2023 Dimension 1 Oberon Forest Rally
November 4, 2023

Saturday, November 4, saw the running of the 2023 Dimension 1 Oberon Forest Rally, based at Black Springs and organised by the Australian Motor Sport Action Group (AMSAG). It was Round 6 of the 2023 Pipe King AMSAG Southern Cross Rally Series.

Supplementary Regulations

Spectator instructions

Service instructions

Click for a list of entries

Click for a look around the Service Park

There was a very tight finish to the Australian Motor Sport Action Group (AMSAG) 2023 Dimension 1 Rally centred on Black Springs, with Dean Ridge and Muireann Hayes bringing their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO home just ten seconds ahead of Andrew Maurer and Brett Kerr in a similar car after 110 kilometres of competition. As Ridge was fastest on four out of the ten stages against Maurer's two it might look like the result was inevitable, but Maurer was leading the event until the final 8.6km stage in Essington State Forest when Ridge was able to be just faster enough.

The event ran over 110 kilometres of roads in Vulcan and Essington Stare Forests, with five stages run twice. A heavy thunderstorm as the cars were finishing their first run of Stage 2 could have made conditions difficult for the second pass later in the day but the roads had dried out. Roads throughout the event were the usual high standard found in these forests and this helped to keep retirements down to only nine out of the 43 starters.

An almost perfect entry to the corner

One problem with running the field twice over the route is that small issues can become magnified during the day. It was just this problem which caught out Michael Valantine. He was running near the end of the field on the second pass through Essington and a rut just before a very sharp right hand turn had been gradually made deeper by having 80 cars go through it. Valantine managed the bad luck of hitting the rut and a rock in it with his left front wheel and this flipped the car over, first onto the passenger side and then back, finally resting on the driver's side.

And where it ended up

The piece of good luck for Valantine and his codriver, daughter Erin, was that there were two photographers there who could help get them out of the car through a window. The car was pushed back onto its wheels and despite some body damage was able to get through the remaining 12km of the rally to be declared a finisher.

Michael Valantine was philosophical about the incident. "So frustrating as I had the perfect line for the corner. But as they say, that's rallying," he said. As he has been a regular competitor for a long time he will be back, and Erin had recovered her nerves by the time the car was back on its wheels and moving again.

Every motor sport event carries a danger warning, but the fact that the car could be restarted and the occupants were totally unharmed show that the safety regulations like roll cage construction and harness specifications go a long way to making the sport as safe as possible.

The service park was in the Avoca Pioneer Park at Black Springs, with rally headquarters in the Black Springs Community Hall. Food was available all day, cooked and served by members of the Black Springs Community Association. Committee members Kerry Gibbons and Michelle Swaan were pleased with the day. "I helped build this hall and it's great to see it being used to bring visitors into the town," Gibbons said.

Black Springs is an annual event for AMSAG and always attracts a good field, bringing about 300 visitors into the Oberon area to spend money on food, fuel and accommodation. The roads in the local forests are always in excellent condition, but challenging enough to keep the competitors happy. The fact that EVO Lancers took out the first four places two years in a row just means that people with other cars have to try a little bit harder.

AMSAG should be congratulated on the way the event was run, although this would not have been a surprise to anyone who had attended any of their events in the past. Thanks must also go to the Forestry Corporation, NSW Police and Oberon Council because without their support there would have been no rally.

Click to see the action in Stage 2 (Barrakee)

Click for photos (and more) in Stage 9 (Essington)

See the full results here

This report on the event appeared in the Oberon Review

Information about this and other events can be found at https://www.amsag.com.au

Copyright © 2016- Peter Bowditch

Logos and trademarks belong to whoever owns them

Find us on Facebook