Night Owl 2009

27th June 2009

Keen starters…

Club Treasurer, Karen Piggot and husband Rod are keen rallyists and love to encourage participation by younger folk. At this year’s Night Owl, they brought along their grandchildern Nathan (7) and Jamie Lee (8) to attend the start and to man a control.

Karen notes the experience ……

Well the start was full of excitement especially for Nathan as he was most interested in checking out the cars and liked the Fiat 131 and Lancia Delta. He listened to the drivers briefing and asked questions too. We were then summoned for our control duties and we followed Jim & Ron Pope out to Dungog where we were doing the IN control and the Pope’s were doing the OUT control.

We had just set up our tables and chairs and in came the set up cars and the director Paul O’Neill. We received all our instructions and our beacon which really was quite bright in the dark.

Well Vicki & Bill then turned up with our safety vests and Nathan & Jamie Lee were then all decked out.

Each taking their tasks quite seriously with clocking the time as the cars pulled in and advising me of the car numbers there was no time to waste.

The bit they enjoyed the most was the roar of the engines coming over hill and the bright lights as the cars approached the control, which was a bus lane at the High School with 3 entrances. 1st was correct and the other 2 had NO ENTRY on them even though a little hard to see in the night. Well to see the baulking and reversing and turn-a-rounds with Nathan screaming, they got it wrong Grandma!!! Car NO 6 got it wrong!!!….this was his highlight of the night.

Well done Paul for the great tricky location for a very safe control point, as the cars could line up with no problems all being off the road. Great Event by all accounts, well done !!!!!!!!!

From the driver’s seat by David Mitchell.

On a cool overcast afternoon 24 teams gathered at the Heatherbrae tourist information center. The forecast was for scattered showers. Fortunately the rain stayed away with some fog late in the evening being the only weather event. After a crew briefing the cars were lined up and given their instructions 2 minutes before they were waved off. Most teams spent some time in the service road mapping out the first section route and all the out of bounds. We being the last car we had a long wait to get hold of our instructions. Finally we were on our way.

Section one: 37.9 km and 50.53kph average.
We traveled north out of control through the Terrace to Nelsons Plains then over a dirt road east to the highway to avoid an out of bounds. After crossing 7 Mile Creek we followed Italia Rd through Greswick, Clarencetown and into control on the Glen Martin road.

Placings: Cox/Cox 1 pts
Cunningham/Bratovic 3 pts
Mitchell/Warner 8 pts

Section two: 44.44 km and 50.31kph average.
North out of control headed us towards Brookfield then Welshmans Creek and Wallarobba to control west of Vacy over fast flowing roads of a variety of surfaces.

Placings: Moore/Brocklebank 0 pts.
Haughton/Williamson 1 pt.
Blair/Bailey 1 pt.
Rath/Clear 1 pt.

Section three: 63.36km and 50kph average.
West out of control over good dirt and tar roads with some great winding sections to Gresford and Coulston then onto a special map then through Allynbrook to control in Dungog.

Placings: Moore/Brocklebank 0 pts
Ford/Ford 0 pts
Cuningham/Bratovic 1 pt
Baldwin/Parsons 3 pts

Section Four: 4.72km route chart 30 minutes .
This section was for a food and fuel break in Dungog. Although the pie and coffee were great we took too long to eat it so we dropped 10 points without even getting lost.

Section five: 78.8km and 50.3kph average.
We found this to be the hardest section. We got off the route found a locked gate at the end of one road we took. Eventually we covered most of the correct route but missed 2 boards and were 19 minutes late. There were some really great roads on this section with mixed dirt, tar and plenty of twists and turns. We traveled through Monkerai, Wards River, Stroud, and Washpool then south to the control west of Stroud. The out of bounds were very close to the route in a couple of spots which added to the difficulty.

Placings: Cunningham/Bratovic 1pt
Haughton/Williamson 4pts
Moore/Brocklebank 6pts

Section six: 65.35km 50.26kph average.
The final challenge to reach the end had us traveling south to Booral then following the Branch Road south to pass a dam and a quarry which put us back on Hwy 1. Then north to the Ayres rock for the finish. The only downer on this run was the state of the Branch Road with often a very rough surface but at least plenty of warnings.

Whew we had done it. Well done Scott for his navigating and the “Datto” for hanging in all the way.

Placings: Mitchell/Warner 1pt
Meddows/Meddows 1pt
Cottam/Sinfield 3pts
Cherry/Rooimans 3pts

All in all we had a great time. The roads were great with plenty of opportunity for the driver to enjoy the drive. The navigation instructions were clear but with enough difficulty to test the crew. We must learn to eat faster at the meal break.
A big thank you to Paul and Arthur for setting a great event and to all those cold officials out along the route while we were snug in a heated car.

Results overall: 
1st: Cunningham/Bratovic 80pts missed 1 board
2nd: Moore/Brocklebank 168pts missed 1 board
3rd: Thomas/Towers 173pts missed 1 board
4th Mitchell/Warner 172pts missed 2 boards