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2016 Southern Cross Rally Festival
October 24-28, 2016

This event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Southern Cross Rally, and was a road tour rather than a competitive rally. Organised by Dan and Rosie White, who had directed the Southern Cross Rally out of Port Macquarie between 1974 and 1978, the event started at Healesville in Victoria and passed through Eildon, Falls Creek, Beechworth, Tumbarumba, Adelong, Yass, Jugiong, Grabben Gullen, Crookwell, Taralga and Edith before descending down Edith Road to Jenolan Caves. Overnight stays were at Marysville, Mount Beauty, Corryong and Gundagai.

To add to the excitement there was a special guest for the week. Rauno Aaltonen from Finland had won the Southern Cross Rally in Port Macquarie in 1977 and was also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Gallaher 500 at Bathurst when he led home the Minis that filled the first nine places.

It was not intended to be a competitive rally, but was for enthusiasts and anyone who just wanted to find out what rallying is all about while looking at attractive scenery. There were aspects of competition, such as navigation stages and route charts, but nobody was expected to exceed the speed limit or to take their cars where any damage was likely.

This was a prototype and test for future events. Competitors and officials came from Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, and everyone is looking forward to repeating the experience in years to come.

The event web site is at southerncrossrally.com.au.

Here's a brief statement about the organisers.

As Event Director for the Southern Cross Rally through its halcyon days of the 70s (1974-1978), Dan White knows a thing or two about rallies. Dirt rallies, tarmac rallies and touring events too!

Dan, and wife Rosie became the dynamic duo of event organisation at that time; a time marked by strong manufacture support, big name drivers and huge spectator numbers.

Following the demise of the Southern Cross, Dan still harboured a dream, a dream to continue to recognise an iconic event, one that has become legend status to Australia's older rally fans, drivers and navigators. But Dan also recognises that a new legion of drivers simply don't remember an event that ceased before many were born.

Dan & Rosie began slowly, building up reunions from the many fans of the original event but are now moving beyond the past to the future of events now constricted more and more by bureaucracy. In fact they're moving back to the future in creating TRE events that actually mimic the older style rallies from which the Southern Cross was formed.

In Drive Country, Dan & Rosie have a "vehicle" that is able to take Australia back to a wee drive in the country; on roads long since forgotten by mainstream motorists but roads the aficionados can reclaim, safely, and on which they can prove themselves and their machinery in safety and at road legal speeds.

The Cars and Coffee set are set to go beyond a Sunday morning get together, to try touring with purpose; to get to know their cars, between coffee stops; but to have fun with motor vehicles in relaxed atmosphere that will generate a new generation of rallying fans and drivers.

A report on the event appeared in the Oberon Review newspaper.


Copyright © 2016- Peter Bowditch

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