Southern Cross Daily Reports
Day 1. (Sunday 13th November, Sydney to Taree)
In its heyday the Southern Cross Rally was the Bathurst of the rally world; a gruelling five or six day event, mostly at night through the forest between Sydney and Coffs Harbour, centred in Port Macquarie, well, in the 70’s anyway. Before that it was a Sydney Melbourne thing but that was before my time. I was a P plate teenager living in Coffs Harbour when the Southern Cross came through with service points in Coffs Harbour and Bellingen and of course the spectator point across the Bellingen River. I owned a Mini Cooper S and I liked the look of this Rallying so I joined Coffs Harbour and District Sporting Car Club and well the rest is history. I am not sure that a life time of destroying and repairing cars has been a responsible way to spend money, Oh well it is what it is.
I first heard about the 50th anniversary Southern Cross Rally in the early part of the year but I dismissed it as an event, not for me, as the press about it was all about people and cars who competed back in the day. I also thought that the entry fee would be way beyond me. A few months before the event I again saw something about it and decided to look into it and much to my surprise the entry fee was reasonable and so I decided to give it a go. The car is my Triumph Dolomite Sprint that I have owned for 29 years, the driver is me, Jim Pope, and the navigator is an old school friend and my first navigator (in the Bellingen Valley Rally 1977) Peter Liston. All three of us have seen better days so lets hope we get there and back in one piece. Day one started at Eastern Creek Drag Strip (I refuse to call it Sydney Motorsport Park) with what could be best described as a Rally Sprint type section through the car park and access roads around the drag strip.
I drove like an old woman on her way to church as I intend to get to Coffs and back again. From there we headed north via the freeway too Awaba for another competitive section around Awabawac Park.
Now this is a venue I know well so I could not resist going a bit quicker. Then we travelled to Ringwood Hillclimb just north of Raymond Terrace for another competitive section using the Hillclimb plus the Khanacross tracks.
From there we continued heading north via Wang Wauk Forrest and eventually to Taree and the end of day one. The Dolly is going well at the moment. So far so good.
Geoff (the Noise)Thomas and Jon Dickinson in the Fiat 131 had some problems on the way to the start with a blown head gasket which meant going back to Newcastle to fix it, but they made it to the start on time. Not sure how they ended the day but the car sounds great.
Rod and Karen Piggott in their Peugeot 404 had problems with the Terra trip but one of the officials was able to lend them a replacement. Otherwise reporting no problems, which is what you would expect from the Peugeot.