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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PROVISIONAL RESULT: Eli Evans and Ben Searcy win Make Smoking History Forest Rally

Eli Evans and Ben Searcy (Skoda Fabia R5) have won the 2018 Make Smoking History Forest Rally, the second round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship.

CAMS Australian Rally Championship
1. Eli Evans/Ben Searcy – Skoda Fabia R5
2. Steve Glenney/Andy Sarandis – Subaru WRX STI
3. Molly Taylor/Malcolm Read – Subaru WRX STI

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Evans and Searcy lead Make Smoking History Forest Rally with three stages remaining

Eli Evans and Ben Searcy have continued their form from yesterday leading Heat Two of the Make Smoking Hisory Forest Rally by more than 30 seconds with three stages remaining.

Starting the day in second following the Trade Hire Busselton Long stage held last night, Evans and Searcy started where they left off yesterday gaining more than 13 seconds on the opening forest stage.

“We’ve made a few mistakes this morning but the times are still fast so we’ll try and keep it neat,” Evans said. “We’ve got a 30 second buffer so if we give away a little bit of time we’ve still got plenty up our sleeve no mistakes, it’s only a spin wide or something like that and you can lose the lead so we just have to stay focused and keep doing what we are doing,” Evans said.
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Eli Evans/Ben Searcy dominate Heat One of Make Smoking History Forest Rally

A dominant display by Eli Evans/Ben Searcy has seen the team take Heat One honours at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Nannup, Western Australia this afternoon.

Steering the Skoda Fabia R5 rally car for the first time in an Australian event Evans jumped out of the blocks this morning taking just under 40 seconds off his rivals in the opening two forest stages of the day.

“The roads here suit aggressive driving styles and I like to drive aggressively,” Evans said. “I’m more comfortable when I’m sideways than when I’m straight so it’s working for us now,” he continued.
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Evans in control of Heat 1

The township of Nannup has come alive with crews currently making any necessary changes to the cars contesting the Make Smoking History Forest Rally during the Heat One midday service.

After six stages Eli Evans/Ben Searcy are currently dominating the field of CAMS Australian Rally Championship contenders ahead of nearest rivals Steve Glenney/Andy Sarandis and Glen Raymond/Kathryn Catford.

It’s been a mixed morning for the Skoda Fabia R5 cars that are making their debut on Australian rally roads here in Western Australia.

Evans/Searcy took the opening forest stage by 15 seconds, the second by close to 24 seconds and have continued to stretch their lead throughout the day. However, Adrian Coppin/Erin Kelly suffered a suspected broken steering arm following heavy contact with a rock on SS4.

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