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Australian regularity-show

13/07/2013 20:47 | Comments: 

Contributing editor

Sipi is a fairy who hangs above us like a huge, ever-smiling, men’s fragrance-smelling umbrella. He can be called anytime, anywhere to lend a helping hand, and he’ll be there in an hour with one of his Transits for sure. A dangerously maniac car collector (the street in front of his house is full of his vehicles), a radio-control and model car freak, Sipos is a Swiss knife made of human flesh. Totalcar is just one job amongst his zillion occupations, but he endears it the most. Lives with a girlfriend and two dogs.

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Aussies don’t want to do it faster, they just want to improve regularity. Our friend, Zoltan Vandulek reviews the 2013 Australia Classic.

Regularity rallies are quite popular in Europe and more often than not they involve classic cars. Perhaps the most widespread variety is the "1/100" regularity rally format - the most famous events organised by Germany's Motor Klassik magazine (Silvretta Classic, Sachsen Classic, Eifel Classic) are always sold out with huge international participation. The model has spread to many parts of the world, inspiring the setup of the Hungarian season of "Oldtimer Supercup" and similar rallies from Iran to India. One of the youngest "1/100" classic rallies is Australia Classic down under, with their successful second year run having just finished.

So what happens if you'd like to spend time with your classic car but you can't afford to wreck it at the Silverstone Classic? You can enter a 1/100 regularity rally where you'll be required to maintain speed averages that are below the speed limit, you'll drive on public roads alongside regular traffic, you'll get to enjoy the scenery much like on a club drive but at the same time, you'll be following a Roadbook sign by sign to work out where to go. It's all in good fun, much like an animated car tour.

But when you get to a checkpoint there's a task waiting. Throughout the rally there are "1/100 challenges" scheduled where the course is laid out by cones and the participants get a set number of seconds for completion. The challenges got their names from being measured to the 100th of a second whereby 0.01s too soon or too late across the finish photocell incurs the same penalty points. These 1/100 stages add to the excitement and animation to the whole event while also raising the stakes and getting the entrants into a more competitive spirit.

The concept of Australia Classic was imported by a former European participant, who moved to Australia and found the location to be ideal for such an event. The planning took a few years until the first Australia Classic was held in 2012 in sunny and tropical Cairns, making waves even on the international classic car scene. Second time around the rally is growing in every sense, not just in entrant and spectator numbers but also in the interest from the media. The organisers have opened the format to allow for an "open class" next to the usual classics which allowed entry for replicas and modern supercars.

The kickoff of "Australia Classic 2013 Cairns" coincided with the national Morgan club's visit to the town, which brought along 6 pretty Morgans for the start display. The attraction has also drawn in further classics and supercars that weren't even enrolled but couldn't resist to take part in the kickoff preparations.

This year the rally took participants on a 600km drive over 2 days and engaged them in 15 timed 1/100 challenges. The 44 cars participating got to visit iconic locations such as the coastal Port Douglas road as well as hidden secret roads they never knew existed. The challenges were carried out at similarly impressive sites such as the Mirage Country Club in Port Douglas or the event's ultimate favourite, the Mako Trac racecourse - matching the prestige of the event's host venue, the 5-star Shangri-La.

Australia Classic was again, an overwhelming success with Karen & Greg Smith taking the first prize driving an Australian motoring icon, a 1964 Ford Falcon utility. Last year's winners, the Andrew Chand - Luke Olholm team came in second in 2013 with an AC Cobra replica from the open class, with the Les & Dane Forrester team taking bronze in their Porsche 930 Turbo.

With the two years of hands-on experience Australia is ready to be taken seriously on the international "1/100 regularity rally" market, with even the continent's hardcore rally series (founded on the success of Targa Tasmania) opening a regularity class in 2013. Find more info at www.AustraliaClassic.com.au.

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