An article written by Bruce Moxon and published in Motor Racing Australia.
"Youve just been Mulleted"
About 700 metres before the end of the stage, you come over a little rise, as the road curves right. Your lights pick up.... What the? Three humanoid forms near the road. At 120 or so kilometres per hour, they are gone before you get a chance to register. Another 500 metres and there is the timing marker. A few people in white are in the trees. You slow down for the control and there are seven or eight green aliens in the trees on your right. A sign warns that you are entering "Stage 51". You stop and about a dozen white-clad forms descend on your car. The people in white scan your car, as two men in black suits and sunglasses ask if you have seen any escaped aliens. You are handed a pass, told to stay in the car and keep moving. And you are warned that you have seen nothing and nobody will believe you, so dont bother trying to tell anyone. As you leave you pass a crashed spaceship, then another alien, dressed as a human, hitchhiking.
Youve just been Mulleted.
They have their imitators and their detractors. They are silly, childish; their energy, enthusiasm and creativity could be better-directed. Well, so say some. Others say they are the best thing about rallying in NSW. Who are the Killer Mullet Rallye Team? "What is" would be a better question.
Put simply, they are a bunch of motor sport enthusiasts who manage to have a lot of fun, provide entertainment and a legitimate service to the sport, all at the same time.
Formed 21 years ago at the Southern Cross Rally, they were a group of friends who wanted to have fun as they went rallying. Some of them compete, others are mostly officials. What they all are is a little bit crazy. How are they crazy? Well, their most visible activity is as control officials. Now, never let it be said that a Mullet Control is ordinary. Most rally controls require a maximum of about six people, thats if you are having radio communication. Otherwise, sometimes you can get away with as few as three. Not the Mullets. About 40 bodies is the norm, all doing something to add to the theme of the day.
The Blue Oyster Disco was a full-on nightclub somewhere in the forest near Narooma on the NSW South Coast. The Mullets were dressed just like the clubbers in the first Police Academy movie - much leather and mincing!
They dressed and equipped themselves as road workers and were in the process of building a roundabout in the middle of Sunny Corner Forest. They trucked several tonnes of sand to Oberon for a beach party. Oberon is south of Bathurst and regularly sees snow in winter. So, here were these idiots running around in swimmers with surfboards - in winter!
Fairyland had them dressed as fairies (all kinds, from the macho leather ones to magical fairies with wands, tights and tutus), with a jumping castle on the side of the road and handing fairy bread to crews.
They conducted (with Police co-operation) Random Mullet Testing, checking competitors for fishy breath and making a careful check of cars from costal areas for evidence of seafood!
They have had tea parties, dinners (in black tie) and they claim to have started the score cards shown at spectator points. They conducted the McMullet drive through at Wyong a couple of years ago, dressed in McDonalds uniforms and handing out cookies. ("Would you like an apple pie with that start time?") There was talk of a control done in Star Trek uniforms (original series, Im told that makes a difference). At one event, two of the Mullets competed dressed as nerds, with safari suits, pockets full of pens and plastic framed glasses held together with band aids.
Of late an alternative group, called the "Lethal Flounders" had a pyjama party at the Batemans Bay rally. The Mullets were unimpressed, having done that "years ago."
But what goes on behind the scenes? MRA had seen examples of their work, but only the finished product. It was obvious that a lot of effort goes into these controls, but who are some of the personalities?
So, in early September I headed to Bathurst to be an honorary Mullet for the night. The Bathurst Light Car Club (or, in Mullet speak the "Bathurst Liquor Consumers Club) was running a round of the NSW Rally Championship. Our control was deep in Sunny Corner State Forest (a cartographical misnomer - it has to be one of the coldest places in the Universe!) and I was sworn to secrecy until after the event. I took a camera in case anyone doubts me!
One of the senior members saw the scratchings in my note book so I am now known as "Scribble Mullet". I had to contribute to the evening so brought along a case of beer (for later on) and an inflatable alien. The personalities are hidden behind Mullet names. Names like Road Director, Roof, Coal, Lights, fLASH, Wedge and so on. They do allow themselves to be photographed, although sometimes their image will not come out on film!
I arrived at about 3:30 PM, to see preparations well advanced. Its not all that usual to get there so early, when the first car is due at about 6:30. The effort these people put in is amazing. They took 13 vehicles, a mobile disco with lights, several separate strobes, a smoke machine, a non-flying saucer, 15 or so inflatable aliens, 5 bags of firewood, 4 generators, fluorescent lighting and a microwave oven! The crashed spaceship was made with a welded frame covered with aluminium foil. The smoke machine was next to it to add to the effect.
With signs, props, aliens, fireplaces, kids to organise, dressing up to do, everything took about five or six hours. And was it ever worth it! Certainly the best Mullet Control Ive ever seen and this was a sentiment echoed by many others who saw it.
There was a boom gate across the road. All present had to wear white overalls, gloves and dust masks. They had made several devices that would not look out of place in a bad science fiction movie. These were used to scan cars and "disinfect" them if alien presence was detected. All the while the mobile disco played the themes from science fiction movies and TV shows. Although they only had the second theme from Lost in Space, making their collection limited.
But motorsport is mostly about the competitor. So, what did the competitors think? Most of them looked completely bemused as they drove up, then had a good laugh. One crew were both applauding as they stopped. Theres nothing like this sort of silliness to break the stress of a special stage. Some were a little cranky. You know the type: "Rallyings not a matter of life or death; its more important than that." The vast majority, however, appreciated the effort and enjoyed the result. And everyone enjoyed the Mars bars we handed out, although Im not sure all of them got the joke.