Rally Driving: a motorsport for men (and women) with the biggest set of kahunas tackling unpredictable roads at speeds we can only dream about. Admit it, we’ve all watched rally footage and thought “Faaaaaaa…. that’s insane!” But for those of you who are actually serious about rallying and have always wanted to get involved, come and have a look at the Victorian Club Rally Series. Whether you think your the next Colin McRae, or just want to have some fun in the forest, then this is for you. It’s all about having fun, getting out there and giving it a red hot go. All you need is a car that meets the safety requirements for entry, pay a small entry fee of approx 300 bucks and your set. Oh and you’ll also need to get your CAMS license (Clubman Level – which isn’t hard) and the possibilities are endless. You can turn up in a Commodore, Hyundai, Civic, SS ute… or even your grandads old Rover. Whatever tickles your fancy really. And let’s not forget the natural rally spec cars – the Rexes (WRX) and Evo’s of course.

Speed Nation’s resident rally nut Ivica Glavas and Editor Paul Jakubicki recently attended the Cooper Memorial Rally, Round 1 of 6 of the Victorian Club Rally Series, held around the area of Noojee in Victoria, just over an hours drive east out of Narre Warren. With the headquarters of the event situated at the Toolshed Pub, you couldn’t have asked for a more perfect location for the event! With some beautiful roads and logging tracks around the hills it was going to be a great rally. These roads had been used previously for the higher tiered Rally Victoria, so the drivers were in for a treat. The week leading up to the event had seen pouring rain every day. This meant there was no dust to worry about, instead damp conditions lay ahead. Being that this is an afternoon/night event, it was time for drivers to get the spotties fitted for the action ahead.

With 4 stages run in the afternoon, the stages are then repeated later in the evening covering approx 138kms in total. A field of 32 cars had entered which hosted a great mix of vehicles. As with any rally, the drivers race against the clock, however points deducted if drivers miss hairpins or junctions.  The tricky damp conditions had tested both drivers and co drivers throughout the stages. Also thrown into the mix were car issues and drivers going off which also added to the drama. The first spectator point was a chance for the public to see some of these cars in action, from the banging and anti-lag pops of a WRX, to a Datsun 260z and even a Honda Civic!  The car that was awarded “best approach to the spectator corner” was the combo of Luke Simpson/Ryan Humphries in their ex works Hyundai FX Coupe. I can guarantee you won’t hear an FX Coupe like this one.

It was back to the service point after the first loop for some much needed TLC for what was to lay ahead in the evening. Meanwhile we made our way deep into the forest to prepare to capture the night stages ahead. There were some cars missing from the field as dramas with cars had indeed played a role, so some were not able to continue into the night. With the night stages run in near perfect conditions, with no wind and it wasn’t too cold, it was a sight to behold when a screaming rally car approaches you in the dead of night going flat out. The first thing you hear are the echoes of engine screams, then followed by blinding lights from the light pods some of these cars run! After surviving all the elements and making it to the end the winner was Mat Lee/Annie Dougherty in a WRX. 2nd was the Datsun Stanza of Cary Seabrook/Rhiannon Philpot-Hale, and 3rd the Hyundai FX Coupe of Luke Simpson/Ryan Humphries. So an AWD, RWD and FWD took out the top 3 spots. How’s that for a different mix and goes to show that in this series, you really can give it a go in any car you want.

If you think you would like to have a go or even come and have a look at an event, check out www.vicrally.com.au and also check Facebook for Victorian Club Rally Series.