You’ll have a need for speed after sitting front row at Coates Hire Rally Australia.

Motorsports have never been my thing.

When it comes to cars I’m usually more fussed about the size of the cup holder or its ability to get me from A to B. I’ve had unreliable cars in the past so I can appreciate the knowledge that goes into investing in a good vehicle. I know what it’s like to be inappropriately dependent on the RACQ and when the roadside assistance man is screening your calls it’s time to reassess your life goals.

However, after I was invited to visit the picturesque Coffs Coast and dip my toe into the foreign world of motorsports my entire outlook changed.

Ahead of the Coates Hire Rally Australia Australasian leg of The FIA World Rally Championship, taking place from 11 September to 14 September, I was invited to take a spin a along part of the course with one of the drivers to see what it was all about.


Laura about to take off in the rally car

That’s how I found myself on a dirt road in the middle of the picturesque Bucca State Forest strapped into a 1968 Datsun 1600 with a crash helmet firmly fixed to my head. My driver, Wayne Hoy, is a veteran of the rally circuit so I felt relatively safe placing my life in his hands. He gave me a reassuring smile as we slammed forward at 130 km/h down a track so tiny I’d be too afraid to navigate a tractor down it.

At times we were airborne and in those moments I tried not to worry about the fact that I’d been too tall for the seat belt and it needed to be changed. But as we spun around corners, leaving a trail of dust in our wake, I decided it didn’t matter. I was holding on so tightly that Godzilla himself could not have pried my hands free.

Quite the crowd had gathered to watch our little joy ride. Rally officials and drivers milled about while two lovely firetrucks and crews had gathered at each end of the track on the off chance we had burst into flames.

It was the sight of so many community members, family members and general rally enthusiasts that made me realise motorsports are really all about the spectators. The cheering, the electric atmosphere, the smell of tyres skidding against the track and even the adrenaline rush you get from the standing on the sidelines and watching these cars speed buy was enough to convert me to a car enthusiast.

Here’s what you need to know about the Coates Hire Rally Australia event

It’s the perfect holiday location

The beautiful Coffs Coast in Northern New South Wales will play host to Coates Hire Rally Australia: the Australasian leg of the WRC. The Coates Hire Rally Australia is also a Round of the brilliant East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship. Coffs Harbour is located about four hours drive from Brisbane and if you can tear yourself away from the rally there’s plenty to see and do. From beautiful beaches, to scenic forrest lookouts, whale watching to helicoptor rides and even in-door sky-diving, you might want to extend your trip.

The best of the best will be there

The fastest rally drivers on the planet, including current Champion Sebastien Ogier, Formula 1 race winner Robert Kubica and Australia’s top international Chris Atkinson will be among 30 crews from 18 countries attending the FIA World Rally Championship round on the New South Wales Coffs Coast.The FIA World Rally Championship is one of the world’s most diverse, exciting and gruelling motorsports. It requires skill, courage, passion, endurance and the ability to adapt to changing conditions.

It’s a spectators sport

Spectator points have been setup at the event to ensure spectators are provided with prime viewing opportunities each day. With good road access and toilet facilities, these will be the largest-attended sites and provide lengthy and exciting viewing of the rally action.

There’s free fun to be had

The Coates Hire Rally Show is the event that kicks starts Rally Australia into action. Held in the Coffs Harbour City Centre plaza this free to community event will show case Coffs Coast and Australian to the World. This is your chance to get up close and personal with the stars and the cars of the World Rally Championship including Australia’s own Chris Atkinson.Starting from 1pm the 2014 Coates Hire Rally Show will feature a full afternoon and evening of entertainment and activities.

You can tempt your taste-buds

There’s plenty of places to dine and drink on the Coffs Coast. The Idle In Cafe in Nana Glen is known for supplying easy and delicious lunches and supplies to the rally car teams and spectators. You might have to wait in line though, Russell Crowe is said to be a local.

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