2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial

It had been a decade since the last Round Australia Trial, the 1998 Playstation Rally. Rally icon, Bob Watson, was certainly hankering to run such an event but a full Round Australia was a big ask, and so was born the concept of a partial Round Australia that would start in Alice Springs and finish on the Gold Coast. The 7000 km 12 day event would traverse the NT, Queensland, SA and NSW, taking anything but a direct route from start to finish. Tom Snooks acted as General Manager and Clerk of Course. The event ran from September 8 – 20.

The event was restricted to pre 1986 Historic and Production Rally Cars, with later cars only accepted at the discretion of the organisers. It attracted 68 entries and of the 66 starters, 51 finished and 27 did all competitive sections. David and Kate Officer dominated the event from the start in their 1970 Mitsubishi Galant, only relinquishing the lead briefly to second place Graham Alexander and David Stewart in a 1975 Datsun 260Z. The podium was completed by Mike Batten and Steuart Snooks in a 1971 Datsun 1600.

The CAMS requirements for special stage events had also tightened considerably over the years with special stages using elapsed time scoring, full legal road closures, full competitor tracking, and extensive safety provisions including crew apparel and medical interventions on all stages. This was simply too demanding on an event of this magnitude spread across vast distances predominantly in “the outback”. So it was decided to conduct the event as a Road Rally with target times. Although many sections were “cleansheeted” by some of the fastest crews, the overall results would not have been different if it had been conducted as a special stage event.

A full report by Tom Snook is available here.

David and Kate Officer and their crew at the finish of the 2008 Red Centre to Gold Coast Trial

Results and entry list


The event was conducted over 11 “Legs” with stopovers in Mount Isa, Cairns, Townsville, Longreach, Birdsville, Bourke and Goondiwindi. There were 37 competitive sections totalling 1,122 km but two sections were cancelled due to wet weather.

Itinerary and Stage Plots

Road Book Leg 1 (Alice Springs to Alice Springs)

Road Book Leg 2 (Alice Springs to Mt Isa)

Road Book Leg 3A (Mt Isa to Normanton)

Road Book Leg 3B (Normanton to Cairns)

Road Book Leg 4 (Cairns to Townsville)

Road Book Leg 5 (Townsville to Longreach)

Road Book Leg 6 (Longreach to Birdsville)

Road Book Leg 7A (Birdsville to Tibooburra)

Road Book Leg 7B (Tibooburra to Bourke)

Road Book Leg 8 (Bourke to Goondiwindi)

Road Book Leg 9 (Goondiwindi to Gold Coast)

Other event documents

not available yet