Local communities in North East Victoria’s Alpine region are the big winners with the inaugural Hotham Auto Corsa Alpine Tarmac Rally official indicative course announced today.
Promoted by Auto Corsa Group, the two-day tarmac rally from November 14-15 is expected to attract a field of up to 80 classic and modern cars that will vie for outright glory and individual category wins.
Crews will travel a total distance of 517 kilometres over the weekend, with 255 of those broken up over 14 closed-road special stages.
Event Director, Stuart Benson, said that locals would have the opportunity to see the cars at stops at Mitta Mitta, Mount Beauty, Omeo, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham.
“Our approach to course design ensures maximum efficiency for pre-event reconnaissance, no stage repetition and, importantly, ample opportunity for locals to see the cars and rub shoulders with the competitors,” he said.
“Local enthusiasts will also be able to catch the action from a number of spectator viewing locations across the weekend.”
Mr Benson said the rally’s competition-to-touring ratio of approximately 50 percent accommodates an increasingly busy customer base desiring more compact and accessible events.
Day one will see cars travel 112.6 competitive kilometres over seven closed road stages. From Mount Hotham, the field will head east to the outskirts of Omeo.
The Omeo Highway will play host to a 6.3km warm up stage which will ease crews into competition, followed by a further three highly technical stages taking in Anglers Rest, Glen Wills and Snowy Creek.
Following a lunch break in Mitta Mitta, the cars will complete the morning’s stages in reverse finishing with the day’s longest stage, the 26.1km Glen Valley. A ceremonial finish will be held just outside the Omeo Show on the Omeo Highway, and a number of cars will be on display inside the Showgrounds from about 2.30pm.
Day two will produce a further technical seven stages over 141.9 competitive kilometres. Crews will be re-started from Hotham Heights Village and head down the famed Great Alpine Road, towards Harrietville taking in a 6.1km Mount Hotham warm up stage along the way, followed by the 17.7km Mount Feathertop stage.
The cars continue along the Great Alpine Road before heading north towards the 16.5km German Greek stage. The 28.5km Mount Beauty stage will see the cars ascend to Falls Creek where the cars will stop for lunch. Cars will then descend from Falls Creek, covering the 28km Falls Creek stage before re-grouping in Mount Beauty.
The field then commences its journey back to Mount Hotham for official podium finish celebrations but not before completing the 16.2km Tawonga Gap stage and the event’s final and longest stage, Great Alpine, which comprises a 28.9 kilometre climb of Australia’s highest sealed through road, the Great Alpine Road.
Auto Corsa Group has signed a three-year deal with Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management to deliver the event, and has worked with Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management, Alpine Shire Council, East Gippsland Shire Council and the Towong Shire Council to develop the course.
Mr Benson said that the many months of consultation with local civil authorities and community groups and associations had not only secured the rally route for 2015, but also support for an extended course in 2016.
“It’s been great to hear from the top teams of tarmac rallying that have carried out reconnaissance, that the combined character, construction, length and even scenery offered by the very special stages of the Hotham Auto Corsa have no domestic rival,” Mr Benson said.
“We very much look forward to working with our event partners and local stakeholders to see the event grow even stronger into the future.” Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board Chief Executive Officer, Jon Hutchins, said that local community interaction was paramount in planning for the event.
“An important design element of the Hotham Auto Corsa is that it interacts with the communities it passes through,” he said.
“This visitation, both pre and during event, stimulates activity and spending at a quieter time of year for the entire Alpine region.”
An official spectator guide, outlining safe viewing spots and times for road closures and vehicle displays, will be issued via the event website www.autocorsa.com.au in October and published in local media prior to the event.