Silver screen surprise for tarmac rally crews

thumbCompetitors in the first round of the 2015 Australian Tarmac Rally Championship could find themselves considering an acting career, after the running of the event in Victoria’s alpine region next week.

Film producer Petri Miniotas and his team from the Aussie Racer show will be shooting all the action of the Mt Baw Baw Sprint (February 20-22) to be seen on Fox 5 and YouTube before being distributed in 65 countries.

Each episode of Aussie Racer features a different discipline of racing, with Petri’s business partner and series ‘star’ Sandy Bowman testing his skills – or lack of – against those of the competitors who do know what they are doing.

In this case, Sandy, his trusty 1975 Ford Escort Mk 1 street vehicle, and his best mate and co-host Daniel Hardman, will be trying their hands as driver and co-driver/navigator in the first of four rounds of the 2015 ATRC – with every entrant and official playing a support role.

“We’ve never done a tarmac rally before, so we’ll be shooting the whole thing,” Petri says.

“From the paperwork and scrutineering, to all the action. It’s meant to be a first person account of tackling an event like this as a rookie. Hopefully, down the track it will be useful to any rookies who want to tackle an event like Mt Baw Baw or any of the ATRC events – but obviously we also hope that experienced competitors and even people who aren’t interested in motorsport will enjoy it.

“We create our shows to be fun as well as informative, and we take the same approach whether we are doing something in motorsport, or tackling something like dragon boat racing or rock crawling, which are some of the other activities Sandy has had a go at.”

Next week’s Mt Baw Baw Sprint will utilise the access road from Icy Creek to the top of Mt Baw Baw, 120km east of Melbourne. It’s broken up into a series of individual special stages run both up and down the road for a total of 220km of competition. The final stage is a 30km ‘blast’ over the full distance of the road to the village.

After the first ATRC round at Mt Baw Baw, comes round two a month later (March 21-22), which is the Lake Mountain Sprint near Marysville in Victoria’s Yarra Ranges National Park. Competitors then have to wait until the weekend of October 3-4 for their next fix (Great Tarmac Rally) before the 2015 ‘grand final’ (Snowy River Sprint) on December 5-6.

The Mountain Motorsports group, which runs the Australian Tarmac Rally Championship series, is still offering a special deal to competitors who sign up now for the four events – but not for much longer.

Those entering the full competition category for all four events pay only $5400, while those who want to have a ‘taste’ of tarmac rallying by driving in their road car in the touring category (a ‘spirited drive’) pay just $1800 for the four events. For those not ready to commit to the full series, a competition entry for Mt Baw Baw is $1600 and a touring entry is $600.

With support from Mt Baw Baw Resort, this is the fourth year the event has been run. Competitors can contact the resort to organise their accommodation (

All the ATRC events are open to competitors from around Australia, with their choice of vehicle eligible for the modern (modified), classic (pre-1982) or showroom-spec classes. The cars must meet tarmac rally specifications (full rollcage etc). Aside from the outright title, there are individual honours up for grabs in all three categories.

Competing crews must wear full racesuits and helmets and be licensed by the Australian Auto Sport Alliance (AASA).

Touring competitors must be wear non-flammable clothing from neck to wrist and ankle but not necessarily a race suit. Driver and co-driver must wear helmets.

Last year’s outright title win went to Danny Traverso and Bernie Webb in a 2005 Mitsubishi Evo IX. The classic crown was won by brothers Robin and Peter Lowe in a 1971 Datsun 240Z.

The 2WD category title went to Charlie Nott and Roger Harrison (1998 TVR Chimaera) while showroom honours went to Clinton Arentz and Dale Moscatt in a 2009 Mitsubishi Evo X.

Further information on this year’s events is available from event director Peter Washington (0418 337 955) or the website:

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