The Classic Outback Trial rally race will start in Parkes on March 27 | Parkes Champion Post

After a few false starts due to COVID, the Classic Outback Trial race is set to come back to life this week, and it will start right here in Parkes.

It is expected to bring together around 1000 participants and supporters, and not only will the dedicated rally be a fantastic race for drivers and spectators, but it will help raise vital funds for awareness and research on prostate cancer.

The event has origins dating back to 2009 when it was launched in Parkes, and this year there will be just over 50 teams competing in what is an endurance rally for historic rally cars (before 1985).

In a stunt for the event, one of those cars will be a 1958 Sunbeam Alpine Series 4 fitted with a 2019 Tesla electric running gear, the brainchild of Victorian owner and engineer Michael Wilkinson.

A 1958 Sunbeam Alpine. Photo: SUPPLIED.

For seven days, the crews will cover some 680 km of competition stages and 1,650 km of transport stages, starting this Sunday, March 27.

After running out of Parkes on Tuesday, the teams will end the day in Orange, where they will be based for two nights, before the event ends in Bathurst on Saturday April 2.

Excitingly for residents of Parkes, whether enthusiasts or just intrigued spectators, ahead of Sunday’s start, teams will begin descending on Parkes on Thursday, with scrutineering due to begin on Friday.

On Saturday there will be a welcome ceremony at the Parkes League Club, followed by a ceremonial departure at Short Street and a 10km prologue to allow the teams to fine tune their cars. This will take place just off Henry Parkes Drive with plenty of spectator areas so everyone can see the cars up close.

Being one of the few endurance rallies in the world there are usually a number of international entries but with COVID creating uncertainty there is only one foreign entrant – but the car is of absolute beauty. UK-based Kiwi Warren Briggs has entered his beautiful 1965 Mustang for a final tilt – a car he had previously fielded for the 2014 and 2016 events.

It’s a change of scenery for Warren, who is more used to racing his historic Formula 1 McLaren on tarmac circuits, instead of the dusty roads of the NSW region.

Local racing legend Peter O’Donnell, in conjunction with Spinifex Recruiting – of which O’Donnell is chairman – told the Parkes Champion Post it’s not about the race either. O’Donnell, who has competed in many endurance races including the Bathurst 6 and 12 hour races, said it was a chance to help a cause important to many in Parkes, and even around the country.

“I’m normally a circuit racer and have a tight pit crew looking after my car all year, but after an accident I won’t be competing this year,” O’Donnell said. .

“We (Peter and the event organizers) were talking about sponsorship though, and they said ‘what if we do something for charity’. I took it to the Parkes Action Club and we chose the Parkes Prostate Awareness and Support Group.

“They were really excited, so we’re going to put the Mustang on display (Friday near Discount Daves), sell raffle tickets and of course we’ll have prostate cancer stickers on the car. My company will donate, too. .

“It’s all about fundraising, of course, but more importantly it’s all about raising awareness about prostate cancer among men, as it’s statistically likely that 10% of event attendees will require some sort of medical intervention for the treatment of the prostate.” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell said it was a brilliant event to attend.

“There’s a huge camaraderie between the crews, everyone wants to win of course, but it’s really about finishing and taking part in what is a tough event.”

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