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2016 Southern Cross Rally Festival - Day 2
Marysville to Mount Beauty

Day two was a long drive, taking in some spectacular scenery from the mountains around Lake Eildon. Some of the roads used in the morning form part of the Targa High Country Rally to run in early November 2016. The video shows the start of one of the Targa stages, but driven at between 60 and 80 km/h. The faster competitors in the Targa will be expected to be doing at least twice these speeds, with the roads closed to other traffic. Participants in the Southern Cross Rally have to obey speed limits, but at those slowish speeds it must make even people familiar with high-speed driving wonder at what it must be like to take on these roads in a Lamborghini or a Nissan GTR.


After lunch at Whitfield, the crews set out to navigate their way to the day's finish at Mount Beauty township, refuelling at Beechworth on the way. Possibly due to the long day some navigation errors crept in, the first of which almost caused some of the crews to bypass Beechworth entirely, although everyone eventually got there.

After Beechworth, a variety of navigation mistakes which included misreading a map, placing too much faith in a TomTom GPS and mishearing something said at the morning briefing found several cars driving on dirt roads through a forest rather than cruising along the bitumen to Mount Beauty. This at least provided the opportunity to follow Rauno Aaltonen driving a Mini on the dirt while imagining actually keeping up with him in a real rally.

Unfortunately, the dirt road shook something loose in the Mini and it required some roadside attention. One fortunate thing was that there was someone on hand to give advice who had driven a car looking just like this to victory in the Monte Carlo Rally (that's Rauno in the blue shirt standing near the front of the car), and a second fortunate thing was that one of the other competitors was able to apply local knowledge to firstly get everyone out of the forest and secondly to get the car to a mechanic's workshop where it could be worked on in relative comfort and with the correct tools.

Once the Mini was fixed the rest of the trip was uneventful drive down the bitumen to the accommodation in Mount Beauty, where the day's navigation problems were immediately forgotten, never to be spoken of again.


Copyright © 2016- Peter Bowditch

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