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2016 Southern Cross Rally Festival - Day 3
Mount Beauty to Corryong

The third day took the field from Mount Beauty to Falls Creek, where Rauno Aaltonen conducted a training session. The drive up to Falls Creek gave contestants the chance to drive on a spectacularly twisting, climbing and challenging road with views of the snow on Mt Bogong. (And it really is a climb - the Falls Creek village is at elevation of 1,600 metres above sea level, a climb of well over a kilometre from Mount Beauty at 366 metres.)

The training session consisted of two parts - a slalom and practice at what is called "a front-end throw". The slalom exercise was to teach drivers how to sit properly in the car and to use the steering wheel correctly, both being things that Rauno believes will make people better and safer drivers. You might expect a group of experienced drivers to know these things already, but everyone learnt something and some bad habits were revealed and hopefully corrected,

The "front end throw" is a technique for quickly changing a car from reverse to forward motion using the least possible width of road and doing it quickly. It was great fun to try, but it wasn't a coincidence that the person who did it best competes regularly in motorkhanas, where it is an essential skill. It has limited application in most circumstances and probably shouldn't be tried unless you are familiar with the car, have someone there to explain what to do and have plenty of room to practise. Rauno's suggestion was that you should only do it in your own garage, using your neighbour's car.

After the class the field drove back down the mountain and proceeded to Dederang for lunch.

The afternoon session took the field to Corryong. There were a couple of tricky navigation problems to keep the competitors' brains working, but nobody came to any grief. One piece of navigation took the field along the beautiful (both for driving and scenery) Yabba Road north to the site of Old Tallangatta, a town submerged by the water of Lake Hume. As well as stopping to look at where the town used to be, the opportunity was taken to check that cars were running well. The nature of the event doesn't put stress on cars but it is always useful to check any unusual noise or rattle, and in this case nothing was found that needed to be fixed.

After Tallangatta the field navigated north between Ganya and Mount Lawson State Parks. The nature of the roads used can be seen in the video, and it should be noted that the cars were not exceeding the speed limit. This is not a speed or endurance event, and you can have a lot of safe fun on the right roads without breaking the law.

The end of the the day's travels was at Corryong, and to add to the excitement of a day which started with driving lessons from an expert the guest of honour at dinner was George Fury, twice winner of the Australian Rally Championship and the Southern Cross Rally and, to show that his skill wasn't just on dirt, the runner-up in the 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship.

If anyone didn't have a good time throughout the whole day they would have to be very hard to please.

Copyright © 2016- Peter Bowditch

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