This weekend’s EROAD Power Stage will look a little different to the more traditional format, with organisers of The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally taking on a rallycross approach.
The EROAD Power Stage will wrap up the 16-stage event where crews will battle it out for Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) bonus points, with the top 10 crews to be broadcast live via 7plus.
However, while the previous three rounds of the 2023 season have all run their Power Stages on shire roads, the Victorian round will be run across three surfaces, with the main attraction being the Boisdale Hillclimb Circuit.
Starting out on gravel shire roads outside the hill climb, crews will complete around 500 metres on the traditional gravel surface, before tackling the facility’s khanacross course and ending up on the popular hill climb circuit, which they will initially run in reverse and then back in the conventional direction.
Clerk of Course Andrew Roseman revealed last year’s Supercheap Auto Super Special Stage at the Coffs Coast Rally provided inspiration for going against the traditional EROAD Power Stage norm.
“We’re really excited to be introducing this type of Power Stage for the event, something that is a little different to what people are used to,” Roseman said.
“I had a hand in running the Super Special Stage at Coffs Coast last year and that certainly served as the main inspiration for this stage, mainly because of how cool it was and the positive response it received.
“Obviously, there won’t be cars going side by side with us, but it will still be a big challenge for crews where they will be under pressure.
“And what better way to finish an endurance event than completing a challenging rallycross-like stage with a combination of gravel shire roads, tight twisty khanacross sections and a hill climb – it is completely different to the two days of forest rallying they will be doing.”
As a result of the stage running at the hill climb circuit, rally fans attending the event will be the major winners, with the stage open to spectators.
For the first time this year, fans will be able to attend the EROAD Power Stage and get a solid vantage point of most of the stage, as crews look to finish on a high.
“The hill climb track itself allows people to watch from different points and watch the cars attack the turns in different angles,” Roseman added.
“You will definitely hear the cars launch off the start line outside the course, before they enter past the spectator points inside.
“We have also made use of a jump on the hill climb course, which is where the best spectator point will be in the facility – we are really excited about that one.
“Of course, all this wouldn’t be possible without the Maffra and District Car Club and its generosity of allowing us to use this asset, so a big thank you to them.”
With the ARC round to be the first ever national event to take place at the course, Maffra and District Car Club President Anthony Kovco was excited for the opportunity.
“To have the ARC is great for exposure for us to be on the national stage,” Kovco said.
“We have been operating for more than 60 years and we have a good facility, so it’s nice to be able to share it with the wider motorsport community.
“We look forward to seeing the best rally drivers in the country competing at our facility.”
The EROAD Power Stage will be one of five stages to house Spectator Points, with SS1 and SS5 on Saturday to have two points, and both SS10 and SS13 to have three points.
The Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally takes place in Sale, Heyfield and the broader Gippsland region on 25-27 August.