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Coffs Coast Off Road – Update 1
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Friday, 18 January 2013
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Communique from John Paterson, the recently appointed Clerk of Course for Coffs Coast Off Road

Mr Paterson has committed to providing regular updates on the happenings and progress in relation to Round 4 of the Australian Off Road Championship at Coffs Harbour. 

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Well like the press release said; - I am now on the job organising the Coffs round of the AORC in September.

Things are happening, but firstly let me apologise for the lack of information so far. I know this has been frustrating and be assured I intend to make this event front page news at least once a month here at offroadracing.com.au and one of my goals is for this Coffs event to be the friendliest of the year.

Now, the first point I want to hit home and hit it home hard is that Coffs will be a real off road event, for off roaders, run by off roaders.

But it is true, I am part of the Rally Australia organisation but the off road event to be called Coffs Coast Off Road is not part of the rally competition in anyway.

Many of you I’m told, have the impression that the event is to be run in sync with the rally and this is not correct. 'Our' event is completely stand alone and the only time an off road car might be anywhere near a rally car could be as part of some sort of promo and I do hope to have some of you participate in a demonstration on one night at least, to show these rally guys, and the world, how to really 'get air'!

For me, being part of this organisation has incredible advantages and when it comes to safety we will have access, literally minutes away by air, to world class rescue and safety, thanks to the collaboration that exists with Adrian Stafford, Clerk of Course Rally Australia.

Rally Australia is how I’m resourced, where the budget sits and so there’s no misunderstanding, Adrian is also who I answer to in the big picture. But I have been delegated autonomy and my responsibility is all about looking after your competition, your safety and the fun you should be having whilst making sure the event runs smoothly and of course, without a hitch.

And whilst on Rally Australia, and Coffs, entering this event also gives you and your family an opportunity to visit an incredible part of Australia’s coastline and at night, the opportunity to be mesmerized by the 'attack pilots' of motorsport, as they compete two at a time on the Super Special Stage. WRC drivers really must be seen to be believed and the Rally Hub out near what is known as the Jetty area of Coffs, will be the place to be over the three nights of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Come day time however, I hope that the thousands and thousands who will flock to the Coffs Harbour region will also take time to see you guys in action as part of their smorgasbord of motor sport. The promotion machine, and this is big, will also be geared up to ensure the hordes of spectators know where to find you!

Additionally, I’m committed to providing great camping facilities at the track, with security, plenty of space for competitor camping and generous pit and paddock sizes to suit the transporters. More details about this over the next month or so.

To those who may wish to stay in Coffs, and be close to the 'Hub', you should really start planning now as whilst there are literally hundreds of motels and lodgings around Coffs and the region, (up to 5 Stars) – I think you should book early…

Further on this, the proposed course is maybe 40 minutes north of Coffs and there are several other small towns and villages, including 'Woopie' (that’s local talk for Woolgoolga), along the way that you may wish to check out as well.

Now, I am off to Coffs today, (18 Jan), to check this proposed course, and I’ll let you know how it shapes up. I will be assisted in this task by a retired five times, (I think), Australian Off Road Championship, my fearless son-in-law and Safari partner who can’t decide if he’s a rally driver or an off roader - and some local guys from Coffs, some of whom might hopefully turn into track markers further on?

Looking to officials, my goal is to achieve a 'Kempsey quality' event and I will actually be in Kempsey in February, to see how much of the old team might still be willing - and to talk to the next generation of Kempsey Macleay Off Road Club members.

It’s then off to Brisbane in maybe March and with the help of long term comrade Laurie Svenson, (and what about you Neville?), I should be able to convince some of the guys up there to be part of this as well. So yes, it really is off roaders, planning for off roaders!

Now, anyone who is interested in being an official at this event can access www.rallyaustralia.com.au and go to Officials. Don’t be intimidated by the form, or some of the rally speak, and it is being redesigned to include those interested in off road shortly.

And if you’re not already accredited, don’t worry because we’ll train you. Alternatively, give me a call on my soon to be operating 'bat phone' 0408 138 313. And whilst many of you have my private mobile, if you want to talks 'Coffs' please ring this new number from 19 January…

So that’s nearly it. My number 2 Update will be out in late February and I’ll be talking about exciting technology that is coming to our sport, maybe this year maybe not, updating you about the course - and heaps more including some tips on how to better enjoy your time at events.

230 odd days to go and I just can’t wait…

Pato