australian Sporting Car Club of Sydney and they launched an era that put trials on the front page for the public and started the motorsport we have today.  NSW took five of the nine podium positions from the three Redex Trials.

Drivers and crews came from all walks of life and found ways to get cars through roads that were no more than goat tracks to distant parts of the continent.

Only poor road maps were available for most of Australia, so people who could read a map and find their way across the country were in high demand as navigators. The cars used were just the ordinary cars of the day, sometimes with only a sump guard for underbody protection and extra driving lights added.

The Ampol Trials that followed in 1956, 1957 and 1958 were also NSW based events, again run by the ASCC and it was these events, eventually totalling six, that were the hub of the post-war ‘adventurous’ era of the sport. Competitors in these events became household names to the public of Australia.

It was the 1956 and 1957 Ampol Trials that led to the trials clubs of NSW leaving CAMS and forming a separate body, the Council of Combined Car Clubs.  There was quite a bitter dispute with CAMS that was not resolved until late 1957. Upon the return of the trial clubs to CAMS, the first Rally Advisory Panel in Australia was formed in NSW in 1958 and the first rally code followed soon after.

In 1960 NSW conducted the first State Drivers and Navigators Trials Championship in Australia. The events that made up the series in 1960 were run by the Goulburn Auto Club (Goulburn 600), Canberra Sporting Car Club, and the Australian Sporting Car Club (Antill Trial and Southern Mountains Trial 1000 Miles). All events were run at night, normally from about midday to midday and covering around 500 miles unless run over a long weekend.

As maps became better around the urban areas, the trials at club level became more and more dependent on navigation and directors started to use more and more tricks to provide good competition at this level. Because of poorer maps in the areas used by the open/championship events, the ‘tricks’ weren’t needed and became unwanted as manufacturer interest was attracted.

It was at about this time that the first events were run which were fully route charted. The Goulburn Auto Club was to break new ground at the time to run a ‘drivers’ event by running the first fully route charted state championship event in 1965.  This was a long time before anyone else in Australia thought of adopting this concept.

Manufacturer support was easier to acquire with only the driver, the car and the road to contend with and this was soon to become the norm for almost all events outside club level.

During the 1960s the car clubs grew and grew and more and more road events were conducted. Castrol promoted the Castrol Safety Drive with the help of the Sun newspaper. This comprised participation by entrants from the public in standardised car club events with an eventual state winner.  The youth of the state accepted the idea and flocked to the event. The clubs that participated gained significant identification and increased their memberships considerably.

By the mid 1960s NSW had a massive number of car clubs that would start to strain relations if every club wanted to run their own trials on the public roads. A ‘group’ system was introduced in NSW, primarily for Sydney and Newcastle whereby all clubs in the group could participate in trials run in the ‘group’ in an endeavour to minimise the numbers of events needed on the public roads. The previous rule limiting the number of invited clubs to an event was relaxed, enabling support to be given to smaller clubs and also to encourage those smaller clubs to participate in the higher-grade events.

Unfortunately the population of NSW was increasing in a post-war surge and car trials started to attract the attention of Councils, the Shires Association and then the Police. This came to a head in late 1968 with the Police threatening to close down car trials.

All car trials in NSW were suspended in 1969 and the records reflect this with no NSW Championship winners appearing on the honour board for that year. An agreement was negotiated with the Shires Association which satisfied the Police and things returned to a workable level, for a number of years at least. The suspension in 1969 was not well received by all and ill feeling existed for years to come within the sport.

The Southern Cross Rallies started in 1966 and the ASCC was still at the forefront of NSW events. They were still regularly running 500 mile/one night events so the format was easy. Four events merged into one over four nights, parc ferme between each night and only controlled servicing would introduce an exciting new long distance challenge surpassing anything else seen in Australia.

But this was far more than an ASCC event; NSW thought of it as its own and it was supported by every rally club in the state. Australia embraced the Cross and because of its format it immediately became the premier event in Australia.

The sections in the early years of the Cross were mostly route charted but by todays standard, it would be considered a fairly primitive route chart. The interstate competitors loved the idea and flocked to the event. A ‘drivers’ rally was so different from anything they had at home and substantially different from the only international event at the time, which was run in Victoria and was heavily navigation based.

One can see the transformation in rallies during the period of the Southern Cross Rallies from 1966 to 1980, merely by looking at the Supplementary Regulations, Road Books and result sheets. The Route Instructions moved from the old format to a Road Book with full route chart, tulips, intermediate distances and full spacing of instructions, which would be easily readable by the co-driver of today. The event also started to break down the CAMS issue of whole minute timing, introducing quarter-minute timing in the competitive sections.

Canberra’s Don Capasco Rally in 1974 was ground breaking for the sport in that it introduced what was needed for rallying – closed roads. This heralded the modern era for the sport and introduced ‘elapsed time’ to Australia.

All rallies to date were ‘blind’ rallies, although pace notes had been talked about when international drivers competed here and competitors were starting to learn about them. One early navigator first used them in a couple of sections in the 1971 Heatway Rally in New Zealand when competing with Andrew Cowan in a Mini Cooper S for NZ/BMC.

The 1980s saw another period of change, both for vehicles and the types of events.

Gone from serious rallying were the open road events, initially in daylight at least, the introduction of rallysprints, or short section closed dirt road events, and night only forest rallies.

CAMS changed the vehicle specifications for rallies from Group G to Group A and then to Production Rally Cars (PRC) fairly quickly as Group A was recognised as unworkable.  All this was done in the interest of the sport, according to those in CAMS who initiated the changes.  Few of the vehicle changes really seemed to help the competitors, the clubs or the state. Some stability appeared to emerge with the Production Rally Cars category, which itself has also seen regular eligibility changes.

The 1990s saw the emergence of a state standardisation for the organisation of the special stage rallies and a surge in rallying followed.

Part of this upswing came from the very successful Gemini series in NSW, which ran with good fields and considerable support until 2007. It was a low cost series for standard Holden Geminis with only limited modifications permitted. A similar successful series, based around the Hyundai Excel, was introduced in 2005.

1992 saw a group of rally people in NSW break away from CAMS and form the Australian Motor Sport Action Group – AMSAG. It is regrettable that this fragmentation of the sport in NSW was ever allowed to occur and that it continues to this day. Active and enthusiastic competitors they are and we must continue to recognise them as part of rallying in NSW.

Costs have always been a very significant factor of entry-level competition. This was particularly felt in the early part of this century with the introduction of expiry dates on seat belts, fire extinguishers and helmets, and later the introduction of frontal head restraints and RallySafe for tracking.

These regulations are justified as necessary for OH&S standardisation throughout the sport but some would argue that they produced a negative effect on the sport, as costs affect entry level competitors heavily and without those, the top level of rallying is not sustained. Many competitors in the Gemini Series say it just got too expensive to compete and left the sport.

The introduction of Historic, Classic and Clubman groups for eligible vehicles has seen an increase in competitors and helps to continue growth in the sport.

The car trial of the adventurous age is now only part of our history, but a history over which NSW can claim pre-eminent ownership from the Redex, the Ampol and the Southern Cross events. Without these events in our history we would not have what we have today. We have an exciting sport albeit beset with community and environmental pressures on all sides.

Let us all work to have it survive and flourish.

The closed road special stage rallies are now the pinnacle of our sport and the rally clubs of NSW and their members continue to be the backbone of NSW Rallying

Pace notes are used in many events today but blind rallies are still considered by many as the ultimate test of rally driving and are popularly used outside state championship events. Rallysprints and khanacross have emerged as excellent club activities and the training grounds for dirt rallying.

The ‘tricky’ navigation of the 60s has stayed and is still enjoyed in a number of clubs in the state, in the shape of Navigation Assemblies and open navigation is still well practised in longer distance events, most of which are run as Road Rallies.

All form a part of the ‘rally family’ of today.

With many thanks to Dave Johnson, a member of the CAMS Australian Rally Hall of Fame.

Dave was the first Rally Panel Chairman in 1958 that saw the NSW Championships start, won the state navigator championship twice and was the first to be in 3 winning cars in our Southern Cross Rally.

He was the NSW member of the first National Rally Committee that brought in the National Rally Code and the first National Championship.

Born in 1933, he is still competing from time to time in blind rallies but always in the left hand seat. He’s also still passionate about maps and ‘real’ navigation and enjoys the challenge of organising navigational rallies.

1954 Redex Instructions                                                     

1954 Redex instructions

1954 REDEX Trial with cars refueling at the Eucla control

1954 REDeX Trial with cars refueling at the Eucla control

1970 Ampol Trial

1970 Ampol Trial

1972 Southern Cross – Doug Stewart and two times NSW Co-Driver Champion Dave Johnson

1972 Southern Cross Doug Stewart and Dave JOhnson

1978 Hunter Valley Rally

1978 Hunter Valley Rally

1995 Ed Ordinsky Mobil 1 ‘Round Australia Trial winning Commodore

1995 Ed Ordinsky Mobil 1 'Round Australia Trial winning Commodore

Six times NSW Rally Champion Barry Ferguson & three times NSW Champion Co-Driver Tony Denham –  Ampol Trial

Barry Ferguson & Tony Denham Ampol Trial

Gelignite Jack Murray

Gelignite Jack 1

Service 1958 Mobilgas Trial

Service 1958 Mobilgas Trial

Southern Cross Rally

Southern Cross

1955 Redex Trial control

1955 Redex control

Sweep vehicle – 1957 Mobilgas Trial – 6G Chamberlain Champion tractor.

1957 MObilgas Trial sweep 6G Chamberlain Champion tractor

1958 Mobilgas Trial – Jack Witter & Doug Stewart

1958 Jack Witter & Doug Stewart

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  are awarded points based on their performance at each event, and at the end of the year, the series champion is announced. In 2018, there are three rally series operating in NSW – Clubman Rally Series (CRS), Hyundai Rally Series (HRS) and the NSW Rally Championship.

Events in the CRS 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 CRS 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 CRS (including the Development Rally Series and the Open Rally Series) 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 CRS 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.


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 CRS/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.


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.


As they are run in NSW, Touring Road Events (TREs), Navigation Assemblies (NAs) 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 , NAs 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. Touring Assemblies do not depend on navigation.

The length of these events varies but is usually around 300-350 km 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 NAs. These include Classic Rally Club, Australian Historic Rally Group and 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.

TREs, NAs and TAs are all run under the National Touring Standing Regulations, link below: ​

National Touring Standing Regulations

2020 Recommended Additions to NSW Navigation Assembly Supp Regs :






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 by filling in the contact form below:


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

Priorities and Objectives – NSW Rally Panel


Reports to the NSW State Council

The NSW state council meets bi-monthly. The council consists of a representative (or delegate) from each car club. The NSW Rally Panel Chairman is required to produce a report to each State Council meeting. From October 2014 onwards, those reports will be published here, immediately following their being tabled at State council.

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