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AMSAG Training Day 2021
Saturday, March 6, saw another successful rally test and training day in the forests around Black Springs. Run under the banner of the Australian Motor Sport Action Group (AMSAG) it was capably organised by Ron Moore, well known in the district for the ten years of sponsorship of his cars by Reliance Bank, and his wife Jo who recently received the 2020 Motorsport Australia - Coral Taylor Award for "outstanding contributions to motorsport by a female".
The event used parts of Vulcan State Forest between Riverview Road and Willow Springs Road and also along Beemerang Road, south of Campbells River Road. The two stages were well chosen to provide a good variety of road conditions to test cars, drivers and codrivers. There was a service area in the Avoca Pioneer Park at Black Springs which allowed service crews to practise their skills and also become familiar with the safety and environmental regulations (a rally service park is a designated work area and Worksafe health and safety rules apply).
Crews could run the stages in any order and as many times as they liked or felt they needed. Timing and scoring were the same as for a full rally (giving control officials a chance to practise as well) but there were no winners and losers and no results were announced.
Rallying is a team effort and test days like this not only give competitors a chance to test the preparation, performance and reliability of their cars before entering the year's calendar of full-length events but also to learn and practise the teamwork that the sport requires. There were some people having their first experience of gravel roads and some people who found out that they hadn't done enough preparation, but that's what testing is for.
Part of the training and testing was to practise servicing and refuelling between stages. All the usual rules about safety and environmental protection applied.
I apologise for both the quality and quantity of the photographs. I went to the Staceys Road stage first and found what seemed to be a perfect place to stand and get some good shots of cars exiting a corner. This involved standing on an old stump of a pine tree harvested many years ago. Everything went well until one side of the stump forcibly notified me that it was rotten and I was pitched into a patch of weeds and blackberry vines. As I fell I remembered that 500 metres away at the end of 2018 I had a dispute with some blackberries that cost me a camera so as well as trying to avoid broken bones I had to keep the Nikon well away from the ground. The army taught me how to fall without damaging things I was holding (something that I seemed to forget in 2018) so the fall wasn't as graceful as it might have been. Also, having my weight suddenly thrown onto one foot and then falling sideways reminded me that I broke an ankle a little while ago and it could still be painful if subjected to forces in some directions. For the rest of the day I had to be careful about where and for how long I stood and also to restrict how far I could comfortably walk.
In Beemerang the problem was dust. The boots and jeans were both black when I left home.
A report on the event appeared in the Oberon Review on March 11, 2021
Information about this and other events can be found at https://www.amsag.com.au
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