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2019 Midstate Freight Rally of Orange
Saturday May 4 saw the running of the Midstate Freight Orange Rally, round 2 of the Australian Motor Sport Action Group’s Pipeking Southern Cross series, based at the Towac Park Racecourse, Canobolas Road, Orange. A new naming rights sponsor signed on for this year. Midstate Freight are a local based freight company operating a large fleet of vehicles servicing the Central West of NSW with depots in Bathurst, Lithgow, Cowra, Mudgee, Parkes, Orange & Dubbo.
We all know that there’s a drought on in this part of the world so the heavy rains around Orange on the evening of May 3 were welcome, but with a rally happening in Canobolas State Forest the next day there was some concern that the roads in the forest might be badly affected. Also, rain and mud on the day of the event make it miserable for everyone – competitors, officials, spectators and the media.
Fortunately the weather on the day was perfect, and the roads were also almost perfect for rallying with good grip and very little mud or dust. Now that the rally’s over it can rain as often and as much as it likes. Some people complained that it was a bit chilly, but I just said “I live in Oberon” and the most common response was “Why aren’t you wearing shorts?”. My town’s weather is famous.
Nine competitive stages were run in Canobolas State Forest, with four stages twice and one three times.
The problems with the geography of Canobolas State Forest mentioned above also made it difficult for spectator access. There were three spectator points and they were well chosen to see some action.
48 cars started the event at the Towac Park racecourse, with 29 classed as official finishers. There was no common reason for the high percentage of non-finishers and nobody could blame bad roads or problems with the route instructions, so maybe it was just teething problems at the second rally of the year. Outright winners were Jake Skeffington and Mark Patroni in a Subaru WRX, As they set fastest times on seven out of the nine stages they were always going to be hard to beat. Second were Bryan van Eck and Lizzy Ferme in a Toyota Altezza (which looks a lot like a Lexus IS200) and Simon and Luke Jamieson came in third in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO7.
AMSAG events are always well run and this was no exception. Information about this and other events can be found at http://www.amsag.com.au/wp/
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