Once again based in the spectacular Wentworth Shire, on the edge of Outback NSW, competitors will be treated to around 1200 competitive kms over the 4 days of competition. The support of the local communities that host the event is a real highlight for competitors and officials alike, and given the crippling drought conditions many landowners are experiencing, the economic and social boost that the rally brings is needed more than ever. As Event Director, Troy Bennett explains:
“We’re always very conscious of the fact that whilst we’re all out having an amazing time with the rally, the properties we are so generously welcomed onto are all working farms. With the drought having such a devastating impact on so many, we had initially decided to look at staying off several properties this year to give them a break, however, when we put this to the farmers, they were insistent that we use their tracks again! There aren’t too many events that enjoy the level of co-operation and enthusiasm we receive from the locals, and we’re immensely grateful”.
Competition is set to go up another level this year, with several older Cross Country Rally cars being purchased by new owners, specifically to enter the Local Legends Sunraysia Safari. “There’s clearly a strong appetite amongst rally competitors for an affordable long distance “adventure” style rally, focussed on camaraderie and good natured competitive spirit” according to the Event Director:
“The fact that people are buying cars specifically for this rally is the best possible endorsement we can get, in terms of confirming we’re on the right track. It will be great to see so many of the cars from previous years out in the bush again, doing what they were built to do”.
It is also expected that the event will receive entries from International Auto competitors for the first time, with a Japanese based team preparing two vehicles to test against the best that the Wentworth region can offer, and interest from other teams keen to send cars to compete in the stunning NSW Outback.
It’s not just the Auto division that’s expected to be ultra competitive. For the first time, the Local Legends Sunraysia Safari will be running under a FIM International Meeting Number (IMN), which makes it a lot easier for International Moto Competitors to compete. The rally has fielded a huge number of enquiries from all over the World, and the hope is that many of the World’s best riders will come “Down Under” to test themselves against Australia’s team of “local legends”.
“We’ve had Tony Rutter from New Zealand compete in the last two Sunraysia Safaris” says Event Director Bennett, “and whilst we’re very pleased to welcome him back again this year, we’re hoping he can bring a few mates as well! We’ve been talking with Motorcycling Australia about confirming the rally with FIM Oceania status, so an ANZAC challenge or similar could well be on the cards. Even an Australia versus the rest of the World would be a real drawcard”.
The Supplementary Regulations for the 2020 Local Legends Sunraysia Safari will be available shortly, and entries will open at that time. Organisers are expecting a capacity field this year, particularly given the increase in auto entries, and the international interest with the Moto Division. The organisers have already stated they feel that 2020 will be a defining year for the rally, and preparations are continuing at a frenetic pace.
Source and image: rallyraid network