Mitta is back on 20 March 2021

Amidst a background of mild uncertainty, planning is underway for The Mitta Mountain Rally on 20 March 2021 as the series opener for VRC, and at Multi Club level, Round 1 of VCRS and VSRS together with the Mitta Masters.

The date was moved forward a week due to issues with access to RallySafe services as other events moved to 27 March to avoid clashing with the Grand Prix, on 21 March.

It is planned to try and run the course that was intended for 2020, but postponed less than a week out.  The road team reports that some roads have received a grade since last year, and are in great condition.

Seven stages totalling 146 km are planned for VRC and Masters, and five stages of 95 km for VCRS.  The Sprint Rally Series event ends at end of Heat 1, with four stages of 74 km.

The Multi-Purpose Centre at the Mitta Recreation Reserve will again provide an excellent dining and relaxation hub for the Service Park.  The Bar and Café will be operated by local volunteers over the weekend, subject to Covid conditions applying at the time.  Servicing will again take place on the excellent adjacent fairway of the first hole of the local golf course.  Spectators will be catered for by walk-in points at the end of two of the seven stages.

Results will be final on the day, so the trophy presentation will take place Saturday night at the Mitta Mitta Pub.  A bus will be provided from and to Dartmouth for those staying there.

There is plenty of basic accommodation in the valley; taking in Eskdale and the former dam construction village of Dartmouth, both only 15 km from Mitta Mitta.

So, start planning, get that car prepared and book your accommodation.

Supplementary Regulations should be available before the end of January.

Postponement

 

The Mitta Mountain Rally has been postponed by the joint organisers, the Albury Wodonga & District Car Club and the North Eastern Car Club.

Yesterday there was majority but not full support from competitors, officials and local community to conduct the event this coming weekend.  As the impact of this virus escalates, so has the response from the broader community, both globally and locally.

By Friday it is felt that the event would have become so highly compromised that it would not be possible to run an adequate event, let alone the successful one that has been planned.

As disappointing as it will be for many, it is felt that it is better to make this decision now than on Friday night in Mitta Mitta.

Normally events are stopped from running by authorities but in this instance approval has been given and not withdrawn by Motorsport Australia, DELWP or Towong Shire.

Both organising clubs are calendared to run VCRS events in November, so there may be an opportunity to reschedule the event as a joint VRC and VCRS event, and so hopefully still utilise the considerable work, effort and money that has been put into planning the event.

Kate Officer to be patron at 2020 Mitta Mountain Rally

The first lady to win an Australian National Motorsport title, Kate Officer, will follow previous patrons; George Fury, Geoff Portman, Jeff Beaumont and Bruce Garland, in filling a prestigious but some would say somewhat useless role at Mitta this year.

 

Why have a patron at a rally, you may well ask?  The organisers of the Mitta Mountain Rally thought that having an event patron that was a respected elder of the sport would provide a great link between contemporary competitors at the state championship level and older crews and their cars in the Mitta Masters.  At a time when women are creating a greater presence in a range of high level sports that have been dominated by men, it is also fitting to acknowledge rallying’s own lady pioneer.

 

Kate has competed in a couple of Mitta Masters, and been part of the scoring team in two other years.  This year, she is not competing, as there has not been enough time apparently to prepare the car after the Alpine.

 

Kate started rallying in 1976 with Dinta in a Mini Cooper S, an exciting, iconic little rally car, but not so well suited to Australian conditions.  The change to a Mitsubishi Colt Galant in 1979 allowed the talent of this crew to gradually shine, taking out the VRC in 1983, the first by a lady and missing out on the ARC by half a point.  This was rectified the following year, 1984, when Kate became the

first woman to win an Australian Motorsport title and the first time a husband and wife team won an Australian title.  They also found time to cement the relationship by getting married in amongst a busy rally year.

 

1986 saw a second ARC title for Kate and victory with Dinta in the 7000Km South Australia State Bank Discovery Trial in a Mitsubishi Starion.  The pair took on the WRC with a 5th in 1987 and a 4th in 1988 in the NZ round of the WRC, again in the Starion, which has been beautifully restored and run by Brian Shand.

 

Kate and Dinta were fortunate enough in1985 to compete as part of the Mitsubishi Ralliart team in the first and seven more Wynn’s Safaris, a cross country event that started in Sydney and finished eight days later in Darwin.  After a string of solid placings including two second outrights, they broke through for a win in 1992.

In this period Kate managed to have two baby girls, before a turbo 4wd Evo Lancer was acquired in 1993.  This made a severe dent in the finances including tackling the 1995 Round Australia, which they lead comfortably until a broken gearbox struck a cruel blow.

A six year hiatus from competition followed until a Historic Rally Car spec Galant was built to tackle the burgeoning Historic events.  The Officer’s long distance credentials came to the fore in taking out the 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast event in the Galant.  Since then it has been the Alpine and numerous HRA events.

In 2014 Kate and Dinta were inducted into both the Victorian and Australian Rallying Halls of Fame.

Kate will not be competing at Mitta this year, but will be at the event, free to dispense her well earnt wisdom as required, particularly to young lady co-drivers.  She will also be interviewed at the post event presentation function about her career and current rallying before presenting trophies, including the Kate Officer Cup to the winners of the Mitta Masters.

Mitta Entry Close Date Extended

Due to the recently announced restrictions on Australian competitors entering the Otago Rally in NZ, and the postponement of the Natcap Rally it has been decided to extend the close date for entries for the Mitta Mountain Rally from 11 March to 8pm Monday 16 March.
Online entries have been re-opened.
Further Regulations and Provisional Start Order will now be issued on Tuesday 17 March.

Mitta Definitely On!

At this stage the organisers see no reason why the Mitta Mountain Rally should not occur as planned.  We have noted the COVOD 19 Update issued by Motorsport Australia at 5pm today which states:

“At this stage, all permits issued remain valid and there is no requirement for events to be postponed or cancelled. All event organisers should also now be aware of the Federal Government’s announcement warning against any public gatherings of over 500 spectators. Given the majority of grassroots events would fall below this number, it should have no impact on club and state level events. Event organisers are of course encouraged to utilise hand sanitisers where possible, and ensure good hygiene practices are encouraged through signage and any communications.”

We have also noted the restrictions on competitors travelling to NZ for the Otago Rally in early April, and are considering an extension of the close date for entries to allow competitors affected by that decision to enter Mitta instead.  An announcement on that will be made before the due time for issue of Further Regulations and Provisional Start Order at 8pm tomorrow Sunday 15 March.

Entries Status for Mitta Mountain Rally, and Mitta Masters, including VSRS

Entries close shortly at 8pm today, Wednesday 11 March.

A total of 38 entries have been received so far from the following drivers listed below.  If you thought you had submitted an entry and your driver’s name is not on this list, then please get in touch with our Entries Secretary, Deb.

We have received an entry fee from ML and Y Robert which does not correspond to any entry received.  We have checked seeding and grading lists here and NSW and have not been able to solve this mystery.  No it is not Max Roberts from Bega. If you can help us solve it there is a reward!, so if you have any clues, please get in touch with Deb.

Matt Lee
Warren Lee
Brad Till
Andrew McNay
Richards McNay
Brian Semmens
David Lawrance
Joel Wald
Wayne Stewart
Rosemarie North
John Carney
Ross Stapleton
Ian Martin
Troy Dawson
Aaron Windus
Darren Windus
Adrian Stratford
Richard Carter
Franco Liucci
Brendan Reeves
David Stiles
Brett Ross
Barney Hogan
Luke Daly
Cary Seabrook
Braeden Kendrick
Les Adams
Dean Hubbert
Nick Seymour
Lochlan Reed
Ivan Regester
Cody Richards
Graham Wallis
Darren Snooks
Keith Lewis
Tony Moore
Roy Brock
Josh Bohm

Entries Status for Mitta Mountain Rally, and Mitta Masters, including VSRS

A total of 36 entries have been received so far from the following drivers listed below.  If you thought you had submitted an entry and your driver’s name is not on this list, then please get in touch with our Entries Secretary, Deb.

We have received an entry fee from a M. Robert which does not correspond to any entry received.  If you can help us solve that little mystery, again, please get in touch with Deb.

Entries close at 8pm on Wednesday 11 March.

Matt Lee
Warren Lee
Brad Till
Andrew McNay
Richards McNay
Brian Semmens
David Lawrance
Joel Wald
Wayne Stewart
Rosemarie North
John Carney
Ross Stapleton
Ian Martin
Troy Dawson
Aaron Windus
Darren Windus
Adrian Stratford
Richard Carter
Franco Liucci
Brendan Reeves
David Stiles
Brett Ross
Barney Hogan
Luke Daly
Cary Seabrook
Braeden Kendrick
Les Adams
Dean Hubbert
Nick Seymour
Lochlan Reed
Ivan Regester
Cody Richards
Graham Wallis
Darren Snooks
Keith Lewis
Tony Moore

 

Mitta Mountain Rally Stages Preview

SS 1
SS 2
SS 3
SS 4
SS 5
SS 6
SS 7

The course check has been completed and the road team reports that all stages are in great condition, following the Spring grading program.

Two stages incorporate some open shire roads, and the two all new stages are made up largely of flowing ridge top roads.  The grassy forests of the area also provide good visibility corner to corner.

Early entry discount fee closes this Wednesday 26 February, so use the weekend to get that online entry submitted.

The following photos are a sample of each of the seven stages, in order 1 to 7.

Bushfire Recovery Support for Affected Rural Communities

While the route for this year’s Mitta Mountain Rally has not been directly affected by recent bushfires, the closure of the Omeo Highway and warnings to stay away from the mountains has severely impacted hotel trading and accommodation venues and all associated businesses in the Mitta valley at Eskdale, Mitta Mitta and Dartmouth.

We can all do our bit by competing in the Mitta Mountain Rally and in so doing support a fire affected community.

Mitta Masters for old cars not just old people

While there are awards for crews with drivers aged over 50, 60 and 70, to be eligible for the Mitta Masters, crews do not have to be necessarily old, but cars must comply with Classic C1 or C2.

Last year the young Justin Walker took home the Bruce Garland Cup for first outright Mitta Masters, although he missed out on VRC 2WD, won by Tony Sullens in the front wheel drive Citroen DS3.

Many crews entered in VRC with PRC cars that are older than 30 years would also find themselves eligible to compete in the Mitta Masters.  Older Club Rally Cars cannot also be Classic, but any older (more than 30 years) PRC car without a sequential gearbox or fuel injection will quite likely also be eligible under the Classic Categories for the Mitta Masters.