*This guest blog has been written by Kylie King, with imagery from Suz Gallus. You can see her work at https://www.facebook.com/suzgallusphotography/
Watch out! The ATRC Touring Bug is contagious
Geoff Thorp has been a ‘car nut’ for as long as he can remember. He has fond memories of pulling his bike apart as a child, and following his dad around, who was into the Holden Commodore scene for a number of years.
His passion for cars went from being a spectator, to regularly participating in Tour events, as part of the Australian Tarmac Rally Championship.
“I heard about the event and went along as a spectator a number of years ago and loved what I saw,” Geoff said.
“It was a great mix of cars, and a great level of camaraderie and openness that was shown. At that time I was looking at it as a potential competitor and what WD Motorsport and Mountain Motorsport and the guys had organised, really looked like something that would be fun to be a part of.”
Four years later and Geoff admits he’s hooked, and it hasn’t cost him a lot to participate. He has a blast in his 1989 Peugeot 405 Mi16.
“The event, especially the Tour group is most definitely suitable for your daily drive,” Geoff said.
“You don’t need the most powerful car in the world. It’s not about having the fastest or newest or most expensive car. It’s understanding your own vehicle and its limits – and your own limits as well.
“We have lots of fun. The competitors might think of us (Tour group) as the poor cousin, but we think it’s great to be part of the competition group, following them through the stages and mingling with them during the breaks.”
Geoff lives in the Yarra Valley in Melbourne and is acutely aware of the amazing roads on his doorstep, as well as further afield that is part of the appeal of competing in the ATRC Tour.
“We’re lucky to live around some of the best roads in Victoria,” Geoff said.
“The areas where we go to, it’s beautiful mountain country side, unique Australian country roads and generally located near some pretty spectacular locations.
“We’re lucky to have those roads closed off, so we can enjoy them in a private, safe setting.”
Although Geoff has competed in several Tours, the next event – the Mt Baw Baw Sprint will be new to him.
“I did a recce up there a few weeks ago and I’m really excited to get on that road and see what it’s like.
“I couldn’t get over the hill climb. It seems like 40 kilometres of this monstrous hill climb, massive corners and apexes you can’t see through, so I think it’s going to be a challenge.”
DAD note: We’ve had the pleasure of meeting Geoff over the past two WD Tour tarmac rally experiences. With an inviting smile and a love of quirky French machinery, we bonded from the start!