Known as the 2016 Golden Trout Hotel Motel Eildon Stages Rally, 56 rally crews from all over Victoria and even as far away as Queensland will be tested on 10 Special Stages involving 132kms of fast paced rally action. The rally will start at 9:00 am on Saturday morning from Utah Place in Eildon. The finish will be around 4:30 pm at the Golden Trout Motel, Riverside Drive, Eildon.
The 2015 Victorian Champion is Ballarat businessman Darren Windus. He won the Championship in a Subaru WRX and is keen to repeat his title win this year, thus joining the elite few who have won back to back in the 53 year history of the Championship.
North East Victorian local Warren Lee, who was 2nd in last year’s Championship in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9, will be keen to put his local knowledge and recent tyre testing to good use to try and upset the good form of Windus and his well set up Subaru team.
Lee however will have to keep an eye in the mirror for any number of good young hard chargers in the championship who have made the move from the Hyundai Excel development series in the past year or so. The likes of Viv Dykes-Frayne, Andrew Murdoch, and Wayne Stewart will be pushing to upset the ‘old guard’ in the opening round. It will all make for some fascinating and flat-out rally action when they roll out in to the stages on Saturday morning.
The fight for the Two Wheel Drive Championship is very much a Central Victorian affair, with Bendigo based Brian Semmens and Dan Parry continuing to set the bench mark in their Nissan 200SX. Tony Moore, also a Bendigo resident, is set to push hard this year now that he has come to grips with the new Ford Focus. Moore has done a lot of work in the car in the off season and as he put it: “We’re looking forward to showing Brian that he’s not necessarily going to win all the time!”
However the battle between Semmens and Moore could become a 6 way battle with the return to the championship of at least 4 very fast fast drivers including Michael Conway, Neil Schey and Grant Walker, in classic Ford Escorts plus Maryborough hotshot Andrew Daniell in a refreshed Datsun Stanza following on from a stand-out performance at last year’s grueling Alpine Rally. There is no doubt they will all be fast and spectacular and in the end it may be reliability as much as speed that will determine where the championship trophy goes.
While the action will be hot in the forest for the competitors, several opportunities exist for Spectators to experience some of the action with no less than 4 opportunities to see the crews first hand.
The Rally guide can be downloaded from the Victorian Rally Championship facebook page.
All the Rally Cars will be carrying the RALLYSAFE vehicle and tracking safety system, a system developed in Tasmania and considered to be the world’s best for this type of event. The organisers at Rally headquarters in the Golden Trout Motel will be able to track every vehicle and be alerted immediately of an incident or breakdown. As well, the system communicates between nearby cars on the rally course for matters concerning safety or breakdowns.