Today was my first ever observation Rally. After having gone to car events regularly for well over a decade, I had surprisingly never attended one. The premise is that you and your navigator follow along a set of directions and get points for correctly deciphering the clues. Today, the MBCNSW was running one, dubbed The Amazing Rally. I thought it would be fun to give it a try. It was a requirement to bring a navigator. Why stop at one when I could bring three? I enlisted my three kids as navigators. They are 8, 6 and 6, and I thought they were now old enough to enjoy something like this.
We took my 560SEL. Its a good size for four and easy for the kids to get in/out of the back quickly. It also has plenty of power for the hilly roads in the northwest where the rally was planned. We had to use that power a few times to pass errant cyclists.
The event started early in St Ives, in one of the locations we regularly use to start night drives. All entrants got their rally packs and and instructions and we set off, first stop being the St Ives Sphinx. From there we stopped at various clues going via the Berowa Ferry and over to Cattai Ridge Road. These would have all been familiar roads to regulars of the night drives. In addition to the clues there were also three ‘sweet spots’ along the way. This was where each participant picked up lollipops and had to take a photo in front of the location. My kids were particularly excited about the sweet spots.
Eventually we ended up at Ebenezer Church, Australia’s oldest surviving church, from 1809. There we allowed everyone to regroup and sample a delicious Devonshire tea. I had not been before and it is a very nice spot. The clues were often not easy, oven not exactly in order and there were a few trick questions here and there. It makes sense, as its the only way to separate out the scores with 25+ entrants on the day.
After the morning tea shop we proceeded across the Sackville Ferry, across to river road and then finally back to the Old Northern Road. As per before there were many clues we had to find along these routes. I was reasonably familiar with a lot of these roads, as this is one of my favourite areas to drive around Sydney and I commonly use these roads for the night drives.
We then concluded the day at a country club in the area where the scores were added up and prizes awarded. I’m not sure what our final score was, but I think we probably ended up middle of the pack. I was pretty happy with that result, given not all of our navigation party could read. We actually won a prize (Presidents Choice) for the youngest navigation team, and the club let the kids give out the rest of the prizes which they enjoyed. The club always goes out of its way to make the kids feel welcome at these events.
We had a really good day out at the Amazing Rally, and all three kids agreed that if the club did it again next year, they would want to come along. We also learned a thing or two about doing these events. Watch out for trick questions and it is worth backtracking to get points. The time you finish is irrelevant.
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