Published: Monday, 18 July 2016 04:27
The Sea Lake Mallee Rally is the oldest currently running off road event in Australia. The track, 7 km north of Sea Lake, runs around Lake Tyrrell (the second largest salt lake in Victoria) and is 85 km long. The competitors endeavour to complete four laps of this grueling track (five for National status competitors).
The challenge lies in the way in which the surface of the track varies, from high-speed grass to sand, salt and clay, not to mention the numerous gates and trees that the competitors must navigate to finish.
The Mallee Rally is held annually during the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June. It starts with the Friday Night Spectacular at the Sea Lake Recreation Reserve consisting of live band, jumping castle, merry-go-round, a static display of off-road vehicles and fireworks.
On Saturday the event moves out to the track (travel north on the Robinvale Road), for the prologue (time trials) and a 'dash for cash'.
Sunday is race day – four or five laps of grueling racing around the 85 km track!
A plinth stands at the eastern side of the Recreation Reserve in Sea Lake, which honours past directors and winners. (And contains extra space for the next 40 years!!)
The event is run by the Sea Lake Off Road Club Inc.
Sea Lake is the home of the Mallee Rally, each Queen's Birthday long weekend.
The Sea Lake Off Road Club took over the organising and promotion of the Sea Lake Mallee Rally in 1987 and, through a down-to-earth approach, hard work and dedication, has seen this unique event move successfully to what it is today.
The committee is comprised of primarily local off road competitors and their families. With their expertise and understanding of the needs of the participants, they have been able to host this exciting rally on an annual basis, drawing competitors from all over Australia. The committee not only organises this event, but many of its members also compete.
This committee organises the event from scratch, not only the required paperwork for the competitors but toilets, chairs, marquees, hundreds of volunteers, bunting, radios, radio operators, starters, commentators, timekeepers and CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) officials. In addition to all this, the local businesses and landowners band together with their tractors, graders, fire trucks, steel posts and of course their invaluable time to mark and maintain the track.
Not only does the Sea Lake Off Road Club organise the Sea Lake Mallee Rally but members band together, in a strong partnership with Parks Victoria, to ensure that the shores of Lake Tyrrell are preserved. Every second year a scenic drive is conducted around the Lake with a 22 seater bus filled to capacity and approximately thirty 4WD vehicles tagging along behind. This Scenic Drive aims to ensure that the shores of Lake Tyrrell are only used with the knowledge and cooperation of Parks Victoria, whilst providing an insight into this fantastic natural environment.