Alpine Road Report – four weeks out

We’ve just completed a four-day journey around the #AlpineRally100 route, putting up signs and visiting residents. We’ve had four great days…

The weather has been sunny and warm and the route has transformed from what we saw during the recent course check. We’re feeling much more confident of the event running as planned.

With the Alpine’s recent history of issues with wet weather, the roads we selected with our partners at Forest Fire Management and East Gippsland Shire Council were the most robust and most able to stand up to the Alpine, especially in changing conditions.

We found that road conditions on the route are currently generally great – a real testament to FFM and EGSC roading teams.

But, after 18 months of La Nina rainfall and the October storms and floods, there are obvious impacts on the route that competing crews will need to take into account:

  • Gutters are ALL deeper and more serious.
  • Potholes are sharper and deeper.
  • Rocky patches are sharper.
  • Fords are wet, deeper and sharper.
  • Parts of some road surfaces have “scoured” as water has run down the driving line – wheel tracks can be “bony”.
  • Verges are very soft and standing water is deep.
  • Highways and tarmac roads have water damage, including potholes.

While we’ll adding information on hazards to the roadbook, we won’t be able to add everything. You’ll need to watch road conditions carefully and take action.

You’ll need to be precise, watchful and keep it on the road – the good bit of the road between the gutters. If you’re used to taking big cuts it’s time for you to develop a new approach!

Service Parks

We are concerned about the condition of Service Parks – some are very soft and have many areas that we can’t use.

Service Crews will need to be flexible – especially those driving trucks. If Service Parks still have unusable areas in four weeks’ time we will need to make alterative arrangements. Changes will be issued as updates to competing crews.

Tip to Service Crews in big trucks: pack a ute and leave the truck in Lakes Entrance.

98 Octane pump fuel on day 3

Early notice that 98 Octane fuel is NOT available in Omeo or any towns on the Great Alpine Road north of Bruthen. If you need 98 on Day Three you need to carry it. More information will be issued closer to the event.

Firing up the crystal ball

Weather has certainly shown its ability to create damage and disruption in recent weeks. Serious weather in East Gippsland between now and the event could certainly cause problems, maybe even a cancellation.

We have agreed with our partners at Forest Fire Management and East Gippsland Shire Council that we’ll make a go/no go decision in mid November. This will be based on “known knowns” – current conditions in East Gippsland and BoM forecasts.

The current weather forecasts and the fabulous road conditions we’ve seen this week are really positive. We’re optimistic that the Alpine will go ahead, mostly as planned.

We’ll keep you posted…

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