On Saturday morning November 3, competitors in the Alpine Classic 2018 rally were waved away from their marshalling point in Montague Steet, Goulburn. While marshalling and awaiting their turn to leave at one minute intervals the drivers and navigators as well as friends supporters and officials were entertained by the Goulburn Conservatorium of Music Band.
The first cars rolled away from 8.30am and some 77 minutes later the last, number 77 headed off following their navigators instructions to an unknown evening destination with plenty of twists and turns in between.
The Alpine Classic it is a Road Rally running under the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) rules and regulations. It is not a race or a time trial and speed is not a factor in deciding the outcome of the results. Road Rallies are a very low cost form of Motorsport.
Competitors do not have to run specially equipped machines with special equipment. It is helpful to have a rally meter (which can be an App on your smartphone) but not essential.
In keeping with the classic nature of the rally many of the cars are over 30 years old and not necessarily the owners daily drive. Though many competitors drive these classic machines, it is not essential and entry is open to all types of cars and everyone is welcome to enter.
The nature of the event is a navigational challenge with two basic types of instructions. 1) the simplest form follows instructions in the form of a route chart with distances and directions, and 2) Instructions that require map reading.
Cars are occupied by crews of two or more people, a driver and a navigator. Passengers may be carried (provided they are included on the entry form). In the past there have been three generations of one family in the same car, grandfather, son and grandson. Many of the crews are couples, some are siblings and lots are friends.
Crews are issued with their instructions a few minutes before the start (and then progressively throughout the event) and are required to use these instructions to navigate their way to various control locations arriving at each at their scheduled time.
Along the route crews are required to make observations (answer questions or note details on sign boards installed by the organisers) and record these on a card. These observations are used to determine if the crew has used the correct route. Timing is a feature of the competition but only to keep participants on schedule and heavy penalties apply for cars that arrive too early at a checkpoint or the end destination. They are also penalised for arriving late but these are less than for those who speed.
The average speed between controls never exceeds 80 km/hr. On Saturday the competitors ended up in Cowra with dinner at Mulligan. On Sunday they returned to Goulburn and capped of the weekend at the Goulburn Golf Club.
Points are also lost when crews fail to make correct observations. The crew in each category with the lowest score is the winner of that category. To find out more about this fun sport, that is a great way to tour the countryside with your friend, partner or siblings take a look at the Alpine Classic website and Facebook pages.
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