Announcing Rally Retro Day…

So much more than a display of old rally cars, Rally Retro Day will be our starter-motor piece to find a ‘event home’ for important and iconic Rally Cars from the Australian Rally Scene. These rally cars (and perhaps well executed replica’s and tribute cars) need to be seen and to be heard, in action, on the dirt for which they were made. It’s our intention to kick off what we hope will be a series of special events for very special rally cars.

We’ve taken our inspiration from ‘Slowly Sideways’ which is a group that operates in the UK and Europe that seeks out opportunities for mainly old Group B rally cars (that aren’t eligible to enter a modern rally) to put on a show in a non-competitive environment. Their catch-cry is “The Cars are the Stars” and we couldn’t agree more. Rally Retro Day 2019 will be a chance for Rally cars of considerable note to come together, be on display and have a run around the Avalon Khanacross track, giving enthusiasts the chance to see and hear these cars in action and perhaps ponder the progress of the breed over the 50 years that the Australian championship has been run. Could we dub it “Mardi-gras for rally cars”?

Imagine watching a genuine BMC works Morris Cooper S rally car eating up the bends, to then see a Renault R8 Gordini or perhaps an XU-1 Torana scream by, rear wheels fighting for grip. How about a few cars from the London-Sydney Marathon like Tim Kennons BMC works entered Austin 1800, or the thundering V8 Ford Falcons run by Harry Firth, Graham Hoinville, Ian Vaughan, Jack Ellis, Bob Forsythe and co? yes, KAG001, KAG002 might be there. Could KAG003 be coaxed down from the N.T.?

What about a Datsun 710 Violet as run by Fury and Dunkerton? Or a Ford Australia backed RS1800 Escort renewing old rivalries with Datsun Stanza’s, 260Z’s and 1600’s? Then we could be hearing the glorious note of an Italian twin cam engine as Greg Carr’s yellow Ignis sponsored Alfa GTV6, the 1987 champion, sweeps in to view, or will it be a Lancia Delta Integrale from 1989?

Then there could be some international rally stars like the 1973 WRC champion – Renault Alpine 110 or a 1978 Fiat 131 Abarth, or then even a Subaru WRX-STI in that classic blue with the 555 livery that Colin McRae might have driven in 1995, or a Tommi Makinen’s Lancer EVO IV that won the following year. Could a Factory backed Celica GT4 be found to go around too?

Imagine being able to see those and many more, in one afternoon and experience up close the thrill and beauty of these machines.

What exactly will Rally Retro Day be? It’s two things.

Firstly, it is a gathering for important rally cars, be they:

  • Championship winning cars,
  • Factory / Works prepared rally cars,
  • High standard replica’s of works rally cars,
  • Excellent examples of iconic rally cars,

They will be on display and where the owners will have the opportunity to run them in a khanacross, a 1.2 km unsealed track with a standing start and finish. The khanacross requires only a low level of licence so we hope to encourage as many car owners as possible on to the track to have some fun and show us what their cars are all about. The khanacross is not a competition but intended as a demonstration. No times will be recorded, but you can time yourselves for bragging rights if you wish! It’s a chance to run that rally car when otherwise one may not want to, or be eligible to, run it in a full rally.

Secondly, it a chance for the rest of us to see and hear these stars of the sport up very close, both in the paddock and out on the track.

It’s our intention to make the day as festive as possible. A true celebration of the fantastic cars that have entertained and inspired us for so many years. Take your inspiration from Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK if you like.

It is our firm hope to not only attract to spectate the serious rally fans from the 1960’s to present day, but those with a general interest in historic motorsport to come and appreciate the history of the Australian Rally scene.

It would also be a perfect opportunity to promote the current day rally competition; the State Championships, the Fiesta series, the Excel series as well as the HRA’s historic side, to those fans in attendance.

It could be huge. Where will it lead? We have some ideas but let’s get this khanacross done first and then de-brief and decide on the next step in establishing a ‘home event’ for the iconic cars of the Australian Rally Scene.

We will need help. As many as 30 officials on the day to keep things in order. More news to follow.

Rally Retro Day is on Sunday April 7 2019 – put it in your diary now.

If you know of a rally car that might fit this event, please contact us with details!

Amy Jane Cranston, Paul Mollison & Alan Baker

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