Images: BTeamRallyMedia John Doutch
Five West Australian competitors in three cars all finished in the top ten – with one on the podium – in the season opener of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship.
Dominating the stages in their Toyota Yaris were Harry Bates (ACT) with co-driver John McCarthy (QLD) who won The Courier-Eureka Rally in Ballarat, Victoria. Tasmanians Steve Glenney and Michael Potter finished second in a Subaru WRX STI.
The highest placed West Australian was East Vic Park’s Ben Searcy, new co-driver to three-time Australian Rally Champion Eli Evans. They finished third overall in a Mini Cooper AP4. The pair showed good form all weekend with a win on SS4 and top five fastest times in the remaining 16 stages. Ben, 39, was happy with the result – his first major event co-driving for Eli.
“Everything went well – Eli writes good pace notes. It was a very high speed rally and it was close – in the first stage on Sunday there was just 2.7 seconds separating the top four. It’s great fun to have a close competition.” BEN SEARCY
Perth-based Maximum Motorsport has entered two cars entered in the ARC this season, both Subaru WRX STI hatchbacks. Delighted with finishing sixth place overall, Maximum Motorsport’s Brad Markovic and co-driver Toni Feaver made an impressive return to ARC.
“It was great to jump back in the driver’s seat and Toni and I gelled straight away. Our plan was to get through the event, get it under our belt and really focus on the next round the Forest Rally in April, which is our home rally.” BRAD MARKOVIC
“All of those who finished in front of us are seeded ahead of us, so it’s a good result.said the Lesmurdie 40-year-old who had back surgery seven months ago. Saturday’s stages were brilliant, really good flowing stages. Sunday’s stages were trickier with a more powdery surface that challenged the tyres a bit, but overall, a really nice event.”
John O’Dowd and co-driver Ken Shiel in a Maximum Motorsport Subaru WRX STI finished the Eureka Rally in tenth place over all.
“The car was awesome and well prepared. We got through every stage and finished the event. It’s onwards and upwards from here.” JOHN O’DOWD
As well as competing in the ARC, John and Ken will again contest the WA Rally Championship, trying to get one better on their second place last year, falling short of the title by just two points.
The Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship opens with the Trade Hire Karri Rally on
Dianne Bortoletto, Pronto PR, 0439 997 075, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITED by AC