The newest event on the Bosch Australian Rally Championship calendar, Rally Calder presented by East Coast Bullbars, will pay tribute to past champions by naming the various special stages on the stadium-based event after some of the greats of the sport.
The announcement was made today by the CEO of the Bosch ARC, Scott Pedder in the lead up to Rally Calder presented by ECB which is now less than 60 days away.
"We felt it appropriate to recognise the enormous heritage the sport has in its past champions and to highlight the achievements of our great drivers," said Pedder.
"Rallying has perhaps not been as diligent in recognising our great champions of the past but it is time to change that and to pay tribute to the talents and achievements of our best drivers," he said.
"We will recognise ten of our champions who are multiple winners of the ARC by naming stages after them so that all who attend Rally Calder presented by ECB will know a little of the heritage of the sport," he added.
The BOSCH ARC section of Rally Calder will see seven different stages used in various lengths and directions totalling 27 stages - with five mixed surface stages, a full tarmac stage and a full gravel stage.
The CAMS Australian Tarmac Rally Championship section sees three stages used.
"Unfortunately some great drivers and icons of the sport such as, Harry Firth, Bob Watson, Ed Ordynski and George Fury, who have only won single championships, have missed out but we hope to welcome them to Calder over the weekend, " said Scott Pedder.
1981 and '82 Australian Rally Champion Geoff Portman has had a stage named after him as have 1991 and '92 champ Rob Herridge and 1985 and '86 winner Barry Lowe while five times champ Ross Dunkerton has also been recognised, with both a Dunkerton Short and Dunkerton Long Stage.
Three times ARC champ from the 1970s Colin Bond, who many believe was the most versatile and widely talented rally drivers, has been recognised with a stage as has four times champ Neal Bates who like Bond has enjoyed success in racing as well as rallying. Bates also holds the record for the longest gap between titles, winning his third title in 1995 and his fourth in 2008.
Greg Carr, a driver many believed could have made it in the World Championship if he had moved overseas in the late 1970s has been recognised for his three championship wins in 1978, '87 and '89.
Another three times champion, Cody Crocker who took the title in 2003, '04 and '05 was another ARC hero who had to be recognised
Simon Evans, hailed as one of the most exciting drivers ever to win the ARC, has also been honoured with a stage named for his four title wins in 2006, '07, '09 and '10.
"We hope that many of our honoured living champions will be at Rally Calder and that we can officially recognise them there and we would like to make them a special part of the sport," said Scott Pedder.
"Of course the man who won more ARC titles than anyone else, the late great Possum Bourne, who dominated the title winning seven championships in a row from 1996 to 2002 was an obvious inclusion and will be recognised at Calder with a major stage named after him.
"Several of our living champions will be competing on the stages named after them including Ross Dunkerton, Geoff Portman and hopefully Neal Bates who will be campaigning classic rally cars while we are hoping Simon Evans may make a more permanent comeback to the outright Championship at Calder," said Scott Pedder.
"Highlighting the diversity of motor sport we have at Rally Calder, Cody Crocker is likely to compete in a Polaris RZR Side by Side vehicle only minutes after the first running of the Crocker ARC stage on Friday night," Scott added.
The entire event will be run within the boundaries of the Calder Park complex north west of Melbourne allowing spectators to catch all the action within a short walk of the car park.
The Bosch ARC competitors will cover more than 100km of competitive stages over the three days of competition embracing both gravel and tarmac stages with spectacular jumps and a range of challenging conditions including the formidable high banked Thunderdome oval.
The Bosch ARC section of Rally Calder presented by East Coast Bullbars will see seven different stages used in varying lengths and directions totally 27 stages - five mixed surface stages, a full tarmac stage and a full gravel stage.
The CAMS Australian Tarmac Rally Championship section will see three of the tarmac stages used.
"This all culminates in a bonus section for the main outright categories of both championships on Sunday afternoon using an extended Possum and Bates stage," Scott added.
A number of further initiatives and attractions are set to be announced in coming weeks.