AFTER travelling halfway around the globe to experience the World Rally Championships, Bruce McDougall and Kellie Pearce are ecstatic that in three months time the world’s leading drivers will pass their Nana Glen property.

After braving the blistering cold Nordic winter in Sweden in February, the couple say they’ll happily watch Rally Australia on the dirt and gravel tracks in the spring sunshine of the Coffs Coast.

>> Check out the Rally Australia route maps

“As long time rally fans this will be massive to have the WRC on our back door step,” Bruce said.

“It was amazing the sheer speed the drivers reached on snow and ice, but the minus 25 degree mornings were sheer agony.

Bruce combined his love of rally and photography at the event, but on one corner got a little too close to the action.

Framing Norwegian Citroen driver Petter “Hollywood” Solberg through his lens, he was left with a memorable story to tell.

“I was standing on a corner getting ready to line up the shot and saw Petter’s car flying towards me. As the car rounded the corner the back wheels began to drift and I was covered by snow and ice.

“It bowled me over, Kellie took care of the camera and a few Swede guys helped me up.

“I got a cut over my nose to show for it, I got little too close, but it was amazing, the important thing was I got the shot.

Rally Sweden was based in Karlstad with the rally proper staged an hour north in a town call Hagfors.

“It was incredible up to 100,000 rally fans in insanely cold conditions standing on the side of a hill.

“The highlight of the tour was meeting Malcolm Wilson, the father of British rally driver Matthew Wilson at a VIP event.

“He’s like the Bruce McLaren or Enzo Ferrari of rally, an absolute legend in the sport.”

Volunteering at Rally Australia, Bruce and Kellie say the momentum among local rally fans is building fast.

“The first time I saw the world rally I was just floored. I couldn’t believe how fast they were driving, now after all these years and all the rallies I’ve seen I can’t wait to watch the world’s best in action on our forest tracks,” Bruce said.

“The best thing is that Rally Australia is going to take the rally from the bush and bring it into town – the super special stages at the Jetty are going to be amazing. I really can’t wait.”

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