Home town hero Harry Bates won Canberra’s 2017 National Capital Rally in style, completing a clean sweep of heats one and two to take out round three of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship.
Bates and co-driver John McCarthy led the event from the start, only relinquishing top spot once to Taylor after the second stage. Bates regained the lead in SS3 and the pair never looked back; but Bates said the win was anything but easy.
Rounding out the podium was another Canberra local, Mick Patton. Patton and co-driver Bernie Webb were the surprise packet of the round, returning to the the Australian Rally Championship after a seven-month break from the sport.
The National Capital Rally was cruel to a number of the ARC front runners; Coffs Coast Rally Team’s Nathan Quinn and David Calder battled through heat two after suffering two flat tyres on Sunday’s second stage, even posting the fastest time on the final stage, only to suffer mechanical issues on the return to the service park, robbing them of any points from heat two.
Eli Evans was another hard luck story; Evans and co-driver Glen Weston posted the fastest time on Sunday’s second stage, only to break a control arm on the next stage. The pair were able to make the final control to salvage some points from heat two.
The ARC Classic class was won by Jandal Sport’s Brett Stephens and Tony Brandon; ARC2 was won by Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell.
NATIONAL CAPITAL RALLY PODIUM
1. Harry Bates/John McCarthy – Toyota
2. Molly Taylor/Bill Hayes – Subaru
3. Mick Patton/Bernie Webb – Mitsubishi