Openers for 2021 ARC Calendar Locked in

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Posted on September 17, 2020 Tags:

Forest Rally winner Mike Young’s Subaru WRX. Image TRAVIS BARNES

WESTERN AUSTRALIA’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally has been confirmed for May 1-2. Motorsport Australia has released dates for the first three rounds of next year’s RSEA Safety Rally Championship (ARC).

With the 2020 Championship unable to be awarded, the MA was eager to provide competitors with as much notice as possible to prepare for the 2021 campaign.

The season begins in Canberra, with the Netier National Capital Rally March 20-21, before competitors head west. The third confirmed round is Rally Tasmania June 26-27.

46 Tackle World Rally Stages

Last weekend’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally near Harvey and Collie, south-west of Perth turned out to be a ripper.

In near perfect conditions, 46 local gravel rally competitors ripped through some of the nation’s best rally stages after a chilly start with some low morning fog, the sun came out and the crowds flocked.

There was enough moisture in the soil to keep dust low and give the roads grip, which competitors seem to relish.

Ben Searcy. Image TRAVIS BARNES.

The WARC was a tight battle with four different leaders throughout the rally, three stage winners, and loads of sideways action and dirt being flung that kept hundreds of spectators entertained.

The ex-World Rally Championship stages that were used for Rally Australia were a hit with drivers and spectators alike.

Competitors tackled 135 kilometres of flat out competition on eight closed road Special Stages including a mammoth 32-kilometre stage around Wellington Dam that was run twice, and travelled a total distance of almost 300 kilometres.

The last two stages saw nine retirements, most of which were mechanical failures besides a major non-critical incident on the final stage where a driver and co-driver and were taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital for precautionary checks.

Of the 46 starters, 36 completed the Make Smoking History Forest Rally.

Perth-based New Zealander Mike Young and co-driver Scott Beckwith won Round 2 of the championship by the narrowest of margins.

They took four of the eight stages to take the win in their Maximum Motorsport Subaru WRX STI just half a second ahead of John O’Dowd and co-driver Toni Feaver in their WRC2 spec Truck Wholesale WA Skoda Fabia R5.

Ben Searcy and co-driver James Marquet were third in their Swift Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer.

The first stage of the day was won by Peter Major and Declan Stafford but their glory was short-lived as they rolled on the second stage, forcing their retirement.

 Young, 27, is no stranger to the podium or tough competition having won two Asia Cups and having finished runner up four times in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

“It was a big battle all day and it’s always good when a rally is being fought until the last stage.

“Between myself, John (O’Dowd) and Ben (Searcy), we kept each other honest and kept pushing each other, each trading times, which made us all drive a bit faster.

“The stages were awesome, in great condition and super smooth, it was really enjoyable.”


Nic Box and Daymon Nicoli Win 2WD

Nic Box’s Nissan Silvia S13

Nic Box and his new co-driver Daymon Nicoli were quickest on every stage taking a clean sweep to win the 2WD convincingly in their Nissan Silvia S13.  Michael Joss and Megan Logue were second n their Mike Joss Racing Nissan Silvia S15. Third were 16-year-old rookie and learner driver Max McRae and co-driver Bill Hayes in their Dirtfish Ford Fiesta ST150.

 Box said that entering the Make Smoking History Forest Rally was a last-minute decision.

“I didn’t do any preparation as I had just got back from a fishing trip the day before the rally, I hooked up the trailer, got some fuel and went racing, and the car was perfect, no issues at all. he said.

“The stages were some of WA’s best roads ever, it’d be great to drive on them more often.”


As well as taking title honours in the 2WD category, Box/Nicoli finished fifth outright.

Clubman Masters and Clubman Cup

These categories are designed to be more accessible to those with less time, less budget or those who are new to the sport. Competitors completed the first five stages of the Make Smoking History Forest Rally, racing the clock along 79 competitive kilometres.

Both competitors in the Clubman Masters finished, with Alex and Lisa White fastest in their Information Proficiency Nissan Silvia S13, 3:38 minutes ahead of Graeme and Kathy Miles in their Miles Landscaping Mitsubishi Lancer.

Abe Tuckett’s Hyundai Excel.. Image CMR PHOTOGRAPHIC

Winning two out of two rallies in the Clubman Cup category was Abe Tuckett and Australia’s most decorated co-driver Glenn Macneall in their Humble Bee Finance Hyundai Excel. In second place, 3:06 minutes behind were rookies Glenn Cawood and Murish O’Connell in their Shedforce Mitsubishi Lancer. Rounding out the top three was Bruce Lake and Peter Hall third in their Carol Lake Datsun 240Z.

 As a result of COVID-19, the Forest Rally was compacted from a three-day to one-day rally and held around Collie and Harvey (usually Busselton and Nannup), and it’s the first time in 35 years that the Forest Rally hasn’t been a part of the Motorsport Australia Australian Rally Championship (ARC) national competition.

For full results, visit 

Round 3 of the WARC is the Trade Hire Karri Rally on October 3, 2020, around Manjimup in WA’s south-west.

EDITED by AC, with thanks to Dianne Bortoletto [email protected]

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