Bega Valley Rally hits top gear

David and Alexander Eadie pass spectators on Upper Cobargo Road in their Mitsubishi Gallant in last year's Valley Rally.
David and Alexander Eadie pass spectators on Upper Cobargo Road in their Mitsubishi Gallant in last year's Valley Rally.

Plans for the 2018 Bega Valley Rally are firmly on the accelerator.

The iconic rally returned to Bega roads after a near-10-year hiatus in 2017 to great effect and will feature four stages on shire roads this time around. 

“The response from rallyers themselves was fantastic, we were surprised by the amount of people and feedback we got last year,” says Sapphire Coast Sporting Car Club president Kim Boyd. 

“We’ve got four Shire Roads this year because that’s what the rally drivers love, it’s a favourite for them; open sweeping roads through beautiful countryside.”

The rally will continue in a similar format to last year with the Bega stages leading into night events before the Sunday staging ground on the forest roads south of Eden. 

Mr Boyd said it was a packed schedule, but allowed spectators and drivers the best opportunity to capture some of the coast’s finest rallying stages in just one weekend. 

“Some of the drivers don’t like [night stages], but we feel it’s part of rallying and we’ll be continuing that this year,” he said.

Mr Boyd commended both the Bega Valley Shire Council and the local Police for helping them with required paperwork and permits. 

“They’ve been helpful to jump the hurdles and I can’t thank them enough,” Mr Boyd said. 

A field of nearly 40 cars took part last year, with feedback to Mr Boyd suggesting more than $80,000 was pumped into the Valley economy across the weekend. 

That list included former local driver Ben Barker, who went on to win the event, as well as ex-professional driver David Eadie, with his son Alexander in the navigator’s seat. 

Rumours already abound about possible entries this year, but Barker is among the early sign-ups to defend his title, while Mr Boyd says it will be a competitive field. 

“There will be a lot of top quality drivers entering for sure and we’ve heard a lot about some big names of the sport, so watch this space.”

This year officials are hoping to see a bump in entries to match that of the last Valley Rally. 

“We had 61 drivers the year it was called off, we would love to see it get back to that.

“We don’t need it to become a WRC stage, but would like to see it progress to a similar level as the Alpine Rally in Victoria.”

Alongside spectator points at the stages themselves, rally lovers will get a chance to see some of the cars up close and meet members of the team with the Bega Showground a parade area Saturday morning, while cars will gather on Sunday at the Seahorse Inn at Eden as a key service area. 

The Bega Valley Rally will run on June 9 and 10.