Planning for this year’s inaugural Sunraysia Safari Rally, being staged from August 16-19, is set to really heat up, as event director Troy Bennett prepares to embark on the final course survey, in the Mildura, Wentworth and Pooncarie regions.
The district is in the midst of its hottest weather, with recent days where the temperature was hovering around 46 degrees.
Despite the stifling heat, the course survey is critical to finalising the exact route, confirming logistics, and being able to relay that information to competitors.
“It’s not ideal to be working in that region with these sorts of temperatures,” Troy explained, “but it’s a far cry from the floods and impassable boggy conditions we experienced for much of 2016.”
The excessive rainfall and wild weather last year lead to the disappointing decision to reschedule the inaugural event to this August.
“We’re always very safety focussed when heading out into the desert-like conditions we’re working with on the Sunraysia Safari Rally, regardless of the ambient temperatures. So for this trip we’ll just have to ensure hydration is a top priority. And not getting bogged too often in the sand!”
The team has not stopped work on the Sunraysia Safari Rally, despite the postponement from last year, and this course survey will both confirm the majority of stages set last year are still usable, as well as finding even more stages to incorporate into the event.
“The weather last year was really unfortunate,”, says Troy, “and the effects are still being felt by several of the properties we’re using. We’ve lost a couple of stages due to stock movements as a result of the floods, but fortunately the postponement has actually opened up some new properties, so the net result will actually be more competitive kilometres, and some amazing tracks.
“It will actually be a far better event than what we could have possibly hoped for last year, so whilst the delay has been costly in many ways for us, it’s definitely been worth the wait for competitors!”
Regulations are currently being checked by the governing bodies, and entries will open as soon as they are approved.
The Sunraysia Safari Rally is open to competitors on motorbikes, quads, cross country rally cars, side by side (UTV) vehicles, several off road racing categories, and Production Rally Cars.
The event has received strong support from both the Mildura Rural City Council, and the Wentworth Shire, as well as the local communities that are heavily involved in the running of the rally.
The Sunraysia Safari Rally is shaping up as one of the most significant new motorsport events in Australia for 2017, as it sets out to recapture the spirit and adventure of cross country rallying, and revitalise and develop the sport.