Molly Taylor reigns supreme at Make Smoking History Forest RallySunday, 23 April 2017
Molly Taylor and Bill Hayes have reigned supreme at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Nannup, Western Australia today.
“I’ve been chasing this victory for a while, it’s my favourite rally, so I’ve always wanted to have this win and after a disappointing start in the first round to come back with this in round two was more than we could hope for,” Taylor said.
Nathan Quinn/Ben Searcy finished the day, and the rally, in second outright with the local crew of Brad Markovic/Toni Feaver in third. Both crews proved that staying below the radar and remaining consistent all weekend was the key to standing on the podium at the end of the event.
After an opening Heat which saw some of the closest rallying the CAMS Australian Rally Championship® (ARC) has seen in recent years, with five lead changes and four stage winners, the action in Heat Two was more about survival.
Eli Evans and Glen Weston jumped out of the box this morning getting out to an early lead before their rally all but ended with high-speed collision with a concrete water tank during the sixth stage of the Heat.
The Tankformers team was able to get the car back into the service park and repair the Peugeot enough to limp across the finish line and salvage some all-important Championship points.
“This was not the finish we were hoping for but the rejoin rules in the ARC allow cars to officially finish the rally by going over the final stop control so we would have been silly not to try and take advantage of that and salvage as many points as we could for the rally,” Evans said.
A puncture on the following stage saw a rally victory all but slip from the hands of Harry Bates/John McCarthy, a fate that was sealed on SS17 when they stopped on stage suffering a mechanical drama.
As the dust settles on the roads of the Nannup plantation forest the event has not only seen a new winner stand on top of the podium but a new driver take the lead in the ARC, with Nathan Quinn snatching the lead from Harry Bates by two points.
“It’s cool that I get to be on the top of the list for the time being but the Championship is like a rally and you can see what happened to Harry and Eli today and it’s not necessarily about leading at one point in the event it’s about leading at the end of the year, so I’m going to take it with a grain of salt for the time being, Quinn said. “Hopefully we can get some more sponsorship support and I’ll be able to get to Canberra,” he continued.
The crews of Trevor Stilling/Cindy Gielingh-Jones and Andy van Kann/Mike Young were once again favourites out in the forest contesting the ARC Classic Rally Challenge.
West Australian ARC competitor Brad Markovic lead the crews contesting the CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship from the opening stage of the rally, recording two heat wins and taking the WARC event win ahead of Tom Wilde/Madelin Kirkhouse and Razvan Vlad/Daymon Nicoli
“We had a great run yesterday and tried to keep our noses clean today, consistency was the key, finding a good pace, sticking to that pace and that our game plan this weekend. Unfortunately some competitors had some dramas but we were in the mix at the time,” Markovic said.
Bunbury father and son combination, Mitchel and Stuart Clarke, were too fast to beat in the Clubman Cup class, winning every stage and taking the win ahead of Brock Nicoli and Daniel Adams. Andrew Percival and Jim Pearce rounded out the podium in third.
Mark Travers and Jeremy Edwards took the honours in the Clubman Masters class of the event ahead of Andrew Pinker and Tony Floyd.
More than 50 crews from across Australia contested the Make Smoking History Forest Rally through the forests of Nannup and around the electric Trade Hire Busselton Special Stage. The event was the second round of both the CAMS Australian Rally Championship® and the CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship.
Please note all results are currently provisional.
Photo: Michele Seymour