What happened to the 2018 Darling 200 Rally?

2018 Darling 200 Rally

Believe it or not, the 2018 Darling 200 rally was affected by fire. How can that be? The rally was due to run in November and we’re in September. In fact fire was identified as a problem in August by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). Formerly known as DPAW, the DBCA are conducting controlled burns around Jarrahdale in November.

Fire Fire Fire!

Given that the burns will be close to proposed stages, the risks to the rally were deemed too high. The DBCA could not grant access to the forests of Jarrahdale this year. As the Light Car Club was already planning a rally sprint in October, it seemed a smart idea to relocate the event.

Plan B

The rally organisers and club swung into action. The Darling 200 could run on the 13th of October in Chidlow. Problem solved. Approvals were granted from the WA Rally Advisory panel, CAMS State Council and the DBCA. All the pieces seemed to be falling into place.


Another hurdle

Behind the scenes another government department would have some influence. The forests of Chidlow fall inside the catchment area for Mundaring Weir. The area is also under the control of the Water Corporation who had a change of policy. This year they revoked the use of some areas. The changes affected two of the three stages used for the 2017 Safari Rally and therefore limited choice for the Darling.

Compact is the key

With time of the essence, it was decided to run a single 29km stage twice. The 2018 Darling 200 rally would be a compact event. This was seen as an advantage for competitors and organisers. Soon enough some calculations were completed to formulate a budget.

Balancing the books

To make it simple both State and Clubman Cup competitors would pay the same entry fee. It made sense given that the rally would not include recce and everyone would traverse the same number of kilometres. The entry fee was set at $500 and a minimum of 20 competitors were needed to cover costs.

The club took an unprecedented step and asked for competitors to pay a 20% deposit. The idea was to encourage participation and gauge support. The last thing anyone wanted was to go to all the effort of organising a rally and then have to cancel at the last minute.


By the time the Monday night deadline had arrived, the deposit count was disappointing. Just eight had put their money on the table. Considering that 23 2WD cars had entered the Experts Cup Rally, where were the others? Sure, a couple retired with mechanical issues and a couple cited health that still left plenty on the list.

Running the numbers

At first glance some may have balked at the thought of spending the dollars to compete on 58km of stages. On paper however it was actually quite favourable. An event close to Perth saved on accommodation. A compact running schedule meant start early, finish early and fuel consumption would be less. All in all, a much cheaper exercise than some further away events.

History is made

With less than 50% of the required numbers to break even, the 2018 Darling 200 rally was shelved. This is the first time an event has been cancelled in Western Australia due to a lack of entries. Another milestone, it was to be Wendy Walker’s last Darling 200 at the helm. From 2019 onwards Wendy will concentrate on Boddington Safari rally as the Clerk of Course.

2WD Championship

With the cancellation of the Darling 200, the entire season was wrapped up at the Experts Cup rally. Had there been a sixth round, the RallyWA score board could have looked very different. The combination of Alex and Lisa White took the 2WD state championship crown in their Nissan Silvia. Mike Joss/Megan Logue came second in their S15 Silvia after engine failure at the Forest rally in April.

Clubman Rally Series

In the Clubman Cup, Graeme and Cathy Miles won the year in their Mitsubishi Lancer. Steve Vass/Ashley Burton brought their Datsun 1600 to second place. Amongst the Clubman Masters Carl and Tracey Rattenbury were first in their Ford Escort. Kiel Douglas/Ross Burton took second place in their V8 Commodore.

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