Batemans Bay turned on perfect weather on Saturday, July 29, for the Lazer Rally of the Bay, Round 2 of the 2023 NSW Rally Championship.
Read also: Seahawks gliding to top spot after ADFA win
With temperatures in the 20s and a cloudless sky, conditions could not have been better for competitors, spectators and officials.
A relatively small field of 51 cars started the event, which was disappointing for the organisers who had allowed for 75 starters.
The low turnout for what is always a good rally would have been influenced by a round of the Australian Rally Championship being held in Queensland on the previous weekend as many crews compete in both series.
Still, the lack of some big names and familiar faces didn't detract from the fun of the day.
The low number of starters had one advantage, however. To allow for dust to settle cars were despatched at three minute intervals instead of the usual two minutes.
The time span for the event would not have allowed this with a full field and could have
had cars driving in the dust clouds from the cars in front. It's no fun driving in dust and it can also be a safety issue so the extra time between cars was appreciated.
There was a very high attrition rate, with only 29 cars of the 51 being classed as finishers. All except two of the retirements were caused by mechanical failures which gives an idea of the stresses placed on even well prepared cars when pushed to their limits.
The other two retirements were from body damage, but hitting the occasional tree is just one of those things that happen.
What couldn't be blamed was the condition of the roads, which were all in excellent condition.
It's always a good day when the medical assistance team don't have to go anywhere.
No one brand of car dominated the results. The winners were Richie Dalton and Jared Hudson in a Toyota Yaris AP4, second place went to Bernie Webb and Daniel Gonzalez in a Skoda Fabia with Tim Wilkins and Katie Giddins taking out third in a Mitsubishi Evo 9.
A mixture of four wheel drive Toyotas, Subarus and Mitsubishis filled the next six places, showing the advantage of powering all the wheels when driving on smoothish dirt roads.
The first two wheel drive home was tenth placed Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston in a Datsun Stanza, a car which is probably older than some of the competitors. One of the pleasures of rallying is seeing cars that are still around from the Nostalgia Age.
They might not be winners up against the very fast (and expensive) all wheel drive turbocharged rockets but they show that fun is still there to be had.
Event director Nigel Bland and everyone else at North Shore Sporting Car Club must be congratulated for yet another excellent rally. NSSCC have a reputation for good organisation of their various events and this was no exception, from the welcome reception at Club Catalina on Friday evening to the last car finishing on Saturday.
Everyone is looking forward to coming back next year to experience the roads and hospitality around the Bay.