Killer Mullet Rallye Team remembers:
The Castrol Rally of Canberra
It was 75 or 76 - I can't remember which - a bunch of us decided to do a day trip to Canberra to checkout the Castrol Rally. It was a pretty hectic day but we managed to discover the Mineshaft and other soon to be famous rally spectator points. That one day trip ended in a resolve to be regulars at this event which we were until the early eighties when it seemed to run out of steam due to changing times.
So there is not a lot to be said - if you were there you will remember fondly the locality and magnificant spectator points - some of which are still used today in the Subaru Rally of Canberra and some of which are not. If you were not there then all I can say is you have missed out on one of the great rally events where the likes of Stig Blomquist, Ari Vatenaan, Blair Robson competed against Australia's best.
The spectating for this event was awsome - close to a major city, mountainous forest regions, and a few unique points destined to become legendary.
My first visit to the mineshaft was simply because it sounded spectacular in the spectator guide. We parked the car along the main road and hiked up through the forest to see this pretty impressive hill. A good crowd had already lined the sides of the road - the forest in those days was very thick and came right up to the side of the road. The part of the Mineshaft that was most exciting,,though, was in fact the bottom. Back then, there was a road that crossed the main track creating a step over which the cars launched quite high. As the years went by the forest was slowly pressed back a bit from the road allowing a clearer view so the cars would come down the hill quicker and the height they would reach was truly spectacular.
Photos from the Mineshaft
Now some of you will be saying "Condor where?" while others will be saying "Ah yes Condor Creek" with an approving sigh.
Once you knew about Condor Creek it was the only place to be for the after dark Castrol - the crowd, the atmosphere, the water - certainly by todays standards an insurance nightmare but remember we are talking about the 70's.
The first time I visited Condor we followed the directions and ended up at an old logging camp and as soon as we had parked the car you could tell by the cheering coming from the forest that there was something exciting going on. There was flood lighting and people everywhere - while not a particuarly large water crossing it was just enough to create some pretty entertaining runs. The diehards would get there early to get the good vantage points on the banks or amongst the trees for a very entertaining evening.
Photos from Condor Creek
Paddy's River crossing
Just down the road from the Mineshaft was another water crossing. It was at picnic area just off the main road at Paddy's River. The cars would cross the river and then do a competative loop through the forest and return - the actual crossing was only a transport but many drivers would put on a bit of a show for the crowd. There were the inevitable stalls which then produced a battle of time to get restarted before the 4WD complete with tyre strapped to the bullbar would turn up to smash every light on the rear of the car.
Photos from Paddys River
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