Ready to roar: Coffs Harbour’s motorsport fans don’t have long to wait for the Coffs Coast Rally.
Ready to roar: Coffs Harbour’s motorsport fans don’t have long to wait for the Coffs Coast Rally.

Rally rivals ready, set, go!

THE countdown is well and truly on until the start of the Allied Air-Conditioning Coffs Coast Rally.

There is only nine days to go before the massive three-day event commences and with four separate events running at the same time spectators at the Coffs Coast Rally are in for a unique experience.

A star-studded quality 50-car field will take to the roads next week and it won’t just be the big guns competing in the third round of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) that will have fans roaring.

There will also be NSW Rally Championship competitors, Allcomers, and the ever popular classic cars making up the balance of the field.

Victorian driver Scott Pedder leads the Australian Rally Championship in his Mitsubishi EVO 9 after two rounds and is looking forward to the challenge of the Coffs Coast Rally.

“I have never competed in Coffs Harbour as a driver, however, I navigated once for my brother, Mark, in the ’90s but that’s a long time ago,” Pedder said.

“I know some of the roads in the area have legendary status and I can guarantee that despite my not knowing the roads, the fight will be on between me and Simon Evans in his Subaru.

“His car might be faster on the straight bits but we are fast in the tighter stuff.”

Washed out by torrential rain last year, the Coffs Harbour and District Sporting Car Club have rebuilt the rally in conjunction with the local forestry who have worked wonders on the roads traditionally used by the event.

“Many roads we used in the past were damaged badly after the storms last year,” rally manager Martin Quinn said.

Quinn, a former front running competitor himself and now team manager for his son, Nathan, an ARC regular in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, has put down his spanners to run the event for the club. Quinn commented that the longer stages that will be used over the weekend combined with roads never before used will test the skills of all crews.

“With a service halt in the historic town of Glenreagh, many hundreds of people will get to see the cars in action, and who wouldn’t want to see Escort BDAs and Datsun Stanzas at full noise in the forest?” he asked.

In past times Ford Escorts and Datsun Stanzas ruled the rally roads around the Coffs Harbour area and spectators will have a chance to see them again at this year’s event.

Multiple ARC winner Ross Dunkerton will compete in his Ford Escort RS1800 and will be joined by a number of leading ‘Classic’ crews, including former ARC driver Will Orders, in a full replica of the famous Hugh Bell RX-7 that thrilled the crowds in ARC rallies of the ’80s.

These cars are sure to ignite the old Ford vs Datsun battles that were once a key component of the famed Coffs Harbour Rally.

Some of these cars are worth more than $150,000 but don’t worry about the money because their owners aren’t afraid to drive them like they used to be driven.

The rally starts at 1pm on Friday, May 14, with a Super Special stage at the Coffs Harbour Showground.

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