Big local field for Make Smoking History Forest Rally

Forty-six local gravel rally competitors are ready to race the clock at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally on Sunday 13th September 2020 taking place near Harvey and Collie, south-west of Perth.
 
The Forest Rally has been run since 1983 and part of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) national competition since 1985, with this year being an exception due to restrictions surrounding COVID-19.
 
Clerk of Course Ross Tapper said that Western Australia is the only state that has run a round of the ARC continuously since 1974 (different rallies to the Forest Rally).
 
“Only a pandemic has stopped us from having a national rally,” Tapper said.
 
“The pandemic means we’ve had to make other changes that include running the Make Smoking History Forest Rally and the Experts Cup at the same time as part of the Motorsport Australia WA State Championship.
 
“It hasn’t stopped local competitors though, we have a strong field who are excited to be driving along some of the former World Rally Championship stages that were used when Rally Australia was held in WA, the last time it was held here was in 2006.”
 
Leading the State Championship after the first round, Bakers Hill, is John O’Dowd and co-driver Toni Feaver in their WRC2 spec Truck Wholesale WA Skoda Fabia R5. In the past, the power of the R5 has seen O’Dowd significantly faster than his rivals, but this time he’s got competition.
 
“At Bakers Hill, Craig Rando and Ben Searcy were quick and closing the gap, but throw in Nic Box, Mike Young and a big field and I reckon there’ll be lot of competition, which is the way I like it, and it should make for a good rally,” O’Dowd said.
 
“My strategy is just to be on it from the start, write a good set of notes and commit to them, and hopefully the speed will come.
 
“I’m looking forward to it, the roads are good, and I like the Wellington Dam stages.”
 
Perth-based New Zealander Mike Young and co-driver Scott Beckwith will be ones to watch in their Maximum Motorsport Subaru WRX STI.
 
Young by name and young in age at just 27, Mike Young is a nine-year veteran in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, driving for Japanese team, Cusco Racing. A regular on the podium, Young has finished runner-up in the APRC four times and was crowned Asia Cup Champion last year and also in 2013.
 
“I’m feeling fairly confident, although I haven’t rallied since October last year, and I don’t know these roads, but the good thing is that some of the stages are new, which should help,” Young said.
 
“I’ve not tested this car, but I’ve driven a very similar car in the Asia Pacific, it’ll be like riding a bike.
 
“I’m itching to get back out there after a long break and I’m sick of watching everyone else have fun, so I had to get out there and do it myself. I can’t wait,” he said.
 
Returning to rallying are former State Champions Doug Tostevin and co-driver Tammy Adams in their 1992 Subaru Liberty RS, the duo likely to shake up the front end of the field.
 
In the 2WD, competition is expected to be fierce between Nic Box and co-driver in Daymon Nicoli in their Alistar Garage Nissan Silvia S13, Glenn Alcorn and Jonathan Charlesson in their BMG Autos Ford Escort MK2, husband and wife Razvan and Ioana Vlad in their MAXYRally Ford Fiesta, Mike Joss and Megan Logue in their Mike Joss Racing Nissan Silvia S15, and Mick Steele and Katie Oxley in their NATRAD Malaga Nissan Silvia S13.
 
Carrying a famous rallying name, sixteen-year-old rookie Max McRae will be with experienced co-driver Bill Hayes in their Dirtfish Ford Fiesta ST150, hoping to finish his first State Championship rally.
 
In the Clubman Cup, Alex and Lisa White in their Information Proficiency Nissan Silvia S13 are favourites however Rod Fowler and co-driver Keith Mayes in their Sussan Fowler Peugeot 206 GTI and Able Tuckett and Glenn Macneal, WA’s most decorated co-driver having competed in over 100 WRC rallies, are likely to be making a charge for the top step in their Humble Bee Finance Hyundai Lantra.
 
Competitors will tackle 140 kilometres of flat out competition on eight closed road Special Stages including a mammoth 31-kilometre stage around Wellington Dam, travelling a total distance of almost 300 kilometres.
 
The Make Smoking History Forest Rally is free for spectators and there are dedicated spectator points for the best vantage points to watch the rally action. Get a close look at rally cars in the Service Park based in the centre of Collie and see how crews miraculously fix huge mechanical problems in record time.
 
For more information including spectator points and maps, please visit https://forestrally.com.au/

Ex-WRC stages ready for Make Smoking History Forest Rally

The Make Smoking History Forest Rally has competitors raring to go, starting on one of the old Rally Australia stages near Harvey before moving towards Collie on Sunday 13th September 2020.
 
Usually a round of the Australian Rally Championship national competition, changes have had to be made due to COVID, which sees the Make Smoking History Forest Rally and the Experts Cup held concurrently as part of the Motorsport Australia WA State Championship.
 
Rally Australia was a round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) and last held in Perth in 2006, attracting the world’s best drivers who competed on some of the best rally roads in the State.
 
Clerk of Course Ross Tapper said that although this year’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally has a compacted format, it’s a course that has drivers excited.
 
“Arguably, the stages around Wellington Dam and the old Rally Australia stages of Harvey Weir, Brunswick and Wellington are some of the best rally stages in WA, if not Australia,” Mr Tapper said.
 
“The famous ball-bearing gravel adds an extra level of complexity for drivers, it’s like trying to control a car driving at speed on thousands of marbles.”
 
Competitors will race the clock along 140 kilometres of flat out competition on eight closed road Special Stages including a mammoth 31-kilometre stage around Wellington Dam and travel a total distance of almost 300 kilometres.
 
A rally differs from other forms of motorsport in that the cars do not compete on a ‘circuit’ instead they compete on closed road sections that they have only driven over twice in order to make their ‘pace notes’, a short-hand system of symbols that enables the co-driver to describe to the driver what lies ahead, hides around the next corner or over a blind crest.
 
During a rally, drivers may only see a particular corner four times and given that the gravel conditions will be different each time with the traversing of a field of competitors, it can be argued that rally drivers are the most skilled of all motorsport competitors.
 
The Make Smoking History Forest Rally is free for spectators and there are dedicated spectator points for the best vantage points to watch the rally action. Get a close look at rally cars in the Service Park based in the centre of Collie and see how crews miraculously fix huge mechanical problems in record time.
 
For more information including spectator points and maps, please visit https://forestrally.com.au/

Harry Bates victorious as Toyota claim 1-2 at Make Smoking History Forest Rally


Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy. Image credit Tim Allott

Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy have won the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Western Australia today.

11 years since his father, Neal Bates, stood on the Forest Rally podium the result was made even sweeter with the team locking out the top two steps of the podium at the event with Lewis Bates/Anthony McLoughlin in second.

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Harry Bates wins Heat One of Make Smoking History Forest Rally

Harry Bates and John McCarthey photo credit: CMR Photographic

Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy have taken Heat One of the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Nannup, WA today.

Going into the day in second position by the narrowest of margins (0.1 seconds) Bates was quick out of the blocks on the opening forest stages building a strong lead by the first morning service which he held for the remainder of the day.

“It feels great to start the rally – and the new season – with a win. I don’t come here (to WA) and expect to win from car one on the road but we were probably able to capitalise on a couple of other people’s issues this morning and do that so it feels perfect,” Harry Bates said.

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Harry Bates leads at halfway point of Heat One at Make Smoking History Forest Rally

Photo credit: Tim Allott

Harry Bates is leading the field at the halfway point of Heat One at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Nannup, Western Australia today.

After six stages Bates and his co-driver John McCarthy hold a 19.6 second lead over nearest rivals, Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Lewis Bates and his navigator Anthony McLoughlin, who clawed back some time over the final stage before the lunch time service break.

Harry Bates, behind the wheel of his brand new Toyota Yaris AP4, has come into the event as favourite but says he always expected Lewis to be close.

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Teenage cancer sufferer, Troy Dowel, to return to competitive motorsport this weekend

An inspirational turn of events has seen a change in the Make Smoking History Forest Rally entry list with exciting young competitor Troy Dowel, to replace his father – and 2011 Australian Rally Champion Justin Dowel – in the event this weekend.

Dowel, now 18, was diagnosed with Acute Leukaemia while in Ireland in 2018 ahead of the fourth round of the RX Academy in Finland. In November, he received encouraging news that his leukaemia was in remission and he set a goal to return to racing in the first half of this year.

A break in his chemotherapy treatment presented Dowel with an opportunity to make that dream a reality and just last week he completed 100km of testing in the Up & Go G4 Rally car in a bid to successfully prove his fitness for the Make Smoking History Forest Rally.

Considering he hadn’t driven since August last year, and in the meantime had undergone an intense chemotherapy treatment plan, it was vital that Dowel prove he was able to handle the intense effort that comes with driving under the tough conditions rallying presents.

On Tuesday Dowel received medical clearance from the Confederation of Australian Motorsport and he will now make the trek over to Western Australia to contest the rally against the best drivers in the country.

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Make Smoking History Forest Rally ready to excite as opening round of CAMS Australian Rally Championship

Photo: Harry Bates contests the 2018 Make Smoking History Forest Rally. Credit: CMR Photographic

A new look field and changes to the forest stages will create excitement for crews and spectators at the upcoming Make Smoking History Forest Rally to be held in Western Australia from 5 -7 April.

Exciting changes to the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) introduced over the off-season including; new formats for several events, an increased online presence and most importantly the return of some former ARC heavyweights to the series have set the scene for a huge year in the Championship which officially gets underway in WA at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally.

The recent bush fires which devastated parts of the state forest and pine plantations around Nannup caused last minute stage changes for organisers, with two planned new stages having to be abandoned and a new stage created.

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Brad Markovic and Toni Feaver dominate state class at Make Smoking History Forest Rally

The second round of the CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship has been run in the state’s South West this weekend with more than 30 crews contesting the Make Smoking History Forest Rally.

Maximum Motorsport’s Brad Markovic and Toni Feaver recorded a clean sweep of the event winning 13 stages and both Heats to claim a comfortable victory.
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FULL RESULTS: 2018 Make Smoking History Forest Rally

More than 50 crews from across Australia have this weekend contested the Make Smoking History Forest Rally.

The Make Smoking History Forest Rally was the second rounds of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship®, the CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship and the WA Clubman Masters and Clubman Cup.

The event, was held in Busselton and Nannup in the South West region of Western Australia.

View full results list

FULL Results List

Evans breaks Australian Rally Championship drought and slides into series lead

Eli Evans has broken his CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) drought winning the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Nannup, Western Australia today.

The win is the first for Evans since the Scouts Rally SA in 2015, the first for the Tankformers driver since pairing with a new co-driver Ben Searcy at the end of 2017 and provisionally puts Evans/Searcy into the ARC points lead after two rounds.
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