Bates’ performance during Scouts Rally SA, on his debut at the wheel of the S2000, was nothing short of spectacular, regularly challenging far more experienced veterans of the category in Mick Patton, Marcus Walkem and Mark Pedder.
In the end he scored seven stage wins, took the Heat win on the Sunday and secured second outright on the 4WD podium behind Walkem. But rallying is expensive and success on the track rarely, if ever, equates to a forthcoming budget.
“It all comes down to finding a budget to compete,” quickly added Bates. “Rallying is definitely an expensive sport, and the faster the car the faster the bills seems to add up, so standing here right now we do need to find the dollars to run the whole year if that’s what we end up doing.”
“Logistically it’s going to be a big year next year for Neal Bates Motorsport with Toyota’s one-make 86 (circuit racing) series starting, so we need to look at all these factors before we can really decide what’s achievable or not for me.”
Harry said he’s confident of at least making the opening Round of the year in Western Australia, the Quit Forest Rally.
“We’d like to be at the first Round, and if we can get there and get a strong result off the bat, like we did in South Australia, then that’d really give us the best chance to doing the full season.”
The recent announcement of the 2016 Australian Rally Championship calendar sees the Quit Forest Rally kick off the year in late April, before Bates’ home Round in Canberra in late May, then Queensland in June, South Australia in September and the World Rally Championship finale in Coffs Harbour in the middle of November.