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AMSAG Oberon Rally
Vulcan Forest
Saturday, March 18, 2017

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Despite threatening weather during the preceding week, the Oberon Rally based at Black Springs on March 18 was a success. This was the first round of the 2017 AMSAG Pipe King Southern Cross series, and the field of 45 starters (which was about twice the number for some 2016 events) suggested that the series was off to a very good start.

Drivers' Briefing
Service Park

As is tradition for rallies in this area, the main part of Vulcan Forest between Abercrombie and Shooters Hill Roads was used, as well as the Skinners Road extension north of Black Springs and the Arkstone extension south-west of the town. The roads in these areas are almost perfect for forest rallies, as they are well maintained for forest maintenance and logging trucks and the geology of the area means that they can take quite a lot of rain without becoming too difficult to drive on. This last point was lucky because a lot of rain had fallen on the area in the few days before the event, and it was still raining lightly on the day.

In the mud in Wombat

And then it really rained.

The roads in the southern part of the forest were wet and slippery, with light rain falling on them almost all day. Paradoxically, the roads in the Skinners Road section were extremely dusty. I suppose you could say that on average driving conditions were perfect, ranging from slipping all over the place to so dusty it was impossible to pass any car that a competitor caught up with. As part of the skill of rallying is coping with varying driving conditions, this event was a useful test for experienced drivers and good training for beginners.

The two photos below were taken from almost the same position and give an idea of how bad the dust was. The one on the left is from this event and the one on the right was taken in November 2016.

A Subaru WRX stirs up some dust

Up the road a little, nothing but dust in Skinners.

Unfortunately, the dust decided to get up my nose and upset my
sinuses and breathing, so I had to get away from there early. I
used to be able to spend hours in rally cars in these conditions,
so maybe I'm getting old.

39 cars finished out of the 45 starters, a tribute to the road selection by the organisers, the reliability of the cars and the skill of the competitors in trying conditions.

1st Tim and Peter Joass Mitsubishi EVO2
2nd Ian Penderleith and Mel McMinn Mitsubishi EVO3
3rd Adrian and Krissy Turnbull Subaru WRX
4th Ron and Lachlan Moore Mitsubishi EVO6
5th Adam Casmiri and Paul Bailey Honda Civic EP3 R
6th Adrian Player and Peter Dean Subaru WRX
7th Phillip Pluck and Ellie Yates Subaru WRX
8th Chris Jaques and Hugh Taylor Mitsubishi EVO9
9th Peter Neal and Craig Whyburn Subaru WRX
10th David Hills and Paul Bennett Escort RS 1800
Amanda Williams and Rae Waterhouse took out the Lady Driver Award.
See the final results here.

A report on the rally appeared in the Oberon Review on March 23, 2017

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