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batemans bay

Toyota stamp their name on the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

Harry Bates and John McCarthy have won the 2020 AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay, taking the win convincingly over teammate and brother Lewis Bates with co-driver Anthony McLoughlin. Bates was in the Toyota Yaris AP4 rally car that also took him to victory in the 2019 Australian Rally Championship.

“A really tough day, the roads were very challenging, but very happy to be here and have the win” Bates said at the end of the final stage on River Road. “It’s a really challenging road, even in the day, but at night it was even more challenging.” added Bates.

Bates led from the start, winning every stage, and ending the event with a one minute and twenty second margin over the other Toyota Yaris AP4, driven by Lewis Bates.

“It’s been a really good day,” said Lewis. “It’s good to be back in the car, it’s been nine months since we’ve done a rally. We’ve got a bit of homework to do to catch Harry, but we’ve had a solid day and we’re happy with second,” Lewis added.

On the third podium position was Victorians Darren Windus and Joe Brkic in a Subaru WRX STi. Windus was battling with his son Arron for outright positions when the younger Windus went off the road in special stage 4.

“We’ve had an absolute gem of a time,” Windus said sitting in the car after just completing the final stage. “It’s probably a good result by the look of it today too, so that makes it all worth it” he continued.

In the East Coast Classic Rally Series, Mal Keogh and Andrew Bennett came out on top to win the Classic section by almost 4 minutes in an Audi Quattro S1. Keogh also finished well in the outright results with eighth place.

The two-wheel drive victory went to Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell in a Citroen DS3. Whilst the front wheel drive car is at a disadvantage against its four-wheel drive counterparts, Sullens drove the small pocket rocket into sixth outright.

“Wow, is all I can say” Sullens said. “It’s the best field we’ve ever seen in a state rally in the history of Australia I reckon, and a top six I’ll take any day” he continued.

“I’ve driven as fast as I’ve driven in all my life today and I’m really happy and rewarded. I’ve found new levels of comfort with the car, so it’s good.” Sullens said.

The next round of the MTA NSW Rally Championship is the Caves Classic Rally on September the 5th in the Oberon district.

Full results are available online at ChrisSport

Narooma Rally winner to take on AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

Jamie Price and Maisie Place will line up at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay this weekend in a MkII Ford Escort. The pair had a series of strong results last season, most notably claiming outright honours in the NSW South Coast based Narooma Forest Rally.

The Rally of the Bay, also held in the Eurobodalla Shire, gives teams the option to choose to use a basic roadbook with route charts or more complex and detailed pace-notes. Price and Place have chosen to use the route charted option, often called a ‘Blind Rally’, which from previous form shows they will be up for a great result.

The Rally of the Bay was originally to be the second round of the Motor Traders Association NSW Rally Championship, but with the COVID Pandemic putting a stop to all motorsport, the event will now be the first round and also the first rally to run in Australia since COVID.

Even though there has been extra time to get rally cars prepared, many teams have been waiting months to get into the forests.

“We’re really happy about our first rally for the year,” Price said. “The car has a new gearbox fitted for me to try out but other than that, it’s how it was at Narooma. We aren’t too fussed about results, we’re just really just hoping for a clean run and get out there and enjoy ourselves,” Price added.

Place is also looking forward to being back in the car and competing in the Batemans Bay Forests.

“I’m really excited to be back in the car with Jamie,” Place said. “This is the first we’ve competed since our victory at Narooma last year. We’re hoping we can pull together a similar result, but we’re really just excited to be back out there and competing.

“There’s a very strong and impressive line-up for Rally of the Bay, so it’ll definitely be an exciting rally. There’s been such a big break between events, so I’m very excited to finally be back in a rally car,” Place concluded.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay is based in Batemans Bay, with Head Quarters at the Coachhouse Marina Resort and supported by the Village Centre and Bridge Plaza shopping centre.

Richie Rallying to Support Batemans Bay

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

Shamrock Motorsport driver, Richie Dalton, will be looking to make it three wins in a row when he heads to Batemans Bay on the weekend of the 4th of July for the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.

Dalton and co-driver, Dale Moscatt, have won the event for the past two years and despite a very competitive line up at this years event, they are hoping for yet another victory.

The factory Toyota Gazoo Racing team will launch a two-car assault at the Rally of the Bay and are likely to be Dalton’s biggest rivals. The Toyota’s showed great speed last season, but Dalton’s confidence is high, and he knows his Ford Fiesta Proto can be competitive if everything goes right on the day.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced a halt to motorsport across the country, with the Rally of the Bay being the first rally event back on the calendar. The long wait for a start to the rally season has contributed to a large contingent of teams from across Australia including competitors from Melbourne, Brisbane and even as far away as central Queensland.

“Firstly, it’s great to have rallying back, and the organisers of the Rally of the Bay have done an incredible job to get the rally up and running,” Dalton said.

“The Batemans Bay region has had it tough over the last six months – first with bushfires and now with Coronavirus – so we’re all looking forward to visiting the region and helping to support local businesses.

“We’re coming for a purpose though, and that’s to try and win the rally for a third time, which will be tough against such strong competition.

“We’ve done our preparation though, and after a test session in the car on Thursday we’ll be ready to give it our best shot.”

Dalton is member of the organising club, North Shore Sporting Car Club and also a big supporter of the Rally of the Bay. His business, Shamrock Haulage, sponsoring stage four, the ‘Follow the River’ special stage along the extremely popular River Rd.

Dalton will carry the number one door sticker for the event, a reward for winning the 2019 running of the Rally. However, he will start second on the road behind reigning Australian Champion, Harry Bates in a Toyota Yaris AP4.

“I’m delighted to have been able to keep the number one on the door, despite the Australian Rally Champion being in the field,” Dalton added.

“I feel like we have earned the right to have it for the event, and it’s proved to be good luck in the past, so hopefully that’s a good omen.”

The Shamrock Motorsport Ford Fiesta will be sporting a brand new ‘Irish’ themed livery for the Rally of the Bay, which has already drawn a lot of attention from rally fans on social media.

“Hopefully the crew perform as well as the car looks,” Dalton added.

“The Rally of the Bay is an event that both Dale and I really enjoy, and we can’t wait to hit the stages on Saturday morning,” Dalton concluded.

Outback challenger getting practice at AMH Automotive Group Rally Of The Bay

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

Michael Ward at the Classic Outback Trial in 2018 – PHOTO Ian Smith

Michael Ward Rallysport is looking forward to getting back out in the dirt at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.

Driver Michael Ward and Co-Driver John Fraser will be using the event to start preparations for this year’s Classic Outback Trial scheduled for later this year in November.

“It’s great to be able to get back into the driver’s seat,” Ward said. “We’re using this event to start our preparations for the last Classic Outback Trial (COT) which has been moved to early November,” he added.

Because the COT is a ‘blind event’, the team will be running the Rally of the Bay using the Roadbook rather than choosing the pacenote option.

“Seat time, and practice reading the road at competition speed is what’s needed for us leading up to the COT. With limited events this year, we’re grateful the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay is on schedule,” Michael said.

Co-Driver, John Fraser teamed up with Michael for the 2016 running of the Classic Outback Trial where they finished first in class. Fraser was then back for the 2018 running of the outback event, as well as the Alpine Rally of East Gippsland in 2017 and 2019.

The team will be running their venerable 1976 Toyota Corolla TE37 replica built in 2013 specifically for long distance rallies. The 1600cc 2TG engine has a ‘poor man’s close ratio’ gearbox from a Lexus IS200 allowing the correct ratio for any situation. However, the smooth roads at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay won’t be giving the MCA Gold suspension its usual workout!

Ward, based in Melbourne, started rallying back in the late seventies, ‘retired’ in 1986, having completed the State Bank Discovery Trial, and then returned to the sport in 2010. He has always had a keen interest in trials and long distance rally events.

Fraser, from Orange, NSW, has been navigating since his late teens, guiding many notable drivers. He is also an accomplished driver, winning the NSW Rally Championship class N2 twice, was second in the 1996 ARC to the works Daihatsu team (by 1 point!) and won his class in the 1996 Playstation Round Australia Trial.

The AMH Automotive Rally of the Bay will be conducted in the Forest surrounding Batemans Bay on the 4th of July.

Marco Jansen adds AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay to his bucket list

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

The Central Queensland pairing of Marco Jansen and Cameron McIntosh are making an epic 19-hour journey to compete at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.

Jansen has been competing in rally events for many years, starting in a Golf Mark 1 and progressing through VW competition cars until purchasing his current car, an ex-works VW Polo. Having now owned this car for several years and with work commitments that have kept him out of the driver’s seat, the Rockhampton driver is keen to get back into racing.

After putting the VW Polo back together and desperately needing a rally inspired rush of adrenalin, the goal of getting to the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay was set.

“I’ve travelled through the Batemans Bay area over recent years,” Jansen said. “I’ve serviced for other competitors at rally events, so I’ve definitely put the Rally of the Bay high on my bucket list of things to do.”

“The quality of the roads used for the rally, plus the organisation of the event itself and the general comradery helped me make up my mind that I wanted to do it,” Jansen said.

The horrendous end of 2019 and terrible start to 2020, with fires, rain and COVID having a huge impact on people in the area, this was the ideal chance to give back and at the same time get some competitive miles under his belt.

“We’ve got a few extra challenges in the way for us having to travel all the way down from Central Queensland. For us to attend the event and be able to meet all the restrictions related to COVID, like social distancing, border securities, plus all the systems and controls put in place by the rally organisers hasn’t really dampened my enthusiasm at all,” Jansen said.

“Even with all these new requirements to rally, it isn’t putting me off at all. Bring on the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay 2020.” Jansen said as he packed ready for the long drive to Batemans Bay.

Teaming up with co-driver Cameron McIntosh, from Gladstone in Central Queensland, the team are looking forward to some good roads, tall stories, and great competition.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay will be held on Saturday the 4th of July in Batemans Bay, NSW.

Stanford Motorsport to contest Clubman Series at AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

Stanford Motorsport are preparing their Datsun Stanza and getting ready for the Techworkz Automotive NSW Clubman Rally Series, which kicks off this weekend at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.

Driver Dennis Stanford from West Nowra will be joined by Sydney based Co-Driver, Tim Woods for the 2020 running of the Rally of the Bay and the team are hoping for a good result in their first event for the season.

“We won the Clubman Rally series in the same Datsun Stanza that we run now, back in 2010,” Stanford said. “This year we’re looking to do the full Techworkz Automotive Clubman Series in the Stanza, and hopefully we’ll do well again,” he said.

“It’ll be good to get back out there again after these COVID restrictions,” Stanford added.

Stanford has been involved in rallying for over 30 years and it’s not just him that loves motorsport, his whole family are involved, being active members of the local car club, the Shoalhaven and Kiama district Automotive Club (SKADC).

The Team were last at the Rally of the Bay in 2019 and this rally is a favourite for the team. Stanford enjoys the well maintained and flowing forestry roads and particularly enjoys the long, 44km ‘Run to Mogo’ stage.

Stanford’s best recent result was finishing the 2018 Narooma Forest Rally in 10th and believes the LA Lancer team of Ron and Steve McKinnon as his biggest rival at the Batemans Bay event.

Stanford puts the success of his rally team down to consistency and reliability with the car being tuned by Datsun specialist, Stewart Wilkins from SW Motorsport. The team is also supported by Ausdeck Nowra, Fair Dinkum Removals Nowra, and Balance Motorsport Australia Rally Light Pods.

“I’d like to thank Tim Woods for stepping up and co-driving for me at the Rally of the Bay and also a special thanks to Steve Barry from Sanitar Shoalhaven and his family for putting their hands up to service for me,” Stanford concluded.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay will be held on the 4th of July, starting at 8:45am in Batemans Bay.

Rebuilt Subarus lighter and faster for 2020 season

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

Victorian Rally Champion, Arron Windus, will finally get his season underway on Saturday when he competes in the Rally of the Bay in NSW.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the sport on hold this year, and with no events in Victoria until at least September, Windus and co-driver Daniel Brick have been forced to head to the NSW coast to get their first motorsport fix of the year.

Windus’ Western Victorian Crane Trucks team will field two Subaru Impreza WRXs in the rally, with his father, Darren, also competing in the first round the NSW Rally Championship.

Arron took the Victorian title in convincing style last year, but isn’t resting on his laurels as he continues his push to make rallying more than just a hobby.

His title-winning Subaru has undergone a full rebuilt since the end of last season, and will be faster and even more competitive in 2020.

“We’ve got a lot better package than we had in 2019,” Arron explained.

“The car now us upgraded suspension, has been on a decent weight loss program, and also has a few more ponies (horsepower) underneath the bonnet.”

His car will feature a gorgeous new blue and yellow livery that pays tribute to the late Possum Bourne’s 1996 Australian Rally Championship winning Subaru WRX.

“The car has come up an absolute treat and is in pristine showroom condition,” he added.

“My uncle (a panel beater) and the Activ Rallysport team really put solid time and effort into the rebuild and the finished product speaks for itself.”

Darren Windus also has a fully rebuilt Subaru at his disposal for the 2020 season.

He’ll drive the same WRX that he used at the end of last season, but it has been upgraded with more horsepower, and a suspension package that brings it to a similar spec as Arron’s Subaru.

The team’s unique ‘father-son’ combinations continue this year, with Daniel Brick’s father, Joe, co-driving for Darren.

Both teams will get their first chance to try out their rebuilt Subarus this Thursday, at a test day near Canberra.

“We’re extremely excited to test these newly built rockets and see first-hand what improvements have been made,” Arron said.

“The field of 90 cars for the Rally of the Bay is just about the strongest seen in Australian rallying for many years, and we’re both looking forward to putting our best foot forward.”

The rally will run out of the tourist town of Batemans Bay on Saturday, with drivers tackling seven competitive stages over a distance of 140km.

Hatton ‘Super Excited’ As Rallying Returns

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

PHOTO: Sydney rally driver JJ Hatton is back in action this weekend.

By Team Release

JJ Hatton is back behind the wheel of his Hyundai i20 rally car this weekend, when the sport resumes after the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been a long time between drinks for the Sydneysider, but this weekend’s Batemans Bay based ‘Rally of the Bay’ will finally see him raising the dust against a top class field.

The rally is the first round of the NSW Rally Championship, but with the Coronavirus break this year, it has also attracted the cream of the crop from the Australian Rally Championship.

Hatton will team with regular co-driver, Nathan Long, for the one-day event, but will also have a chance to test the car on Thursday to get back into the feel of things.

“I haven’t driven the car since a test day in Victorian back in February, so it’s been a long time between drinks,” Hatton said.

“I’m super excited to get in the rally car again as, like everyone, I’ve really missed the sport and have done nothing but work over the last few months.”

His Hyundai i20 is based in Melbourne where it is maintained by the Activ RallySport team, which means Hatton hasn’t even had the chance to sit in the car for many months.

“The test day will be really important to get back into the groove of things and see where the car is at,” he added.

“We’ll be testing with the Toyota factory team and a few others, so it will be a good opportunity to fine-tune a few things and get the car dialed in for the Bay.”

Following testing on Thursday, Hatton and Long will spend Friday driving the rally stages and writing their safety notes for the seven competitive stages that will cover nearly 140 kilometres.

Not only will it be great to have rallying back again, but the Batemans Bay region is also eagerly awaiting the arrival of the rally after a horrid 2020. After devastating bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic has really hurt local tourism.

A full field of 90 cars is expected for the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay, which has implemented strict safety guidelines to meet the ever-changing needs of the pandemic.

Holloway gaining traction and ready for AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay

By News, Rally of the Bay 2020

PHOTO: Holloway and Hood at the Alpine Rally

Geoff Holloway and Rick Hood are gaining traction in their bid to take on Australia’s best at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.

After a 37-year break from rally driving, Holloway purchased a Hyundai Excel in 2019 in a bid to return to the sport he loves. The bright green pocket rocket had previously served five different owners across three states and one territory before finding a new home with Holloway in the Melbourne suburb of Templestowe.

Rick Hood stepped forward to co-drive for the 2019 season, bringing considerable recent experience to the team.

“We had a pretty bold plan for 2019,” Holloway said. “We competed in, and finished, nine events and at each event we were steadily gaining confidence, speed and reliability, generally finishing mid pack. I reckon the very fast tracks at the Rally of the Heartland in Burra, South Australia were one of the highlights of the season” Holloway recalls.

“There’s always close racing amongst the Excel gang in the stages. So much great camaraderie and support between the teams. It’s the little things make it great, like borrowing a radiator from another team so we could finish the Australian Rally Championship round at the Eureka Rush rally” Holloway added.

The 2019 season ended with the very wet and shortened Alpine Rally in Victoria, where the crew were seeded 106th in a field of 106. Undaunted by the horrendous track conditions, the team slithered through the stages to finish a highly creditable 45th.

During the extended off-season, the Hyundai Excel has had an extensive makeover featuring new paint and some fancy artwork added to the bonnet.

“Kermit, as all green cars are named, is looking pretty spruced up. Bring on the Rally of the Bay,” Holloway joked.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay is set to take place on the 4th of July with a field of over 80 cars set to take to the roads of the forests surrounding Batemans Bay.

PHOTO: Holloway and Hood at the Heartland Rally in South Australia

Cooper Tyres join High Country Motorsports

By Rally, Rally of the Bay 2020

The team at High Country Motorsports are busy preparing for there much anticipated return to motorsport next month at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.

With the last event for the team being well over 9 months ago, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes.

High Country Motorsports is excited to announce they will be partnering with Cooper motorsport tyres to launch the brand new Cooper Discoverer DG1 gravel rally tyre in Australia. They will be making the most of a pre-event test day being run in the Kowen forest just outside of Canberra in the week leading up to the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.

Due to COVID-19 this will be the team’s first chance to become familiar with the brand new Cooper Discoverer DG1 gravel rally tyres and reacquaint themselves in the car. The team are excited to bring another tyre brand into the Australian market and with the well regarded reputation of Cooper tyres it’s sure to give them the confidence they need on the roads around Batemans Bay.

High Country Motorsports is made up of Driver Chris Higgs and co-driver Daymon Nicoli.