Alpine Rally on course of historic century

Wednesday 12 August, 2020
Organisers for the Alpine Rally of East Gippsland have confirmed a date for the next year centenary event with the biannual rally to take place in December 2021.
As one of the oldest surviving motorsport events around the world, the Victorian based rally has a rich history dating back to the inaugural running in 1921 where it was known as the Alpine 1000 mile Trial and featured 28 starters.
Since its first event all those years ago, the Alpine Rally has substantially grown and now attracts fields of more than 100 cars from around the country, with all participants sharing the common goal of finishing the challenging event.
When the Alpine Rally of East Gippsland runs next year, it will mark 100 years since it first took place in Australia, and while it has seen multiple changes over the course of its journey, as well as a change of organisers, it still stays true to its earlier foundations.

Following on from the World War 2 hiatus, the event’s focus became all about speed and navigation, before competing crews were covering the event’s 1000km in a single weekend. In the 1970s, it changed again, this time to more of a modern format with driver speed and car reliability becoming the key factors. 

Having also spent various periods as a round of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship, the Alpine Rally, which is now run by the Historic Rally Association, has confirmed its place as a major event on the Victorian motorsport calendar, with many rally stars often in attendance

An action shot from the 1979 Alpine Rally. Photo: Geoff Rainbow.

Event Director and Clerk of Course Owen Polanski believes the event’s prestige and the passion from the people behind the scenes has helped it reach the monumental milestone.

“It’s going to be a very special moment when the event runs next year because 100 years of something is no small feat. Maybe we might even get a letter from the Queen,” Polanski joked.
“A lot of credit needs to go out to the people who did their part to continue running this event over the years, including the Historic Rally Association who took over the reins when the Light Car Club of Australia folded in 1990s.
“There is something special about this event. When you become part of it, it comes as no surprise as to why it’s been so popular for so long and why so many people strive to compete.
“The Alpine Rally of East Gippsland is in very prestigious company when it comes to age too, with only the French Grand Prix, the Monte Carlo Rally, Pikes Peak Hillclimb and the Indianapolis 500 being older, which are obviously significant events.

“We’re really looking forward to next year’s event and we’re sure there will be lots of tough competition as there would be a lot of people there keen to win the big milestone event.

In celebration of the centenarian event, Polanski and the rest of the Historic Rally Association are putting together a commemorative book which will be given to all competitors and made available to the general public for sale.
The club is also on the lookout for people to assist with the book and contribute to the pool of memorabilia available, as well as create a museum honouring the event.
“I am currently collecting memorabilia and photos from as many of the events as we can find to create a digital archive,” Polanski added.
“We would like to appeal to the broader motorsport community to donate anything they might have to be put towards either the book or the special Enthusiast Memorabilia' on our website.
“We would love if anyone that may have any memorabilia of any kind could dig it out and send it to us for display to keep this rich history alive.”
The Alpine Rally of East Gippsland will take place on 2 – 5 December 2021.
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