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.

“Fourth event here in WA and finally a win so I’m obviously stoked with that, it was a clean weekend which is great and the new Yaris ran faultlessly it was really fast from the get go,” Harry Bates said.

“There is a perpetual trophy here so I get to be on the same trophy as dad which is very cool but he’s won here six times – more times than anyone else – so I’ve got a few more to go to catch him and we’ll aim to do that the next year and the year after and so on but it’s an awesome feeling to have won a rally that dad’s had so much success at in the past,” he continued.

“To take a one-two for Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia on our debut as a team was a fantastic result and full credit to the entire team for all the work they have put in to prepare both cars,” Harry Bates said.

Second outright is the highest ARC finish for Lewis Bates and the first time he has stood on a podium in the national series. The younger Bates steered his Toyota Yaris to four stage wins across the weekend, even leading the rally after the opening stages.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Lewis Bates/Anthony McLoughlin. Image credit CMR Photographic

“We didn’t really have many expectations coming into the weekend, we were coming in still learning the car and taking it stage by stage so we didn’t expect to be on the podium let alone have four stage wins so we are over the moon,” Lewis Bates said at the finish.

“It’s the first ARC round in the Yaris and the car was amazing all weekend it kept giving me confidence every stage to push harder. A big thank you to the team who have worked hard over the last six months, they deserve this result,” Lewis Bates continued.

Returning to the Make Smoking History Forest Rally for the first time since 2010 former Ford factory driver Western Victoria Crain Trucks Darren Windus, and co-driver Daniel Brick, was quickest of the rest, landing third spot on the podium following a massive effort during Heat Two on Sunday.

“Realistically we expected to be finishing the event around the fifth mark – which is where we finished Heat One – so we are absolutely stoked to be in this position and standing on a podium,” Windus said.

“This event is everything I remembered and more, the roads are fantastic to drive and just great fun. The sports growing and there are a few more cars here at this event and looking at more cars going forward I think as well which is great to see,” Windus continued.

Western Victoria Crane Trucks Darren Windus/Daniel Brick. Image credit Tim Allott

Maximum Motorsport’s Tom Wilde and Madeline Kirkhouse, came agonisingly close to a spot on the podium at their home event, but it wasn’t to be with a puncture on the second forest stage of the day and dramas with a turbo on the final stage loosing them valuable time. The pair ended the event tied on points with Windus/Brick and they finished fourth outright due to a slower overall time for the event.

Engine issues caused troubles for Subaru du Motorsport’s Molly Taylor/Malcom Read in Heat Two dropping them down the timesheets and into fifth outright for the weekend

The CAMS Zestino Tyres WA Rally Championship event was won by Truck Wholesale WA’s John O’Dowd/Toni Feaver with the pairing standing on the top step of the podium in their first outing behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia R5 rally car.

Truck Wholesale WA John O’Dowd/Toni Feaver. Image credit CMR Photographic

“The Skoda is just awesome, big difference to the Subaru, big difference to what I’m used to but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” O’Dowd said.

Positions two and three on the podium were locked out by local teams with Wilde/Kirkhouse (based only a few kilometres up the road from Nannup) in second and Busselton driver Trade Hire’s Kody Reynolds/Anthony Staltari claiming third.

Held over the same rally stages as the national and state competitors an entry level competition was also held on Saturday. Running over one day only and with crews required to use supplied route instructions in lieu of pace notes the Clubman competition attracted a strong field of novice rally teams.

The Clubman Masters event was won by Wandering Smash Repairs Dene Courtis/Daniel Adams only 10 seconds ahead of Rally Rats team of Carl and Tracey Rattenbury with Lawnswood’s Lance Stringer/Ross Burton in third.

Wandering Smash Repairs Dene Courtis/Daniel Adams. image credit Tim Allott

The Clubman Cup victory went to Herbalife’s Tim Bayer/Garry McCagh with Titan Ford’s Stephen Vass/Garry Whittle second and Rod Fowler/Keith Mayes third.

Herbalife’s Tim Bayer/Garry McCagh. Image credit Tim Allott