There are many things we motorists take for granted.
The wheel in front of you can be used to change direction, for instance. Stomp on the middle pedal to come to a stop (if you’re the last of the breed who still chooses to drive a manual). And unless something goes pear-shaped, all four wheels will remain on terra firma – and the firmer it is, the less terror there is.
But once you’ve got a Subaru WRX on a fire trail out in the Cotter Reserve, even if you’re limited to a health-and-safety-approved 40 km/h, none of this is true anymore. You become the second of two moving parts. You are dancing a ballet with physics, where – if you happen to step on its foot – you will be sent spinning in a dust cloud into a tree and then an ambulance.
So it boggles the mind that from 18 to 19 November, dozens of cars with even more power and less weight than the stock WRX I’m driving will pull off this feat at four times the speed for the Rally of Canberra (ROC).
Pointless? Maybe. Astonishingly skilful? Definitely. Because, as we discovered on a tour of the 10-km ‘Kingfisher’ stage, not just anyone can do rallying … *
For those who want to come along and watch the experts at work next weekend, there are four designated spectator areas across the two days.
Saturday, 18 November, starts at Oakey Creek, off Laurel Camp Road and Paddy’s River Road – the ideal spot from 9 am and 1 pm. The other is at Blue Range, off Blue Range Road, where you’ll catch the competitors from 10:15 am and 3 pm.
On Sunday, 19 November, the action will take place in Kowen Forest on the east of Canberra, near Queanbeyan. The best places to be are at the Wamboin Jack and Charcoal Kiln from 8:45 am and 12:30 am, or the start/finish line at Kowen Village from 2:30 pm.
View the full map of spectator points online.
*Special thanks to Brindabella Motor Sport Club and Subaru Canberra for keeping us on the straight and narrow.