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AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay pushed back to November

By News, Rally, Rally of the Bay 2021, Wheelspin

The 2021 AMH Rally of the Bay organising team recently met to decide on the 2021 running of the AMH Rally of the Bay. The team considered a range of options and have decided to consult competitors and partners with the view to running the event on the 13th of November.

Event Manager, Nigel Bland said that there are many factors to consider in making any decision and that North Shore Sporting Car Club (NSSCC) has a responsibility to both the Community of Batemans Bay as well as rally teams to run the rally this year.

“We have major partners on the South Coast who supported our event this year, plus some have also been involved with the rally for many years”, Bland said. “We need to do the right thing by these partners and also consider what our competitors want from us”.

“We know our partners want us to proceed, we know the community of Batemans Bay want us to run the rally, so we now need to understand what the majority of our competitors want.”, added Bland.

“We know that the date we are proposing is going to be unpopular with some as the end of the year will have a lot of events close together, but unfortunately we have been put in this position by circumstances beyond our control”, Bland concluded.

In choosing the proposed date of the 13th of November the club carefully considered other events, however, that was the only date available to NSSCC and club President Brett Middleton expects that most competitors will want the rally to go ahead.

“It’s been a difficult time for all motorsport events”, Middleton said. “We’ve already asked some of our teams what they want to do, and the vast majority have agreed we should run the event. We’ve still got 76 entries confirmed and we plan to contact each team and give them the opportunity to provide us their feedback on the proposed date”, Middleton concluded.

NSSCC will give teams and stakeholders the opportunity to provide their feedback and input. The club will provide further information in coming days.

Photo: Taylor Gill and Peter Harris at the 2020 AMH Rally of the Bay – Photo by Roy Meuronen.

AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay Proceeding on 28 August

By Events, News, Rally of the Bay 2021, Spectators, Wheelspin

Photo: Bruce Moxon

The 2021 AMH Rally of the Bay organising team has officially announced that the 2021 running of the AMH Rally of the Bay will now take place on Saturday the 28th of August.
Event Manager, Nigel Bland is confident that when the current NSW lockdowns are lifted the team from North Shore Sporting Car Club (NSSCC) will be ready to run the event.

“We’ve been really lucky to have a number of volunteers based in Batemans Bay come on board to help us get things ready. Whilst we can’t get down to the Bay ourselves, our volunteers have been getting out into the forests preparing for the rally”, Bland said.

“The current COVID situation is very fluid, and we really don’t know what restrictions will be in place by the end of August, so we are moving forward with the event as planned. Should things change, we’ll make that decision closer to the event”, added Bland.

The proposed date of the 28th of August was originally slated for a Rallysprint run by Shoalhaven and Kiama Districts Auto Club (SKDAC) and was offered to NSSCC.

“We really appreciate SKDAC giving up their rallysprint date so we could re-schedule our event. In fact, we didn’t even have to ask them. They offered it up to us when it looked like the restrictions would impact the event. We really want to thank SKDAC and particularly SKDAC President Peter Ewing for the club’s generosity” Bland concluded.

The Rally of the Bay is still looking for officials and volunteers and if you would like to assist on the 28th August, simply send an email to andrew.benefield@nsscc.com.au

AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay postponed

By Events, News, Rally, Rally of the Bay 2021, Wheelspin

Organisers of the 2021 AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay have made the difficult decision to postpone the event and are working with relevant authorities and the NSW Rally Panel to secure August 28.

With ongoing restrictions in Sydney and beyond, North Shore Sporting Car Club (NSSCC) is not confident that travel constraints will change sufficiently to allow the event to proceed on the 17th of July.

Event Manager Nigel Bland said the decision was extremely difficult. “Even if the stay-at-home order in Sydney is lifted, there’s still a good chance people will be restricted from travelling” he said. “And whilst many of the competitors are not Sydney based, the entire organising team is.”

“That’s left us in a difficult position. Do we continue with the event and hope that everything gets opened up next weekend, or do we make the decision now to give competitors the opportunity to plan for a new date.”

“There are so many variables at play here that it’s just not worth the risk to continue with the original date.”, Bland said.

The proposed date of the 28th of August was originally slated for a Rallysprint run by Shoalhaven and Kiama Districts Auto Club (SKDAC) and was offered to NSSCC.

“We really appreciate SKDAC giving up their rallysprint date so we could re-schedule our event. In fact we didn’t even have to ask them. They offered it up to us when it looked like the restrictions would impact the event. We really want to thank SKDAC and particularly SKDAC President Peter Ewing for their generosity” Bland concluded.

The event organising team met today and were confident the date change was the right decision based on the evolving health situation.

“The other option was to cancel the event altogether”, said NSSCC President, Brett Middleton.

“But there’s so many businesses in the Eurobodalla Shire that rely on our event. Last year we estimated the rally brought $750,000 worth of economic benefit to the region and it’s important for us to support the local community”, Middleton continued.

“Three of our major partners are local to Batemans Bay including the Batemans Bay Marina Resort, the Village Centre and Bridge Plaza shopping centres and the Eurobodalla Shire. We’ve already invested in a major marketing campaign in the lead up to the event so moving the date is the best outcome for everyone.”

“We understand this now puts some pressure on competitors because there are other events that are now closer to ours, but the Rally of the Bay is such an iconic event and we know our rally teams will expect us to reschedule and go ahead with it”, Middleton said.

“With event scrutineering due to start this weekend, it’s important to make the decision before people start to get prepared. We hope our customers stick with us and that the event goes ahead in August and is a great success”, Middleton concluded.

NSSCC expect to formally announce the new date early next week.

Penny swaps WRX for Classic Nissan for AMH Rally of the Bay

By Events, News, Rally, Rally of the Bay 2021, Wheelspin

Regular NSW Rally Championship contenders, Andrew Penny and Rhys Llewellyn have swapped their Subaru WRX for a Classic Nissan 240RS for the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay. The pair have intensified their commitment in 2021, taking on the NSW Championship as well as the Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC).

At the Accent Benchtops Rally of Queensland ARC event in May, Penny rolled the WRX, putting them out of the event and leaving the car damaged.

“With Queensland, we had a bit of a misdemeanour in the forest with the GC8, so that’s in the process of being repaired”, Penny said.

“I saw the 240RS for sale online and it turned out that Michael Harding had it and over a work-related conversation we struck up a deal. I didn’t actually mean to buy it but decided that it would be a bit of fun. It’s super cool, and that’s why I bought it. And I’d just sold a ski boat, so I swapped a ski boat for another rally car”, Penny joked.

Penny and Llewellyn have entered the AMH Rally of the Bay to continue their bid for the NSW Rally championship, but also to get some practice in the new car before the Alpine Rally at the end of the year.

“We’re going to do the Alpine because someone said it was a fun rally to go to. But, I’ve actually never driven a rear wheel drive rally car and I figured the only way to learn was to get in and have a go. It looks like fun, but I don’t know how fast I’m going to be, but the car is allegedly very quick” Penny says.

The Nissan 240RS has some rally heritage and was built in Victoria by well-known rally driver Darren Snooks. The car has rallied in New Zealand with former Australian Rally Champion, Simon Evans behind the wheel. The car has a five-link rear end, FJ240 motor, twin 48 webers, dry sump, electric steering with a ratio reducer and was built to a high specification.

The Alpine Rally is a road book event, but Penny says he is planning on using Pace Notes at the Rally of the Bay.

“Rhys asked me if we’re going to use the Road book, but I said no, we’re going all in. I want to go as fast as we can with as much knowledge as we can. And I reckon knowing what’s around the next corner is going to help me learn faster”, Penny added.

“We want to go as fast and as hard as we can, because I don’t want to drive slow. I’m too competitive”, Penny concluded.

The Nissan 240RS is also eligible for the East Coast Classic Rally Series and this will be Penny and Llewellyn’s first appearance in the classic rally series. They currently rank eight overall on the 2021 NSW Rally Championship scoreboard with 28 points. Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith lead the series on 50 points.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay is set to take place on Saturday the 17th of July in the forests surrounding Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast. The first car will be flagged away from Corrigan’s Beach Reserve in Batehaven at 8:45am.

Rally Proceeding as Planned – COVID Update

By Events, News, Rally, Rally of the Bay 2021, Wheelspin

The 2021 AMH Rally of the Bay organising team would like to reassure the Rally Community that North Shore Sporting Car Club (NSSCC) is proceeding as planned with the running of the Rally of the Bay and at this stage expect the event to take place on the 17th of July.

Whilst the greater Sydney area is in a NSW Government imposed Stay at Home Order, the current advice is that the lockdown will end on the 9th of July and the rally can therefore proceed. Should government regulations or conditions change, the NSSCC organising team will make further announcements closer to the event.

“We have permits, we’re COVID complaint, our submissions are approved and everything’s in place”, said Event Manager and NSSCC Vice President, Nigel Bland. “It’s important that we focus on getting on with running the event and making sure that everything is ready for the 17th of July. We’ve put so much effort into preparing for the rally, and we know that teams are going to love the new format and roads that we’re using”, Bland added.

“Additional planning is underway to allow us to easily change things if we need to to meet government controls. We ran the Service Park with pretty stringent controls in place last year, so if we need to do that all again, we’ll be ready” Bland concluded.

NSSCC President Brett Middleton said there was more than just the rally to consider. “The Eurobodalla Shire has invested significantly in our event”, Middleton said. “We have many partners locally and across the motorsport community that have also invested in the Rally. The Batemans Bay business community also needs our support, especially after the fires, and last year’s COVID lockdowns.”

“The Rally of the Bay always has a significant impact on the local economy and last year we know there was a huge economic boost to Batemans Bay and surrounds because of our event, and we want to repeat that again this year”, Middleton concluded.

The Rally of the Bay is still looking for officials and volunteers and if you would like to assist on the 17th of July, simply send an email to andrew.benefield@nsscc.com.au

Competitors with any concerns can call the event manager on 0411 644 193 or send an email to media@nsscc.com.au

Shopping Centres continue support of AMH Rally of the Bay

By Events, News, Rally, Rally of the Bay 2021, Wheelspin

The Village Centre and Bridge Plaza has renewed their support of the North Shore Sporting Car Clubs, AMH Rally of the Bay. The Village Centre and Bridge Plaza shopping centres came on board as a major partner in 2020 and continue that partnership for 2021.

In announcing the renewed partnership, North Shore Sporting Car Club (NSSCC) President Brett Middleton said “We’re glad to have the Village Centre and Bridge Plaza back on board as one of our major partners this year. They are a great supporter of our event, and they provide the best place to shop for the vast majority of the rally teams that attend and compete in the event.”

“It was really great to welcome the Village Centre and Bridge Plaza shopping centres as a new major partner last year, and even better to be able to continue our relationship in 2021. The two shopping centres are an essential part of the rally. Most teams will shop locally for their supplies, rather than bring it with them, so having this relationship continue this year is just more good news for the rally, for Batemans Bay and for jobs in the local community”, Middleton added.

The rally of the Bay Event Manager, Nigel Bland expects up to 90 rally teams to descend on the Batemans Bay township on the weekend of the 17th of July.

“It’s fantastic to have local businesses on-board,” said Bland. “As a rally community we want to give back to the local community and that’s why we are encouraging all of our teams to shop local and get their supplies from the Village Centre and Bridge Plaza. We know our event will bring a much-needed boost to the local Batemans Bay economy and we’ll be encouraging them to spend locally as much as possible”.

“This will be the second Rally in the NSW championship and it’s also a promotional round of the Motorsport Australia Rally Championship”, Bland said. “So, we’re expecting a bigger turnout than a normal NSW round as the rally is now a great test run for teams looking to participate in the Australian Rally Championship when it resumes later in the year. And whilst our event is only a promotional ARC round, we’ve already had plenty of interest from the top level of the sport, with many national teams already entered”, Bland concluded.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay is set to take place on Saturday the 17th of July in the forests surrounding Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast. The first car will be flagged away from Corrigan’s Beach Reserve in Batehaven at 8:45am. The Rally forms part of the MTA NSW Rally Championship, East Coast Classic Rally Series, NSW Clubman Rally Series, Hyundai Rally Series, and ACT Regional Rally Series. Almost 80 entries have been received, with 3 weeks remaining before entries close.

About the Village Centre and Bridge Plaza shopping Centres
The Village Centre and Bridge Plaza shopping centres in Batemans Bay feature Coles, Kmart, Woolworths and Aldi plus over 50 great specialty stores. The shopping centres feature wonderful fashion, delicious food and an upbeat atmosphere delightfully located in the heart of beautiful Batemans Bay. Undercover parking and easy access from the Princes Highway make shopping a breeze.

Club Catalina destination for AMH Rally of the Bay Social Hub

By Events, News, Rally, Rally of the Bay 2021, Wheelspin

The AMH Rally of the Bay will bring teams from across the state and beyond to Batemans Bay over the weekend of the 17th of July and event organisers from North Shore Sporting Car Club have worked with Club Catalina to establish the venue as the ‘Social Hub’ for the rally.

“We haven’t had the opportunity to socialise at rallies for a while with COVID, so we thought we needed to establish a Social Hub”, Club President, Brett Middleton said. “Club Catalina was the perfect choice. It’s right across the road from Rally HQ and an easy walk from the official rally accommodation at the Batemans Bay Marina Resort”, Middleton added.

“Club Catalina has great facilities with multiple bars, a café, bistro and a fantastic Golf Course. We’ve planned a meet and greet social get together for Friday night and we’d love to see all of our drivers, co-drivers, service crew and officials attend. In fact, everyone is welcome”, Middleton said.

“Having a Social Hub gives our Rally Teams the opportunity to grab a meal together in the lead up to the event and makes catching up with friends so much easier. Hopefully I’ll see you there one night for dinner”, Middleton concluded.

The Rally Meet and Greet will get underway from 7:30pm on Friday the 16th of July in the main lounge area of Club Catalina with food available from the Bistro and drinks available from the bar.

All new route for AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay

By Events, Rally of the Bay 2021, Spectators, Wheelspin

The route for the 2021 AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay has been finalised and crews who have entered the pace noted component of the event are now able to begin their reconnaissance.

The route for this year’s event is significantly different to the previous few years with some fantastic stages set to be used in the forests surrounding Batemans Bay. In setting the route, Road Director John McCredie has gone back to using some of the roads that the Rally of the Bay became renowned for.

“It’s quite a different route” McCredie said. “The weather events over the past 12 month’s combined with the bush fires at the beginning of 2020 have meant we needed to change the route this year”.

“So, we looked around at different options and decided to use a few roads that the event hasn’t used for many years, like Ridge Road and Dog Trap Road on the Eastern Side of the Princes Highway, just to the west of Batehaven. This has also allowed us to add a Spectator Point just 5 minutes from town”.

“We initially planned on using River Road again, but there were sections that weren’t up to the quality we are known to deliver. Plus, it’s sometimes good to consider the residents in choosing roads and this year we decided that because parts of River Road were corrugated, it was a good chance to give the residents a rally free year”, McCredie concluded.

8 Stage Event

The event will use four stages, each repeated to provide a total of 8 stages.

The AGI Roll Cages Dog Trap 1 and Premier Panel Beating Dog Trap 2 stage is an 8.6km run with flowing corners along the ridge at the top of the spur behind Batehaven.

The Shamrock Haulage Buckenbowra 1 and Activ Rallysport Buckenbowra 2 stage re-uses the end of the 2020 “run to Mogo” stage in reverse, before turning right into Ross Ridge Road. This part of the stage is a downhill roller-coaster, with blind crests and sweeping bends to the flying finish.

The Techworkz Automotive Western Distributor 1 and SW Motorsport Western Distributor 2 stage starts in Wallaby Road before turning right into Western Distributor Road for 21km of technical sections and fast sweeping bends. The stage ends at Mares Hill Road and is sure to be a favourite with drivers.

The Premier Pools Clyde Ridge 1 and Brumby Bar & Grill Clyde Ridge 2 stage uses the best sections of the 2020 Drury stage except in reverse, a flowing fast section on wide forgiving roads. The stage then turns hard left into Lyons Road for a technical downhill section to the Flying Finish.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay is set to take place on Saturday the 17th of July in the forests surrounding Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast. The first car will be flagged away from Corrigan’s Beach Reserve in Batehaven at 8:45am.

Big field set to start the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay

By Events, News, Rally of the Bay 2021, Wheelspin

Mal Keough in the Audi Quattro – Photo Roy Meuronen

Almost 60 entries have so far been received for the 2021 AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay, less than a week after entries were officially opened for the popular event based in the Eurobodalla Shire, on the NSW South Coast.

The event has a maximum field of 90 and with many outright contenders on the list, the rally is going to be a spectacular show with several teams capable of winning.

The rally will be the second round of the MTA NSW Rally Championship, after the Bega Rally was forced to postpone its event in June. The event will also be a promotional round of the Motorsport Australian Rally Championship (ARC). It is expected that many ARC teams will use the event as a test before their next championship round gets underway in Tasmania later in the year.

The list of outright contenders for the NSW Rally Championship is headed by former Australian Rally Champion and 2019 East Coast Classic Rally Series winner Nathan Quinn with Ray Winwood-Smith in the Co-driver’s seat. Quinn won the opening round of the NSW series and will be looking to make it two in a row.

Another contender for victory in the NSW Series is Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt in a Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Yaris AP4. The pairing from Sydney have won the event in the past and will be looking to improve their 2nd outright position in the NSW Championship.

Whilst Chris Higgs is yet to enter the rally, it is expected that he and co-driver Steve Fisher will be lined up at the start to defend and improve on their third outright position in the NSW Championship. Higgs will be driving his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 6 and is just 3 points behind Dalton.

Other teams capable of winning the NSW Championship component of the event include Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 and last year’s champions Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell in a Subaru WRX.

The Promotional ARC status of the event has also attracted the Toyota Gazoo Racing team of Harry Bates/John McCarthy and Lewis Bates/Anthony Mcloughlin who have both entered in Toyota Yaris AP4’s. Luke Annear and Andy Sarandis are also entered in their Ford Fiesta R5.

The Activ Rallysport Team from Melbourne is also sending a contingent of drivers including JJ Hatton/John Allen in a Hyundai i20 G4 and Troy Dowell/Bernie Webb in a Volkswagen Polo.

Rally fans are also in for a treat with Tom Dermody and Eoin Moynihan entered in the Ford Escort RS1800. They headline the many classic cars that are older than 30 years showing up for the East Coast Classic 2WD Rally Series. But they will have stiff competition from the likes of Andrew Penny and Rhys Llewellyn in a Nissan 240RS, who have swapped from their Subaru WRX after an accident at the previous round of the ARC.

Mal Keough and Jacci Sharkey are entered in the ever-spectacular Audi Quattro S1 and will be the first of the East Coast Classic 4WD Rally Series cars to start the event. Keough is leading the 4WD ECCRS and is also sitting in 5th position in the NSW Rally Championship.

“It’s great to see so many entries in the first week”, said Event Manager Nigel Bland. “We’re really looking forward to seeing who else enters, and we’re likely to have a full field of 90 cars so it’s going to be quite an exciting event”, Bland added.

The AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay is set to take place on Saturday the 17th of July in the forests surrounding Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast. The first car will be flagged away from Corrigan’s Beach Reserve in Batehaven at 8:45am.

Entries Received

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