Vehicles & Transport

Yellow Mountain Enduro coming to a paddock near you

By Dominic Geiger

The annual Yellow Mountain Cross Country motorcycle race will once again fill the paddocks between Condobolin and Tottenham with the roar of dirt bikes this weekend.

Spectators are able to view the bikes at the scrutineering event from 3 to 7pm Friday and during the start of the race at 10am on Saturday, both of which are set to be held at the Mt Tilga Motocross track, eight kilometres north of Condobolin.

Member of the Condobolin Auto sports club, Kim Lark, said the track was hilly with plenty of dust.

“I’d say there are going to be plenty of spills,” she said.

Competitor in the event, Don Lark, said he has competed in the event every year since it began.

“This is my ninth year doing the Yellow Mountain,” he said.

“It’s pretty tough, there are a fair few hills and rocks.

“The hardest thing about the track is getting to the end and back.

“We’ll leave Mt Tilga, travel through farmland, go around the back of Mineral Hill Mine and then into Tottenham,” he said.

Riders will finish the event throughout Sunday afternoon at the Mt Tilga Motocross track.

Ten thousand signatures needed to put road safety first

NRMA Motoring & Services and the Police Association of NSW are calling on motorists across the state to sign a petition to get the NSW Government to put all revenue raised from speed cameras back into funding road safety measures.

NRMA Director Graham Blight said the NRMA would need at least 10,000 signatures so that the issue of directly linking speed camera revenue to road safety funding – known as hypothecation – is debated in Parliament.

“For years we’ve been calling for the revenue raised from traffic fines, in particular enforcement cameras, to be hypothecated to specific road safety measures such as funding road improvements, road safety education and more highway patrols across the state,” Mr Blight said.

“We want the NSW Government in its first term to legislate the hypothecation of the more than $140 million collected by speed cameras each year. The best way to make this happen is to get the 10,000 signatures we need to get this issue debated by Parliament.

“If the Government is serious about reducing the road toll then there is no reason why this revenue can’t be used as extra funding for road safety.”

The NRMA is proposing an independent panel of experts be brought together including the NRMA and the NSW Police Association to ensure that the hypothecation of traffic fine revenue is adequately allocated and expended on road safety measures and that this information is made publicly available.

“We also want the NSW Government to commit to an annual audit of all camera sites across the state to ensure they are only used in places where they make the roads safer,” Mr Blight said.

24 hour helicopter campaign takes off

Lachlan Shire Council will give full support to the Mayor of Orange to achieve a 24-hour emergency helicopter service.By Dominic Geiger

The Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, has recently thrown his support behind the project to establish an Orange based 24 hour emergency helicopter retrieval service for central and western NSW.

Although an emergency retrieval helicopter currently exists in Orange, the service is only funded to operate during daylight hours.

This means if a person requires emergency transportation after 6pm the service is unable to respond.

Des said it was important to establish the service as a 24 hour operation because the hour of the day doesn’t determine people’s health.

“[Lachlan Shire Council] will be giving its full support to the Mayor of Orange and that council to achieve this project,” he said.

“I think it’s a matter of common sense and a matter of money that’s affecting this project.

“When you’re talking about how much money you put towards an emergency service I think [in this situation] it’s completely worth it.”

If established, the helicopter would service the majority of the central west including the Lachlan Shire.

Following the Mayor announcing his commitment to the project at last Wednesday’s council meeting, council moved a motion to create a petition in support of the project which will be made available for Lachlan Shire residents to sign.

Des will also join a delegation to the NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, which will seek an immediate commitment to extend the retrieval service to 24 hours.

The campaign to establish the emergency helicopter follows the last month’s NSW Ambulance Service’s decision not to consider the 24 hour service until 2012.

NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, said the Auditor-General’s report in September 2010 stated that NSW Ambulance had reviewed the need to extend the operating hours of the Orange helicopter during 2009.

“That review identified there was not a sufficient demand at that time to warrant an increase to a 24 hour service,” she said.

“Prior to the election, I said I would again review the need for a move to a 24hr aero medical retrieval service in Orange.

“This has been done.

“The advice I have received shows there has been no change in aeromedical activity in the Central West, which is why there is no need to commit to a 24/7 operation at this stage.

“In line with the Auditor-General’s report, a state-wide review will be carried out before the regional helicopter contracts expire in December 2012.

“This will determine if there is a need to switch to an extended service in Orange.”

Speed limit on Newell Highway to be reinstated

Sections of the Newell Highway will have a 110km/h speed limit reinstated from 31 July 2011.

The speed limit was reduced on the highway in December 2009.

Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, said the speed limit reduction in 2009 was largely criticised by motorists who use the road regularly.

“Since 2009, a range of initiatives have been implemented to help increase safety and reduce crashes on this link between Victoria and Queensland,” he said.

“These include major upgrades of the Newell Highway where it intersects with the Sturt Highway, Tallimba Road, the Castlereagh Highway and Oxley Highway.

“About 30 intersections have been upgraded in the past two years.

“Work is being carried out to ensure there is a six metre clear zone on each side of straight lengths of the highway and a 10 metre clear zone on the outside of bends. Where this is not possible, wire rope barriers are being installed.

“More than 800 kilometres of the 1060 kilometre Newell Highway currently has a speed limit of 100km/h.

“The RTA has been working on a strategy to allow the 110km/h speed limit to be reinstated along the majority of the highway.

“To ensure the community is aware of the changes, a communication campaign will start the last week of July.

“This will include radio and newspaper advertising. Local stakeholders, members of the heavy vehicle industry, emergency services and bus and coach operators will be mailed information,” Mr Humphries said.

The 100km/h speed limit will remain:

•Between Tooraweenah and Coonabarabran

•From Coonabarabran to north of the intersection with the Oxley Highway

•Sections between Jerilderie and Finley

•Sections between Finley and Tocumwal and

From Boggabilla to the Queensland border

• The lengths between Tooraweenah and •Coonabarabran and Coonabarabran to north of the intersection of the Oxley Highway were 100km/h before the speed reduction in December 2009.

Free Cuppa for the Driver campaign shifts up a gear

By Dominic Geiger

The success of the ‘Free Cuppa for the Driver’ campaign will see the initiative expand well beyond the borders of Forbes, Parkes and Lachlan Shires when it is reintroduced in Easter next year.

The campaign, which was first run last Christmas holidays, invites participating businesses to offer free cups of coffee or tea to drivers passing through town with the aim of combating driver fatigue in rural areas.

Speaking at the recent Lachlan Shire Council meeting, Road Safety Officer for the Forbes, Parkes and Lachlan Shires, Melanie Suitor, said businesses as far north as Moree would now be asked to participate.

“It was an interesting campaign and we learnt a lot from it,” she said.

“We had about 75 people who took part in the project fill out feedback forms and who also went into the draw to win various prizes.

“The feedback we received from businesses was that summer was too hot for people to want coffee or tea, so that’s why we’ve moved it to the Easter holidays this time.”

Melanie said the campaign also offered businesses a chance to promote themselves.

“We’ll be creating posters and stickers as well as erecting banners at the entrances to towns to help raise awareness about the scheme,” she said.

“We’ll also cross promote towns through tourism information centres and caravan parks.”

In Condobolin, approximately five businesses took part in the campaign last Christmas.

Angela Coceancic, from participating business Nolls Bakery, said she found very few people actually asked for the free cuppa, despite having promotional posters on the windows of the bakery.

“We found we offered the drinks more often than the customers asked for them,” she said.

“People were very appreciative, but it seems if people actually want coffee, they’re going to pay for it rather than be looking for something for free.”

Beware of hopping hazards on NSW roads

Central west drivers are being encouraged to watch out for kangaroos on the road with recently released figures from NRMA insurance stating the marsupials accounted for 75 percent of all animal related collisions last year.

The insurer said data also showed NSW had the highest rate of collisions compared to the other states with over 7,000 claims.

NRMA Insurance Head of Research, Robert McDonald, said kangaroos continue to pose a serious hazard on country roads.

“Kangaroos are often looking for food at sunrise and sunset and it’s during this time that an increased number of collisions occur.

“We have seen a reduction in animal related collision claims this year, which may be due to many of the regions moving out of drought conditions, which means animals tend to be less active near busy roads or highways, hunting for food.

“We want to urge all drivers to be aware when at the wheel.

“How you react when you see a kangaroo on the road can potentially save lives.

“Drivers should also be mindful when dogs and cats are near the road with data showing that dogs are the second most likely animal to be involved in a collision.

The Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) said kangaroos are an iconic feature of the Australian countryside.

WIRES General Manager, Leanne Taylor, said certain areas have seen the numbers of particular species of kangaroos dwindle with traffic accidents significantly contributing to the decline.

“If you hit a kangaroo and it is critically injured, please call WIRES or your local wildlife group or call the police,” Ms Taylor said.

NRMA Insurance offers some advice for NSW drivers: If you see a kangaroo on or near the road, you should try and brake, but not swerve to avoid a collision; reduce your speed inside sign posted wildlife areas; if you hit the animal and safety permits, you should try to help by moving it to the side of the road to prevent further crashes; don’t force the animal to eat or drink and contact a local veterinarian or a wildlife rescue centre such as WIRES.

Animal collision hotspots in the Central West area include: Dubbo with 101, Parkes with 42, Orange with 39, Forbes with 31 and Condobolin with 30.

Tackling speeding issues

Essential Energy crews from across the Parkes, Forbes, Lachlan, Orange and Cabonne local government areas are the first in the region to participate in a new road safety workshop tackling speed on the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways.

The workshops are one of the key strategies of the regional ‘Like the back of your hand’ project which was launched in Manildra in June.

Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils’ Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer, Melanie Suitor, says the workshops were designed to provide important information about the dangers of speeding.

“We are really pleased that Essential Energy is the first business in the region to sign up their employees for these free road safety workshops.

“Workshops will be conducted with Essential Energy employees at Orange, Canowindra, Molong, Parkes, Forbes, Condobolin, Peak Hill, Tottenham, Trundle and Lake Cargelligo depots.

“In the past five years there have been nearly 150 crashes on the road between Condobolin, Parkes and Orange. Six people have been killed and 60 have been injured. The majority of drivers who crashed were local residents or lived in a neighbouring town. All of the crashes had speed listed as a contributing factor.

“These interactive workshops outline the various issues associated with speeding which impact on all drivers who use the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways. The workshop runs for about 30 minutes and participants are encouraged to complete a quiz which enters them into the draw for a $50 fuel voucher and gives us feedback on what they learnt.

“A copy of all workshop materials will be provided to participating business for use in future staff training and staff inductions.

“We have sent invitations to the larger businesses in the local community to also take part in the workshops. If you haven’t received an invitation but would like to host a workshop at your business please contact me on 6861 2364,” Ms Suitor said.

Essential Energy’s regional general manager, Central Western, Chas MacPhail said Essential Energy is a strong supporter of the Like the back of your hand program and was happy for the regions depot crews to participate in the road safety workshops.

“Essential Energy covers 95% of New South Wales and has over 4000 employees which results in quite a large fleet that last year alone travelled approximately 7 million kilometers, some of that on the Henry Parkes and Escort ways.

“Essential Energy’s number one priority is safety – safety of the public, our employees and the network – so involving our employees in these workshops enhances our already very strong safety culture,” Mr McPhail said.

Other project strategies include; the use of courtesy speed monitor trailers, radio advertising, a radio competition, the distribution of brochures/posters to doctor’s surgeries, roadside banners and regular media coverage.

The Like the back of your hand project is a collaboration between five regional councils along or bordering the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways, including Orange City Council, Cabonne Shire Council, Parkes Shire Council, Forbes Shire Council and Lachlan Shire Council.

Roundabout confusion in Condobolin

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

Last week’s vehicle collision at a Condobolin roundabout has highlighted a disturbing trend amongst Lachlan Shire motorists.

Many of us don’t know how to navigate roundabouts correctly.

Melanie Suitor, Road Safety & Injury Prevention Officer for Forbes, Parkes and Lachlan Shires, said many people in the region are unclear about how to drive through roundabouts.

“In particular, [people are confused about] how we should indicate and who has right of way,” she said.

Tarmia Healey, who works at Shell Service Station in Condobolin, said she often saw people drive through the service station to avoid the roundabout altogether.

“They come flying through [the car park] just so they don’t have to use the roundabout,” she said.

Kellie Mooney, who also works at Shell Condobolin, said she found it extremely dangerous when driving through roundabouts in town.

“Nobody seems to know the rules,” she said.

“I admit I’m probably one of the worst offenders though.

“They seem to nearly cause accidents everyday; kids also play on it and use it like a skatepark.”

Melanie Suitor said the confusion was understandable considering roundabout rules had changed over the past decade.

“Remember [when approaching] a roundabout: slow down, give way and indicate,” she said.

“Approach a roundabout with care.

“Slow down and be ready to give way to traffic already on the roundabout if there is any risk of collision.

“Enter the roundabout only if there is a safe gap in the traffic and show courtesy to others that have been waiting longer.

“Don’t forget to indicate as you are exiting the roundabout.

“Be aware of other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists when using a roundabout and remember the road is there to share.”

 

Bells Line Expressway campaign shifts up a gear

By Dominic Geiger

The Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, has recently added his support to the campaign to construct an expressway on the Bells Line of Road between Lithgow and Sydney.

The road, which was listed as NSW’s most dangerous road earlier this year, is one of the most popular routes for people travelling from the Lachlan Shire to Sydney.

Des said the construction must start by 2015 if Government is to adequately manage future economic and population growth in Sydney and in the Central Western region.

“There is renewed urgency to start construction of the Bells Line Expressway by 2015 to accommodate future population, agriculture and transport trends,” Des said.

“The Bells Group and the Western Research Institute have compiled new and updated data that clearly shows why the Expressway must commence by 2015 and the benefits it will bring to local communities such as Condobolin and the whole of Lachlan Shire.”

Despite this, the project has drawn criticism from environmental groups in the region.

Keith Muir, Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, said the enormous amount of environmental feasibility studies, property acquisition, and construction work required for the proposed highway meant it would not be economically productive.

“It will [also] create a massive swath of destruction through the World Heritage Blue Mountains; it’s a ridiculous idea,” he said.

Bells Line Expressway chairperson, Ian Armstrong, dismissed these claims, saying that as costing had not yet been done on the studies, it was impossible to predict what they would eventually amount to.

“Anyone trying to talk about project costing can not have a base of knowledge to go off,” he said.

“Firstly, If Sydney’s population growth us is to expand as projected, Sydney will have to spill west over the mountains.

“Sydney can not go north, south or east; it must go west.

“Secondly, [Studies] have listed the Bells Line of Road as the route that will achieve this with the least amount of environmental impact.”

“Bells Line of Road is the most dangerous road in NSW by twelve percent, it is essential we have a safe route over the mountains.”

 

Long lost train ticket journeys home

John Brasnett receives his 1957 train ticket from Malcolm Parnaby.By Dominic Geiger

When John Brasnett (above left) boarded a train from Condobolin to Hawkesbury Agricultural College in the Blue Mountains way back in 1957, the last thing on his mind was his train ticket.

With the pressures and chaos of travel and the beginning of a new school year, it’s no surprise John’s ticket eventually became lost.

What is a surprise, however, is that the ticket managed to find its way back to its original owner, 54 years later.

Early last week, fellow Condobolin resident Malcolm Parnaby (above right) returned the ticket from February 5, 1957 (inset) to John.

“I remember that journey well, because I ended up arriving a day early so I could make the train connection,” John said.

“When I got there, the bloke at the school put me in a room with a dozen pairs of shoes and told me I had to clean every one because it was part of the initiation process for all new students.

“Unfortunately the initiation lasted a week and I got an extra day on top of everyone else since I’d arrived a day early.

“I can’t believe this ticket’s still around.”

Malcolm said he often bought little bits and pieces of memorabilia as a hobby.

“I bought it in Sydney from a fellow who sells old railway tickets,” he said.

“When I saw John’s name on it I thought, you beauty.”

Call for helipad at Condo Hospital

Lachlan Shire Councillors have recently renewed their investigations into the potential for a helipad to be constructed at Condobolin District Hospital.

Formerly located on the patch of land next to McDonnell and Cunningham Streets, the helipad was relocated to the Condobolin airport when construction on the Wiradjuri Study Centre began several years ago.

Health Services Manager at the Condobolin Hospital, Kevin Ryan, said a helipad located on hospital grounds would provide tremendous benefits for patients.

“Patients wouldn’t have to be double handled in the event they needed to be airlifted to another hospital,” he said.

“They wouldn’t need to be taken out to the airport in an ambulance before being [put in a helicopter].

“In situations involving spinal injuries, for example, being able to deliver patients straight from the hospital to a waiting helicopter would be an incredible advantage.”

Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, said although the aim was to be able to get patients directly from the hospital to a waiting helicopter, further studies still needed to be done regarding the possible location of the helipad.

“Aviation people will have to agree on a site that is safe, though the ideal is to get something as close as possible to the hospital,” he said.

“There may be a site on the northern side of the hospital that is suitable, but we will have to wait.”

The call for a helipad coincides with the NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, opting not to reconsider the need for a 24-hour Orange based rescue helicopter until late 2012.

A campaign involving numerous local shires including Centroc, has since begun, with councillors, health professionals and community groups condemning the decision.

A new road safety project launched

Kevin Smith (LSC), Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan (Orange City and Cabonne Shire), Cr. Ian Gosper (Cabonne), Jenny Short ( RTA), Karen Boyde (Orange CC), Maureen Horth (Orange CC), Melanie Suitor (Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils), Superintendent Bob Ryan (LAC - NSW Police) and Cr. George Pratt (Parkes SC).

Like the back of your hand…

There’s an old saying ‘I know this road like the back of my hand.’  For many of us who travel to Orange regularly – it’s true.  But that’s where the problems can begin; it’s easy to go over the speed limit, easy to get distracted & easy to make mistakes.
In the past five years there have been nearly 150 crashes on the road between Condobolin, Parkes and Orange.  Six people have been killed and 60 have been injured.  The majority of drivers who crashed were local residents or lived in a neighbouring town.
These statistics have prompted a new $20,000 road safety campaign, called ‘Like the back of your hand’, which targets local drivers on the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways, and will be launched in Manildra this week.
The project is a collaboration between five regional councils along or bordering the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways, including Orange City Council, Cabonne Shire Council, Parkes Shire Council, Forbes Shire Council and Lachlan Shire Council.
Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils’ Road Safety and Injury Prevention Officer Melanie Suitor said speed was identified as the major contributing factor in all of the crashes.
“We recently conducted speed surveys at five locations along the Henry Parkes and Escort Ways.  The results of the surveys showed that 79% of motorists were travelling faster than the posted 100km/h speed limit.
“This project aims to decrease travel speeds along the road from Condobolin to Orange and also increase awareness about the dangers and consequences of speeding,”
“Crash data identified two particular groups who travelled the road at different times of the day.”
“We identified people who travel during work hours as part of their job or daily commute and people accessing medical services in Orange as groups at risk.” she said.
“In order to target these road users we will be working with employers and medical practitioners.
“A radio campaign featuring local surgeon Dr Henry Hook will spearhead the campaign targeted at people accessing medical services in Orange.
“Medical appointment checklists and further information will be distributed through doctor’s surgeries, community health centres, dentists, hospitals and the like throughout the five council areas.”
There will also be a period of Police enforcement.
“There will be extra Police patrols along the road between Orange and Condobolin targeting speeding drivers.
“We are asking local drivers to please slow down and concentrate,” Ms Suitor said.
The project will run until the end of August and is an initiative of the Local Government Road Safety Program.

 

Watch out, animals about!

An RTA spokesperson has announced the launch of a radio safety campaign to help increase awareness among rural motorists about the dangers animals on the road can present.
“While most crashes involving animals are minor, in the past five years there were 967 crashes on western NSW roads involving an animal where someone was killed or injured, or a vehicle was so badly damaged it had to be towed,” an RTA spokesperson said.
“One in five crashes on rural roads involves an animal, and not just wild animals, straying stock like cattle and sheep, also present a risk to motorists.
“Crashes involving animals are on the rise because of the large amount of food available next to roads.
“Also, as winter approaches the days are becoming shorter, so there are more drivers on the road during the high risk times of dusk and dawn.
“This is when native animals are most active and when the safety campaign will air on local radio stations. The advertisements aim to alert motorist to the risks and remind them to take extra care.”
“Motorists should be on the lookout for animals on rural roads especially if there are animal warning signs displayed in the area.
“Reduce your speed – you’ll have more time to see and respond to an animal on the road if you are travelling slower. If a crash does occur, it will be less severe.
“Finally, remember that swerving may result in you losing control of your vehicle.
“If a motorist swerves the vehicle can veer into the path of another vehicle or run off the road.
“Injured native wildlife can be reported to Wires on 1800 641 188,” the spokesperson said.
Radio advertising will be heard until the end of June on various radio stations in the west of the state.

Colourful characters and their cars collect in Condobolin

Newcastle Variety Bash vehicles filled the Condobolin Public School oval last Monday morning.

By Dominic Geiger

An incredibly brightly coloured convoy of pre-1974 vehicles rolled in to Condobolin last Sunday night as part the 20th annual Newcastle Variety Charity Bash.
Cars, trucks and buses all sported various inventive designs ranging from stuffed Australian animals on bumper bars to a Scooby Doo inspired van.
The 100 plus drivers attended a Hangi dinner at the Royal Hotel on Sunday evening and then had breakfast at the Condobolin Public School on Monday morning where they put on a magic show for the students and gave donations of laptops and computer learning programs.
Public school principal, Deb Nay, said she thought the rally was fantastic.
“Both the cars and the characters are very colourful,” she said.
“The new computer program is called Boardmaker; it’s great for kids who find it difficult to write but also helps structure classroom learning in a visual way.”
Deb said one of the drivers, a music teacher named Steve Lavis, would also be helping to check the conditions of the school’s instruments.
“The school is trying to get a music program up and running so he’ll be checking the condition of the instruments for us,” she said.
Cavemen: Greg Paff, Tracey Stephens, Terry Patterson and Jamie Price.Organiser of the event, Victor Shields, said the Blue Reardon, owner of the Royal Hotel, had looked after the drivers extremely well.
“We’ve had a great feast tonight; we thought we’d try something different in the open air and have a Hangi,” he said.
“We had a great trip down from Newcastle; we stopped at a school in Gulgong and the kids came in on a Sunday for a circus.”
Driver Wayne Sexton aka ‘The Stig’ said he was having a ball of a time.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said.
“Yesterday was a big day because we did 600kms.
“Now we’re off to Ivanhoe for lunch and then on to Balranald tonight.”
Variety Children’s Charity raises money to help children who are suffering from health, educational or economical disadvantage.

Charity drive rumbles into town

By Dominic Geiger

The deep rumble of a convoy of cancer fighting cars and the haunting tunes of a Scottish pipe band marked the arrival of the Cruisin’ Along Care West Charity Drive in Condobolin last Friday night.
After arriving in town, the drivers made their way to the Condobolin Sports Club where a barbecue had been organised to celebrate the visit.
Co organiser and Mayor of Orange, John Davis, said the rally visited towns that had been supportive of the Care West Lodge project.
The Care West Lodge, which is adjacent to the new Orange Hospital, will provide support and accommodation for rural cancer patients and their carers.
“Condobolin has been very supportive with the project and has raised in excess of $50,000,” he said.
“The lodge will be finished in June so if someone has cancer, comes from a rural area and needs to be treated in Orange, there’ll be a facility available for them, their family and friends there.
“The fact is, it’s a great cause because one in every three Australians is affected by cancer.”
Dee Barnes, who made the journey from Orange as part of the drive, said she’d had a great time both as part of the convoy and at the Sports Club.
“We’ve been well looked after tonight,” she said.
“I’ve been to the Care West Lodge and I get involved because it’s great to support such a helpful initiative.”
The Condobolin RSL Pipe Band also put on a well received performance for the visitors.

Newcastle variety bash coming to town

Condobolin will once again see a massive influx of brightly coloured cars this weekend with the 20th anniversary of the Newcastle Variety Charity Bash set to roll into town on Sunday evening.
The participants will take part in a New Zealand style H?ngi dinner at the Royal Hotel and breakfast at Condobolin Public School before continuing on to various other towns between Balranald, Echuca and Gilgandra throughout the week.
Organiser of the event, Victor Shields said the bash required entrants to raise over $4000 per vehicle in support of Variety Children’s Charity prior to entering the event.
“All of that money then goes to buying different equipment to help children who are suffering from health, educational or economic disadvantages,” he said.
“We only buy equipment so we know our money goes where it’s supposed to go.”
Victor said all the participants would arrive in old style, brightly coloured cars though the exact designs were usually kept a secret until the day of the rally.
“People really use their imagination with how they paint their vehicles,” he said.
“We know for sure we have more than 50 pre-1974 Bash cars and teams will be dressed and ready to impress in Where’s Wally stripes, gaudy orange overalls, Hawaiian shirts, bikie leathers and cops uniforms, just to name a few.”

Cruisin’ in to Condobolin

By Dominic Geiger

The Cruisin’ Along Care West Charity Drive will make its first stop in Condobolin on Friday night May 6 to celebrate $50,000 being raised by people in Condobolin in support of cancer sufferers and their carers.
Approximately 30 cars will make their way from Orange to Condobolin with the majority of the vehicles expected to arrive in town between five and six pm.
The Condobolin Auto Sports Club will be putting on an all ages barbecue at the Sports Club to celebrate, which will be accompanied by local entertainment, raffles and a mystery auction with a very unique prize.
Organiser of the event, Terry Davis, said the drive, which is its third year, had so far raised over $100,000 in support of Care West.
“All the money raised goes to accommodation for cancer patients and their carers living in Central West and Western NSW,” he said.
“We’ll have old, unique and brand new cars coming through; there are no limitations on the kind of car.
“There’ll be a few that blow a fair bit of smoke out the back as well as novelty lights and sirens so you’ll be sure to notice them.
“We’re expecting there’ll be about 70 to 75 people who will come in the 30 cars.”
A bus will be available for  drivers to take them from their accommodation in town to the Sports Club and back.
The rally will continue on to Albert, Narromine and Dubbo on the Saturday.

Presenting the 2011 Condo 750

With the annual Condo 750 fast approaching, The Argus took the time to speak to a participant in each of the three racing categories about how they were preparing for the event.

Auto: Warren Ridge

“I’ve rebuilt the old Pajero that we managed to roll at the 750 last year; there was quite extensive damage done to the roof and the right hand side but she’s been fixed now.
“My trade was panel beating so it definitely helps when you pursue motorsport as a hobby.
“The car’s got a bit of a history to it; it’d done two Dakar Rallies before I bought it and I had to change it from left to right hand drive.
“I’m not nervous at all about this year’s 750; I’ve been in motorsport for over 40 years and I’ve had a number of accidents.
“I can’t remember how many cars I’ve managed to destroy over the years, so I hope I don’t destroy anything this time.
“I’ve replaced the suspension that let us down last year so I should be right.
“For me it’s such a great sport; the absolute highlight of my life was doing the Panama to Alaska Rally.”

Quad: Nathan Wicks

“It’ll be the first time I’ve raced a four-wheeler so I’m pretty nervous.
“I’ve just been doing heaps of riding, practising in the scrub and training on the terrain I know I’ll be up against.
“There are a lot of safety and navigation precautions involved in the 750; I’ve never had to read a map on my bike before.
“I’ll be riding with a few mates so I’ll just go out to have a good time and I’ll be happy to finish it I think.
“I honestly don’t know what to expect.

Moto: Don Lark

“The 750’s pretty hard, because it’s a navigation event.
“You’ve got to be constantly checking your map to make sure you don’t get lost.
“It’s a bit different this year because there will be a prologue on the Friday which will determine who starts where on Saturday.
“The prologue is a 12 kilometre race and it means quads and bikes could be starting in front of each other.
“I’m hoping to better my previous results this year; I came 15th in 2009 and 13th last year.
“I’m just going to ride to the conditions, keep an eye on the track and an eye on the map.
“Wildlife sometimes presents a problem on the track; you’re going extremely fast and even logs and holes become an issue.
“I’ve come off the bike a couple times during previous 750s so I’ve learnt it’s important to just ride to your ability.”

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