Its 8 am on a Saturday morning and I’m standing somewhere in a forest about 30 minutes from Launceston Tasmania. It was minus 3 degrees Celsius when I left the hotel and the roadside was covered in a thick frost.
The temperature is now a positively balmy 1 degree Celsius, it is June after all and there is an icy breeze which makes a small fog from my breath. In short it’s bloody cold and the thin ray of morning sunshine provides a modicum of warmth as I’m stamping my feet trying to get some feeling back into them.
However I’m not alone in this madness, joined by a couple of hundred other similarly challenged people, seemingly devoid of common sense. There are groups like us spread throughout the forest. Some 6000 in total apparently.
In front of me is a thin tape barrier and a stretch of forest trail that climbs from a valley towards me then disappears around a sharp corner.
There is a low murmur of people chattering, the smart ones brought a thermos and seats.
It starts out as a faint buzz in the distance and the murmuring from the crowd goes silent. The sound becomes a low growl echoing through the trees and up the valley. Everyone is looking to the right as the growl steadily grows louder, rising to a screaming howl as the blue Subaru suddenly appears.
It rockets past us at a pace that sane people wouldn’t even consider, sliding sideways through the corner in a blast of flying dirt and rocks then accelerates down the straight trail in a flash disappearing from view.
Everyone is cheering and there is an excited buzz floating throughout the crowd.
Welcome to the world of rally spectator in Australia.
I am at the Subaru Rally Tasmania from 21-23 June in the Apple Isle as part of the third round of the 2019 CAMS Australian Rally Championship.
The event goes over the full weekend with a large crowd turning out on Friday night in Launceston for the Super Special Stage, which is a quick timed circuit in the show ground in town.
This is also the place for the Service Park, which allows spectators to get up and close to the cars and teams while they service and repair the cars between stages.
There is a special Subaru DO Motorsport tent with a simulator, where enthusiasts can pitch their skills against others and Molly Taylor on the specially designed setup.
It’s a family friendly atmosphere set amongst the Tram museums of Launceston, in the heart of town. The whole rally environment is like a big family day out for spectators.
While the stages are located in the forests away from town there is much to do while waiting.
Going to visit one of the stages of the 2019 CAMS Australian Rally Championship is a must do activity as you can combine it with visiting a region of Australia that offers much in the way of tourist agendas as well as the excitement of the rally.
The 2019 CAMS Australian Rally Championship calendar can be found here.