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Singleton Automotive Centre Caves Classic,
Windy weather for the windy roads
Sandwiched between thunderstorms on Friday night and a cold, windy and miserable Sunday morning, Oberon turned on almost perfect weather on Saturday, April 14, for the 2018 Singleton Automotive Services Caves Classic Rally. Winds caused spectators to have to hold onto their hats but were good for the drivers because dust was quickly blown away.
The event was based on the Oberon Leagues Club which provided an almost perfect location, with plenty of space for the service park, food available throughout the day and a good venue for an evening meal, some refreshing and dust-clearing beverages, presentation of awards and somewhere to swap war stories, all just a short walk away for competitors, service crews, officials and spectators. Club Manager Natalie Ryan says that rallies are welcome back at any time.
The rally was run in eight stages across Hampton, Jenolan and Lowes Mount State Forests, with the first cars flagged off by Oberon Mayor Kathy Sajowitz. Local support is vital for sports like this and the organisers were pleased to know that the Council welcomed them to the town.
The first competitive stage was an 8km run in Hampton State Forest, followed by two stages (12 and 28km) in Jenolan. Cars then returned to Oberon for a service break before heading off for 10km in Lowes Mount on roads that hadn't seen a rally for many years. The stages in Hampton and Jenolan were then run again, followed by another service break then back into Lowes Mount, but this time in the dark.
Because spectator points are spread out and not ticketed it is difficult to estimate how many spectators were at the event, but comparison with a well-publicised Australian Rally Championship round in Canberra last year suggests that Oberon was able to draw about one third of the spectators as a city 200 times the size.
Regardless of whether you have ever been to a rally before or are coming to one for the first time, you should always be able to find somewhere to get spectator instructions. You should hope that they are always as good as the ones available for this event.
Rallying has a tradition of competitors complaining about minor things at the end but there didn't seem to be any of that at the club that night. North Shore Sporting Car Club had continued their tradition of good organisation, good roads and minimal complaints. The club and rally director John Sparkes should be congratulated.
Full results of all classes can be found at http://nsscc.com.au/caves-classic/
A report on the rally was published in the Oberon Review on Thursday, April 19.
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