Over 100 rally cars will be competing in the Alpine Rally of East Gippsland, Australia’s premier special stage gravel rally for classic rally cars, from Friday 29 November to Sunday 1 December 2019.
The Alpine rally is one of the oldest events in Australia run every two years since 1921. The 2019 event will be based at Lakes Entrance using closed forest roads in the east Gippsland region and is expected to draw thousands of spectators to the region.
Simply Music Management (SMM) from the Shoalhaven and Manning Automotive Kalaru from the Bega Valley shire are supporting several teams from NSW and the ACT at the event with many of their sponsored teams having already won several awards in the 2019 rally season.
At only 21 years of age, Chris Stilling having completed only two events as a driver has won the 2019 NSW Development 2WD award and second outright as well as leading the ACT Novice series and second place (after Tumut) in the ACT Clubman series. Chris Stilling will be partnered with the 2019 NSW Development navigator champion, Rae Waterhouse aboard their Manning Automotive 1979 Datsun Stanza.
‘This is a long event and I will be aiming to finish’, said Chris Stilling. ‘I will be competing against some of the best classic rally drivers in Australia, it is an awesome learning experience’.
Chris Stilling will be up against more seasoned competitors at the Alpine rally including his father, 2017 Australian classic rally champion, Trevor Stilling.
Trevor Stilling recently won second outright in the 2WD class of the Australian Rally Championship series after competing in only two events in the 2019 series and will be driving a newly rebuilt Manning Automotive, Waterhouse Performance 1980 Datsun Stanza. ‘This is an endurance event’, said Stilling. ‘The aim is to finish but the goal is to also gain good times for a top position’. Trevor Stilling will be partnered with experienced navigator, Jon Thompson.
‘We are excited that both Trevor and Chris Stilling are competing in this classic event”, said sponsor Simply Music Management, ‘They have exceeded our expectations during 2019 rally season taking out many awards’.
Also competing from the Manning Automotive and Waterhouse Performance group is Darkie Barr-Smith winner of the 2019 NSW Clubman Rally championship. Barr-Smith and navigator, Jono Forrest will be competing aboard their classic 1977 Datsun 200B. Darkie Barr-Smith also recently won the classic category in the final round of the Pipe King Southern Cross rally series.
Veteran competitor, Jon Waterhouse, has raced in multiple Alpine rallies up until 2011 when his rally car at that time was not eligible for the classic event. ‘This year I am back competing because my car has met the eligibility’ said Waterhouse. Simply Music Management stated, “Jon has over 45 years of experience and is a multiple award winner in ACT Gold cup rally series”. Jon is competing in the Reliance Automotive 1986 Mazda RX7. Navigator Andrew Crawford stated they are at the event ‘to have fun’.
The 2019 alpine rally is expected to boost the tourism revenue in the east Gippsland region which has been affected by the drought. Local member, Tim Bull MP will flag the cars away at the start at Rotunda Park, Lakes Entrance at 2pm on Friday, 29 Nov.