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This was the fifth round of the 2018 Pipe King AMSAG Series. The weather and roads were perfect when I went to Orange on the Wednesday before the event to make a video of the first stage, but rain on the Friday night was so heavy that it threated the running of the event. As it turned out, the weather on the day was cold with the occasional drizzle, but the roads had drained well except for some patches of clay. As the director said at the drivers' briefing, the fastest driver would not be the winner but the fastest and most cautious would be. The Supplementary Regulations for the event can be seen by clicking on the picture on the right.
The event was based at the Towac Park Racecourse in Orange. The location was excellent, with plenty of level ground for service facilities and good access to where the competition took place. Food was available all day and the club provided welcome after-event drinks and food.
Unless you are really familiar with the forests being used, can read a map and know how to find your way in and out without using blocked roads, good spectator instructions are essential whether you are watching a rally for the first time, a regular spectator or someone trying to find a good place to get photos and video for the media.
The rally was run over nine competitive stages, with three stages run twice and one three times. Despite the rain the night before the roads were all in good condition and shouldn't have presented any obstacle to any of the competitors. Part of the game is handling different road conditions, so unless the roads actually become impassable nobody should have any reason to complain.
I'll let the pictures do the talking.
There were 47 entrants, one of whom failed to start. Of the remaining 46, 34 were classed as official finishers. The proportion of non-finishers seems to be about the average for events these days. It's tough on cars even when being driven a little slower because of slippery roads, and those slippery roads can also account for their own share of withdrawals. As is usual for rallies, the medical staff had little to do all day. It might look like a dangerous game but there are a lot of rules in place to make it as safe as possible, and these rules are changed occasionally to make it even safer.
AMSAG web site - http://www.amsag.com.au
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