Car Rally by Peter Bowditch

October 28 saw the end of the Southern Cross Rally Festival at Jenolan Caves.

The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Southern Cross Rally, and was a road tour rather than a competitive rally.

Organised by Dan and Rosie White, who had directed the Southern Cross Rally out of Port Macquarie between 1974 and 1978.

The event started at Healesville in Victoria and passed through Eildon, Falls Creek, Beechworth, Tumbarumba, Adelong, Yass, Jugiong, Grabben Gullen, Crookwell, Taralga and Edith before descending down Edith Road to Jenolan Caves. Overnight stays were at Marysville, Mount Beauty, Corryong and Gundagai.

To add to the excitement there was a special guest for the week.

Rauno Aaltonen from Finland had won the Southern Cross Rally in Port Macquarie in 1977 and was also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Gallaher 500 at Bathurst when he led home the Minis that filled the first nine places.

Pictured is the Mini belonging to Mini enthusiast extraordinaire Andy Bird from South Australia, and is a replica of the car that Rauno Aaltonen drove to victory in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally.

It was not intended to be a competitive rally, but was for enthusiasts and anyone who just wanted to find out what rallying is all about while looking at attractive scenery.

There were aspects of competition, such as navigation stages and route charts, but nobody was expected to exceed the speed limit or to take their cars where any damage was likely.

This was a prototype and test for future events. Competitors and officials came from Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, and everyone is looking forward to repeating the experience in years to come.

Mini Magic: Replica of the car that Rauno Aaltonen drove to victory in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally.

Mini Magic: Replica of the car that Rauno Aaltonen drove to victory in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally.