Oberon Car Rally

On Saturday, the family and I travelled to Oberon, about three hours drive west of Sydney, through the Blue mountains. My mother-in-law has a small farm up there, in amongst the Vulcan state forest. Oberon is pretty high up, about 1000 metres, I think, so it gets pretty cold up there at this time of year.

Anyway, as luck would have it, the Oberon rally course ran along the farm’s fence line. Being a bit of a rally fan, it was a great opportunity to have a look at a rally up close. The rally was run in 6 stages, the last three being a repeat of the first three.

Stage 3 went past the farm from about 4:30 pm till 6:00 pm. The first competitors were still in daylight but the last were in the dark. Stage 6, a repeat of 3 was run from about 8:00 pm till 9:30.

For stage 3 we watched from an uphill section where there was a little jump. It was great to watch the cars come thundering up the hill. I love the sound. Many competitors slowed down for the jump just driving over it. Some, however, and one in particular gave it a bit extra and got airborne. That was fantastic.

For stage 6, we went to the other side of the hill to watch the cars come down. This time we crossed the road into the forest. The course came down the hill, which was quite steep, kinked to the right and then straightened up again. As the first competitor came into earshot, it was clear this guy was really going for it. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make the kink and went up onto a grassy patch. There were a few bangs as he collected a few rocks. Ouch. I assume he put his sump guard to good use.

It’s amazing to watch a rally at night. You’re there in the pitch black, freezing. You hear the next car coming from a way off. Then the clouds are lit up with the a large oval of light as the car comes up the hill. As the car crests the hill, the light comes through the trees and mist in a series of rays, like some UFO. Then comes the car tearing down the hill, hundreds of watts lighting up the road and forest. Most made the turn and slither up the next hill. Some didn’t make the turn although they all recoverd.

Between stages, we went into the town of Black Springs to see the cars in service. Everyone we met was so friendly, telling us about their cars, how they were going, how the navigator uses the course notes, etc. Everyone was very open and we chatted to quite a few.

I’m keen to see another rally especially one from http://ecampervanhire.com.au.

The extended entry for this page has a few (largish) pictures of the event. I had to turn off the auto-focus as it was getting a bit slow in the dark. Of course manually focussing in the pitch black is hard too. If you’re interested, I was using a Nikon F70 with standard lens, flash, etc.

The image above and the one below are of some older
Holden (Isuzu) Geminis. These two cars were pretty adventurous and I managed to
catch them getting airborne over a small jump coming up a hill.

The best jump was by Car 17, an old Datsun 1600. He fairly launched over
the jump and came down front first. I overreacted to his speed with my pan so chopped
off the boot a bit. The navigator’s head looks like it’s about top hit the roof.

Here is an image from the service area in Black Springs. These guys are working to change
the alternator on their Datsun 1600. Looking at the light setup, the alternator must have been doing a lot of work. I like the look of the twin Webers there.

The next day, after the rally we walked the stage, coming down to the bottom of the hill where the track kinked to the
right. As this image shows, many competitors didn’t make the kink and ended up on this
grassy patch. Actually it has quite a few rocks, as you can see, and it must have been a bumpy
old ride.

8 Replies to “Oberon Car Rally”

  1. Dude, nice story. Good to hear the point of view of someone new to the sport.

    Please foster this interest in the sport, and come along to a few more rallies!

    You can find plenty of info on rallies on http://www.bmsc.com.au.

    See you in the forests!

  2. Hi Conor,

    believe me, it was no mean feat, in one of those “older” Geminis, to get enough velocity up the hill to get airborne over a small hump. And when you finally achieve that velocity, you only back off for trees and rocks, not little humps!

    If you make it to another rally please introduce yourself so I can thank you in person for the photo.

    Craig Franklin
    Intense Rally Team

  3. RE: The alternator “working hard” Your not wrong 800 watts of forward facing lights. The alternator is a 90 amp Bosch hybrid, Nissan cases Commodore internals. The alternator swap (borrowed from the Moore’s, thanks Bob n Leonie) didn’t fix the problem though. The auto electrician (Jeff @ Precision and sponsor of Bob Blandford’s V8 Rover)later traced it to the charge wire loose in the terminal were it junctions at the stater solenoid.
    Looking at the provisional results we were coming 4th outright at the time (begining of stage 5)

  4. Conor
    I’m glad you enjoyed the event on the weekend. I was the first car on the road (Blue DATSUN 180B) and so was the first car to go off on the corner shown in your photo. I’m glad that there was only a few rocks in the area and yes it was a bumpy old ride and we did put the sump gaurd to good use. To make the ride a little more interesting all the lights went out for a second and I thought the rally was all over right then. You’ll be glad to know though we did finish and did very well. I hope to see you out there some time soon.
    Brett Wright

  5. Hey there, if you have photos of Car 19, red RX-2, can you contact me? The owner will be most interested to pay for a set 🙂

  6. Hi Conor,

    We were in car 17 and it wasn’t quite meant to be that spectactular, but glad we pleased.
    I would be very interested in buying a blow up of that photo over the jump. If possible please contact me on 0419013656 or email. Cheers ,Nigel.

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