A new road and track competition event for car buffs who really enjoy stretching the legs of their pride and joy took place from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November 2015. The Three Day Trial is born! A well organised and thought through rally featuring navigation road trials, quarter mile sprints, a khanacross and hillclimb.
Historic Racing Australia’s Charles Rogers entered the rally in a pristine 1974 Ford Falcon XB GT (the car owned by rally co-founder, Stewart Perry). The navigator and co-driver in this 351 cubic inches of Aussie V8 muscle car power was none other than expert navigator, Graeme Vaux – a multiple rally winner.
Heathcote, known as a producer of world-famous Shiraz red wine housed the first competition event of the rally at the lesser known Heathcote Park drag-strip. What a hoot to unleash the docile XB GT through the quarter mile. The competition was no less than three Porsche 911s, an Oakland, Alfa Romeo 105 and Alfa Romeo 6C. the dial-your-own sprints from the staged start proved interesting. Although I nominated a 16.5 second quarter-mile, doing a 16.4 time threw me out of competition. Still, taking away the unofficial prize for the most smoked start was an early highlight of the rally.
After a gourmet tasting lunch at a peaceful Heathcote winery instruction sheets for the first stage of the afternoon navigation were handed out. It was not a follow the instruction sheet, but a finish point, question and answer, and instructions like ‘you can’t travel north-east of the Goulburn Hwy or cross the Hume Hwy more than twice’. Travelling quite south to avoid this, we managed to go too far south and drove probably 50-70km too far. On arrival at Voilet Town we were given cool drinks and a new set of instructions to get us through to Bright – and yes, another winery!
We were the second last car to arrive at the winery, so were penalised by mssing out on the cheese platter. There was a small tipple at the wine tasting though, although the 9,000,000 litre in store were not touched.
After a meal at the Bright Brewery, re-fuel and breakfast at a vegetarian café in Bright we found our way to Saturday’s start point.
The morning session took us from Bright to Omeo.
If you’re familiar with tulip navigation, that’s how we got from Bright to a control point at Mt Beauty. This is a stunning stretch of road, but it was only a slice of things to come on the next stage – Mt Beauty to Omeo via Falls Creek. For someone who has never driven through this area before I was amazed. The road is now sealed all the way through and your arms definitely get a workout.
By this stage we were still running sixth overall with the next and final navigation stage not helping our chances to come up the leader board. This section took us from Omeo to Maffra where the finish control point was at the Gippsland Vehicle Collection. A gourmet wine and cheese platter was consumed (yes, we made sure we were second in this time) before a tour of this museum.
The final day we drove to the town of Morwell circulating the powerplant before arriving at the final competition venue, Haunted Hills hillclimb. The XB GT is not that suited to a narrow track, but after some nicely cooked gourmet beef in the clubrooms for lunch the driver got a lot more out of the car in the afternoon’s sessions, so much so that a later inspection of the car found tyre rubber stuck to the wheel arches at the rear.
The lead became a battle between two of the Porsche cars, with the Alfa 105 an outside chance.
At the final dinner in Richmond that evening the winner was declared, only winning by 0.5 points. The 105 was third, the Oakland fourth, 6C Mille Miglia fifth and the XB GT retaining our strangle-hold of sixth.
Visit www.classicroadtrials.com.au to learn about the 2016 rally.