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2018 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship
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Coffs Coast Off Road – Update 2
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Monday, 04 February 2013
1677a_sm
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 the new course at Coffs Harbour copped a dumping of rain and experienced heavy winds during the recent flooding events on the east coast of Australia; but we'll be right! Fortunately, we have not yet commenced our debris clearing exercise just yet, so hopefully this won't alter too much at all.

To date, we have about a 45 kilometre course that I would describe as having many of the attributes of Kempsey, but without the narrow gates. There's plenty to test the suspension, there’s nowhere where a broken down car could block the course, and some good and lengthy straights, (but still in the forest). And then there's some road, to allow access from one area to another. I might actually rename this bit Temagog Rd, in reminiscence of that famous road near Kempsey!

Now, it has been rumoured that the Coffs event will be restricting entries and I really don't know how these stories start. There won't be any restrictions at Coffs, unless the entries are getting up around 160 plus, so yes Pato; - dream on!

If you have Google Maps and you zoom in on Halfway Creek, more than half way to Grafton from Coffs Harbour on the Pacific Highway; then "travel" about 6 kms north, you'll find a turn right into Bald Knob Tick Gate Road. The staging area is in here, on private property, and we use up much of the Glenugie State Forest. And by all means peruse whatever maps you have, but it is private property and closed forests roads until race weekend.

There have evidently been some calls to Adam and Bronwyn from HPSM Sports Management about the best place for people to stay. So what follows is my spin on making a decision. If you want to camp close to the staging area there will be facilities there for this. If you only want a short transport from your more upmarket accommodation, Grafton is close to the north and there are many beautiful spots to the south, basically all the way back to Coffs Harbour itself.

According to Google it is 61.5 kms from the staging area to the centre of Coffs Harbour and the drive time is 51 minutes. If the organisation doesn't set me up in a huge motorhome, with shower, jacuzzi and bidet, (yeah right), I'll be staying in Coffs and mainly because I want to see some of the international rally action on at least one of the nights. Now I do know the area pretty well and if you need more detail, simply give me a call on my event phone: 0408 138 313.

And whilst on HPSM Sports Management, I'll be meeting with Adam and Bronwyn, at Coffs, later this month, to ensure we are all in sync. On this same visit I'll be in Kempsey on Saturday, Feb 23, 2.00pm, at the Kempsey Macleay RSL Club recruiting - and then on Sunday, at Grafton, doing similar.

In my last update I indicated I would be talking soon about exciting technology coming to our sport and it is coming, but maybe not in 2013. A company called Rallysafe is developing a system that includes the tracking of vehicles by GPS, whilst also being able to time vehicles as they compete. There are other interesting innovations as well that include being able to sense when another car is close behind, (and how much do we need this!!), but according to my sources it is not yet fully tested, or proven. Given this, I won't risk using my "customers" as guinea pigs. And at my age, I can't stand anymore tarnishing anyway. However, I hope Coffs is used as a test site maybe, and I can in some way help with the advancement of this very exciting revolution.

Given the aforementioned, Murray and Julie Rogers of Off Road Racing Information Services will be the time keepers at Coffs Coast Off Road and I consider myself lucky to have them given their busy schedule in 2013. So; I am the Clerk of Course, looking for a Deputy to replace me in 2014, and the other major positions will hopefully come together over the next few months. On this, I am also visiting Brisbane, in maybe March also on a recruitment and information mission.

My Tip of the Month is: turn up with a smile. We are all in this together, to enjoy, and if you are unsure about something - ask. First point of call is to the CRO of course, (and I'm still looking for one), but if the question is a real toughie, I'd seek out the Chief Steward as it is he or she who most likely has the most experience. And no question is ever stupid - ever. If something is worrying - it's important!

I've also now exceeded my 1000 words boundary here so I'll try to make Update No 3 shorter. But before this, the winner at the Parker 425 in Arizona averaged around 103 km/h. Reports say it is tougher than Finke so this is still very fast. I think the average at Coffs will be closer to 80 km/h because there'll be much more steering, we're running in fair dinkum Aussie bush, right next to the fantastic holiday coast of NSW and our desert is a long way to the west...

220 odd days to go,

Pato