O’Dowd and Feaver victorious in muddy battle at Forest Rally

John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver conquered the precarious conditions and held off their rally rivals to cross the finish line of the Make Smoking History Forest Rally with an outright win.

Sunday’s final Heat of the gravel rally event saw competitors contesting for WA Rally Championship (WARC) points over 191 competitive kilometres of technical forestry roads in the Nannup region.

After missing out on the top podium place last year by a mere half a second, O’Dowd and Feaver in the Skoda Fabia R5 were determined that history would not repeat. The duo held off a charging Ben Searcy and Daymon Nicoli in the Mitsubishi Evo 9 and claimed the outright win.

O’Dowd said the close competition between the top teams had been an enjoyable part of the event.

“First two stages were good today, and then the rain came,” said O’Dowd. “But, we managed to hold it together to earn some good points.”

 “We’re fighting for a Championship. Ben and Craig have done a fantastic job, so it will be a good year if they keep driving the way they are driving.

“You want to win it by small margins, not big ones – so it’s good for everyone. That’s good racing!

“Toni and I have been in the car together for three years, and we’re working beautifully together. She’s been a fantastic help writing the notes and helping me with them – all I’ve got to do is try and commit to them, which is the hard part.

“The Fabia R5 is not a car that you can say ‘I’ll take it easy here’ because it’s not designed for that. So, you’ve got to be on it and get in late with the braking, get the car squatted down, get the diff working and go! That’s hard to do when you’re going flat out into a wet, slippery corner that’s just been rained on before you get there – you don’t know what it’s going to be like.”

Despite missing out on the outright win, Ben Searcy and Daymon Nicoli’s comeback from 24th place on Friday to finish the event in second place, was a competition highlight that will likely be a talking point in the local rally scene many years to come. 

Searcy said the team found the conditions for the final Heat a bit of a mixed bag.

“Brockman and Folly were awesome, and we had much more grip than I expected to have after last night,” said Searcy. “Then following stages were a bit rocky and a bit loose. But the last stage was like driving through the Swan River!

“We’re really happy to grab a whole bag of Championship points today – that was the main thing.”

Craig Rando and Stephen Wade took third place in the Subaru Impreza WRX with a narrow 38.1 second gap.

Rando pointed out that the harsh rallying conditions this weekend made finishing an achievement in itself.

“I don’t know what sort of car would be best here,” said Rando. “It was tricky no matter what you had.

“After yesterday, we had a good push through those really wet conditions and it paid off. We got a bit of time back. But if you kept it on the road in this event, you did well.”

It was only the second event for Rookie Championship leader Ali Aslam, but he and co-driver Michael Wood clinched a Top 10 finish in the Subaru WRX STi and finished with just over a five minute gap to the leaders.

“Forest was a different experience to Baker’s Hill – faster over the blind crests and slipperier as well,” said Aslam.

“We had a bit of a mishap on the second stage yesterday, but other than that, it was all good. Everything was under control.

“The car performed well – thank you to my dad and the service crew. They’ve done all the hard work, and we’ll be setting it up for the next one.

“Our main purpose this year is just to finish all the events, and then once we get more experience, we can build up more and more.”

 

WA 2WD Championship

The 2WD competitors particularly felt the slippery conditions. Just over half of the category’s starters crossed the finish line.

Glenn Alcorn and Jonathan Charlesson won yesterday’s Heat and things were looking good for the pair until the diff on their Ford Escort RS let go on the first stage of the day.

A close battle between Mark Travers and Jeremy Edwards in the Toyota AE86 Sprinter and Alex and Lisa White in the Nissan S13 unfolded, with both teams taking a couple of stage wins each.

In the end, it was Travers and Edwards that emerged victorious, claiming the top spot on the 2WD podium.

Travers said the car had been solid over the weekend.

“We’ve fully rebuilt the car over the past three years, and it’s amazing what little things we thought we had right, just haven’t been right in the past,” said Travers. “But, this weekend there’s been no dramas at all.”

“It’s a long event and the weather played a big part yesterday, but our last rally event was torrential rain as well. We enjoyed it I think.”

The Whites crossed the finish line with less than a minute gap, while David Farnworth and Tim Jackson  in the Toyota Carolla FX-GT took the third spot on the podium.

WARC competitors now turn their attention to preparing for their next round. The Safari Rally will be the third round of the WA Rally Championship and Clubman Cup, and will be held in the Jarrahdale region on June 19.

The Forest Rally is sponsored by Healthway and the Make Smoking History message, Tourism WA, Shannons and the Shire of Nannup.

To see the full results for the 2021 Make Smoking History Forest Rally please see the results page of the Forest Rally website.

Forest Rally competitors relentless like the rain on WA Rally Championship’s second day

The second day started with promise for Make Smoking History Forest Rally competitors with quick times set on the first couple of stages, but the competitor’s focus changed to preservation when the heavens opened mid-morning. 

Before the downpour, spectators turned out at the designated viewing points to watch the 45 teams expertly navigate their way on the first two stages of challenging Nannup forestry roads. However, unrelenting heavy rain saw two of the planned stages, SS9 Dugite 2 and SS10 Snake 2, cancelled from the day’s program due to safety concerns.  

With their final two stages cancelled, Clubman competitors finished their event early. 

The final two stages of the day for WA Rally Championship and 2WD Championship proceeded ahead as planned, but with a day of rallying still left to go for these categories, it was no time for bold strategies. 

 

WA Rally Championship

John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver made the most of the early morning’s clear skies, winning the first three stages in the Skoda Fabia R5 before the wet roads saw them employ a more cautious approach. 

“We got the first four stages over with, and then the next two were cancelled,” said O’Dowd.

“To be honest, the last two were diabolical – but that was the same for everyone.

“We had a good margin up our sleeve from this morning’s effort, so we backed off on those two stages and still managed to come home with a win, which is good. Our strategy worked!”

O’Dowd and Feaver finished the day as the outright leaders.

Ben Searcy and Daymon Nicoli performed a stellar comeback in the Mitsubishi Evo 9. The duo charged up the timesheets – going from finishing Friday’s stages in 24th after a mechanical issue, to finishing today in second outright, just 24.5 seconds behind the leaders. 

Craig Rando and Stephen Wade finished third outright in the Subaru WRX STI, but are still very much in the hunt tomorrow with only a 38-second gap to the leaders.

WA 2WD Championship

Despite a couple of mechanical gremlins to contend with and an off-track excursion on the final stage, Glenn Alcorn and Jonathan Charlesson finished the day leading the 2WD Championship. Their team will be working hard overnight on the Ford Escort RS to repair a broken diff. 

Mark Travers and Jeremy Edwards started the day in ninth place in the Toyota AE86 Sprinter. They successfully narrowed their gap to the leaders finishing the day in second just 1.22mins away from Alcorn and Charlesson. 

Current third-place occupiers Mike Joss and Megan Logue’s day closed on a low point when they had an event ending off in their Nissan Silvia S15 on the Ellis stage. Their misfortune will bump Alex and Lisa White into third place in the Nissan Silvia S13. The Whites currently have a gap of 2.09 mins to Alcorn and Charlesson. 

 

Clubman Cup and Masters

Rain and two cancelled stages didn’t dampen the spirits of the Clubman Cup and Masters competitors today. There was plenty to celebrate in the service park with an impressive milestone and a rookie win. 

Andy Van Kann’s love of rallying has outlasted many romances. Today marked exactly 50 years since Van Kann’s first rally, and with a win in the Clubman Masters category, the milestone was celebrated as planned.

Usually behind the wheel, Van Kann co-drove this event, entrusting his Toyota Corolla TE27 to Nannup local Tom Wilde. Wilde said the weather didn’t hold the team back. 

“We were expecting the weather, and to be honest, it suited me fine,” said Wilde. 

“For me, this is the first round of the Forest Rally I’ve experienced on roadbook as a driver. So that was a bit different. There were so many sections that I knew were super-fast, but you just can’t commit without your pace notes there as reassurance. I still had a ball!”

Carl Rattenbury and Ashley Burton had a good weekend in the Ford Escort Mk1. Their consistency secured them second place on the podium with a 3.09 minute gap to the leaders. 

In their wild Datsun Mazda hybrid, John Ludham and Murray Hynes clinched third, 3.47 minutes behind Wilde and Van Kann. Ludham said the car was a handful to drive in the wet.

“It’s a bit like a two-stroke – it comes on the power quite strong!” said Ludham. “So, I was a bit nervous in the wet and decided that preservation was the key today. We backed off just a bit to make sure that we got through to the end. 

“The competition with Tom and Andy was great – it was a good rivalry. 

“I had Murray Hynes as my co-driver, and he is great with calling notes and is just a joy to have in the car.”

Rookie team Michael Connor and Eden Hughes driving the Hyundai Excel took out top honours in the Clubman Cup. The team had close battles in the timesheets with Glenn Cawood and Murish O’Connor all event. In the end Connor and Hughes pipped Cawood and Murish in the Mitsubishi Lancer by 18.7 seconds.

Connor said the result was far better than he expected, especially because it was only his third rally. 

“I thought a Top 5 would be a great finish,” said Connor. “But to get on top of the podium is amazing.

“I only started rallying last year. I used to do Khanacross and service crew for rally teams running at the top of the field. It’s been a natural progression through grassroots level motorsport. 

“About four years ago, I decided to build a car and do it (rallying) for a year. 

“The Excel is a neat, affordable car. It’s not overly endowed with power, but you put a few of the right bits on them, and they are a lot of fun. It’s relatively cheap motorsport compared to some of the faster machinery out there, and I’m pretty happy with that. 

“I actually enjoyed the wet stages. There were a few moments where we were going along the road and the car was spinning up in gear, aquaplaning and bouncing across the ruts, but it never felt too far out of control.” 

Fellow rookie Tiana Chapman and co-driver Graham Mogg crossed the finish line 1.48 minutes later in the Subaru Impreza, which was enough to clinch them third.  

Tomorrow the WA Rally Championship and WA 2WD Championship competitors are back in the forest for five more stages before they cross the finish line. The final stage will be another new addition to the Make Smoking History Forest Rally programme – the Nannup Power Stage. 

The Nannup Power Stage will see all competitors completing the fast 3.5km loop style stage, with the Top 10 competitors running in reverse order, from 10th to first for a nail-biting finish to the event. 

Podium presentations will then happen at approximately 3.15pm at the Nannup Sport and Recreation Centre. 

The Forest Rally is sponsored by Healthway and the Make Smoking History message, Tourism WA, Shannons and the Shire of Nannup. 

For further information on the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, please visit forestrally.com.au.

Make Smoking History Forest Rally off to a roaring start in Bunbury

Image: CMR Photographic

 

Teams in the Make Smoking History Forest Rally roared off from the Bunbury start line to the delight of local crowds who turned out yesterday evening to see the action.

The Bunbury Super Special stages combined parts of both Bunbury Speedway and the Autocross track to form a tight and technical 1.8km course for the 45 rally teams to cut their teeth on before they head out today into the forestry roads of Nannup. 

 

WA Rally Championship

John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver took three stage wins and were the fastest overall. O’Dowd said the Skoda Fabia R5 performed well on the challenging course. 

“The car is absolutely awesome,” said O’Dowd. “It’s a great car, a lot of fun and makes me look good!

“It’s tricky out there, but it is the same for everyone. We’re enjoying it. It’s tight and twisty, and you can’t afford to make a mistake – otherwise, you’re into those tyres!

“I missed out on a podium last year by half a second. So, if I can improve on that this year – that’d be great. But, we’re not too worried – we’re going to go out and run our own race, and if we finish, that would be great.”

Craig Rando and Stephen Wade finished second place 14.2 seconds behind the leaders, while Kody Reynolds and Anthony Staltari finished with a 15.3 second gap. Both teams were driving Subaru WRX STIs. 

Image: CMR Photographic

 

WA 2WD Championship

With less than 10 seconds separating the Top 3 in the WA 2WD Championship, it was evident that there will be some close battles within the category this weekend. 

Despite its light backend, Mike Joss and Megan Logue managed to keep the Nissan 200sx straight enough to post the fastest time for the category. 

“It’s been an awesome tight and twisty little stage and great to see so many people have come out to watch,” said Joss.

“My two greatest challenges tomorrow will be Glenn Alcorn in the Escort and also the rain. 

“We won the Championship last year, and you can’t do much better than that, but we have the same aim to win again, and we’ll see how we go.”

Glenn Alcorn and Jonathon Charleston in the Ford Escort are just 2.4 seconds behind the leaders, with Gary Mills and Mitch Gray have a 9.2 gap in the Ford Fiesta. 

 

Clubman Cup 

Glenn Cawood and Murish O’Connell’s event could not have started better, setting the fastest time on all four stages in the Mitsubishi Lancer. 

One of three Hyundai Excel driving teams in the category, Michael Connor and Eden Hughes will be working tomorrow to close the 14.4 second gap they have to the leaders.

Currently sitting in third with a 17.8 gap is Bruce Lake and Peter Hall in the Datsun 240Z. 

 

Clubman Masters

A tight battle is unfolding in the Clubman Masters with Carl Rattenbury and Ashley Burton in the Ford Escort Mk1, narrowly beating Ludlam and Hynes in the Mazda powered Datsun 1600 by only 3 seconds. Finishing the night in third for the category is Tom Wilde and Andy Van Kann in the Toyota Corolla TE27.

The Make Smoking History Forest Rally will continue Saturday when the 45 teams tackle 121kms of forestry roads in and around the Nannup region. For information on where best to view the rally, please consult the Spectator Guide [link]. 

The Forest Rally is sponsored by Healthway and the Make Smoking History message, Tourism WA, Shannons and the Shire of Nannup. 

For further information on the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, please visit forestrally.com.au

 

Event Preview: 2021 Make Smoking History Forest Rally

Oxley / Wood in full flights on stage near Nannup (2019)
Credit: CMR Photographic

Western Australian rally drivers will be back to contest the WA Rally Championship on the forestry roads near Nannup for the 2021 Make Smoking History Forest Rally on May 21 – 23.

 

The Forest Rally will be the second round of the WA Rally Championship (WARC) and Clubman Cup, with 45 entered teams hoping to collect sought after points for their 2021 season campaigns. 

 

The event commences Friday night (May 21) on the Bunbury Super Special Stage at the Bunbury Speedway circuit and Autocross track. A new addition to the Forest Rally programme, this stage offers an arena-like atmosphere with two crews competing simultaneously on the 1.8km course under lights.

 

On Saturday (May 22), competitors will head to the gravel forestry roads around the picturesque Nannup region to start Heat 1. WARC competitors will have eight stages and 129 kilometres of competition to set their best time before returning on Sunday, where Heat 2 has a further five stages and 62 competitive kilometres in store.

 

The pressure will be on Clubman Cup competitors who cross the finish line a day earlier than their WARC counterparts, having just ten stages and 101 kilometres to set their event winning times in. 

 

Clerk of Course Ross Tapper said organisers and competitors were glad to be back in the Nannup region after the pandemic forced a change in the course last year.

 

“You could say that the pandemic caused a bit of a break in the usual programming last year, but we’re thrilled to be back in the area that Forest Rally is synonymous with,” said Mr Tapper. “The locals are always very welcoming, and the roads provide plenty of variety for teams. It’s a pity our competitors will be going too fast to enjoy the scenery because that’s quite stunning also!

 

“We do have a couple of new additions to the Forest Rally programme this year in the Bunbury Super Special Stage and the Nannup Power Stage. Both stages should be quite the spectacle to watch and provide some close quarters rallying.”

 

Being one of the highlights in the WA Rally Championship calendar, the Forest Rally entry list sees many familiar names in Western Australian rallying.

 

Current WARC leader and no stranger to the Forest Rally podium John O’Dowd will be returning with co-driver Toni Feaver in the Skoda Fabia. O’Dowd and Feaver will no doubt be seeking another round win to further their Championship lead.

 

In search of a podium place will be Ben Searcy and co-driver Daymon Nicoli in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. Searcy has shown his versatility in the sport by transitioning from a sought-after co-driver to a driver who consistently places in the Top 3.

 

One to watch is rookie driver Ali Aslam. Aslam finished the first round of the WARC in 5th place – an impressive first event result considering the quality of the field he was up against. Aslam is paired with co-driver Michael Wood and will be driving a Subaru Impreza.

 

In the 2WD category, 2020 championship winners Michael Joss and Megan Logue’s season couldn’t have started better – the duo took first place in Round 1. They’ll be back in the Nissan Silvia S15.

 

The Clubman Cup and Clubman Masters is a lower cost category that offers great rallying competition with less time and budget commitments.

 

Round 1 Clubman Cup winner Tom van Kann will be returning with co-driver Steven Proctor, in the Datsun 200B.

 

Back from recently competing in the Rally of the Heartland in South Australia, Bruce Lake and Peter Hall are back in the West and looking to expand on their Clubman Cup points in the Nissan 260Z.

 

With the Current Clubman Masters leading driver absent from this round’s entry list – one of the category’s three contesting teams will cross the Forest Rally finish line to be equal points leader. 

 

The competition in the Clubman Masters Category is predicted to be tight between the three contesting teams. Nannup local and accomplished rally-driver Tom Wilde and co-driver Andy van Kann is one pairing to watch. Wilde will be piloting van Kann’s 1974 Toyota Corolla.

 

John Ludlam’s rotary-powered Datsun 1600 nicknamed the Dazda is likely to be a crowd favourite which will keep the heat on both Wilde/van Kann and Carl Rattenbury and co-driver Ashley Burton in the Ford Escort. 

 

The Forest Rally is sponsored by Healthway and the Make Smoking History message, Tourism WA, Shannons and the Shire of Nannup.

 

For further information on the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, please visit forestrally.com.au.

 

Make Smoking History Forest Rally – Where to see

Please consult the event Spectator Guide for the best and safest areas to view the rally.

Bunbury Super Special Stage

Friday Evening, 6pm – 8.30pm

The Bunbury Super Special stage incorporates parts of the Bunbury Speedway circuit and Autocross track, delivering a similar style of rallying action as the highly popular Rally Australia Langley Park stage.

The stage sees two cars competing simultaneously on the 1.8km course, starting side by side before splitting off in different directions, then coming back alongside each other in time for a dash to the finish line.

The venue offers plenty of viewing vantage points for spectators.

 

Nannup Service Park

Saturday and Sunday

The Nannup Sport and Recreation Centre will be the home to the behind-the-scenes action on Saturday and Sunday. The service teams based here will be ready to spring into action, checking over the rally cars and refreshing competitive crew in between runs. The public are welcome to visit, see the cars up close, and experience a rally service park’s bustling atmosphere firsthand.

Nannup Power Stage

Sunday, 12.40pm

The Nannup Power Stage is the final stage of the Forest Rally. All competitors will complete the fast 3.5km loop style stage, with the Top 10 competitors running in reverse order, from 10th to first for a nail-biting finish to the event.

 

Podium Presentations

Clubman Cup and Clubman Masters, Saturday 5pm

WA Rally Championship, Sunday 2.45pm

  

Congratulate the 2021 Make Smoking History Forest Rally winners and experience the podium celebrations at the Nannup Sport and Recreation Centre.

New Bunbury Super Special Stage Headlines Make Smoking History Forest Rally

Copyright Photo: Blake Rattenbury 

The opening kilometres of this year’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally will kick off May 21 on the new and highly anticipated Bunbury Super Special stage.

The Bunbury Super Special stage incorporates parts of the Bunbury Speedway circuit and Autocross track, delivering a similar style of rallying action as the highly popular Rally Australia Langley Park stage.

The stage sees two cars competing simultaneously on the 1.8km course, starting side by side before splitting off in different directions, then coming back alongside each other in time for a dash to the finish line.

Clerk of Course Ross Tapper says the Bunbury Super Special stage will be a programme highlight for both competitors and spectators alike and sets the scene for a great weekend of rallying.

“The Bunbury Super Special stage is a first for the Make Smoking History Forest Rally programme, and we expect it will deliver some sensational rally action,” said Mr Tapper.

“Having two cars competing at the same time under lights gives both competitors and fans something not often seen in WA rallying, and the venue offers plenty of viewing vantage points.”

WA Rally Championship (WARC) and Clubman Cup competitors will have four runs each on the tight and technical 1.8km Bunbury Super Special stage, before the competition moves into the picturesque forestry roads of Nannup on Saturday and Sunday (May 22 – 23).

During the event weekend, WARC competitors will battle for championship points over 191.9 competitive kilometres, with the Nannup Power Stage the final challenge before crossing the finish line on Sunday. The Nannup Power Stage is another new addition to the Make Smoking History Forest Rally programme and sees the Top 10 competitors running in reverse order, from 10th to first, for a nail-biting finish to the event.

The Clubman Cup is contested over a shorter event, with competitors crossing the finish line on Saturday afternoon after battling for points over 101 competitive kilometres. 

Unlike previous years, the Make Smoking History Forest Rally will not be a round of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC). 

“Due to the uncertainty in regards to COVID-19 and state borders, this year’s event is only open to local competitors,” said Mr Tapper. “But we are looking forward to welcoming our interstate ARC competitors back to the event when access to our State is more certain.

“COVID-19 also may affect our ability to have spectators at the Forest Rally. We’re monitoring health advice and will communicate any developments that may affect the event through our online channels. However, we are planning for spectators and remain optimistic that we’ll be able to welcome them to the event.”

Competitors have less than two weeks left to enter the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, with entries closing 8pm Thursday, May 13. Entries are to be submitted through the Motorsport Australia Portal.

The Forest Rally is sponsored by Healthway and the Make Smoking History message, Tourism WA, Shannons and the Shire of Nannup.

For further information on the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, please visit forestrally.com.au.

 

 

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.

Continue reading “Harry Bates victorious as Toyota claim 1-2 at Make Smoking History Forest Rally”

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.

Continue reading “Harry Bates leads at halfway point of Heat One at Make Smoking History Forest Rally”