DOB: 6 December 1974
Team: Neal Bates Motorsport (Lewis Bates)
Sponsors: Neal Bates
Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales
Live: Out of a suitcase
Hobbies: Riding Motorbike, Mountain bike and Jet Ski
Favourite rally event:
Finland for the roads and atmosphere in the WRC, Dakar rally for the world’s toughest physical and mental challenge.
Favourite rally stage:
Bauxite in Greece, my first outright WRC stage win in 2009 (Citroen C4 WRC).
Very first rally memory/experience:
Watching Neal and Coral flying through the Canberra forest in an old Celica Gt4.
The moment you knew you were hooked on rally:
First event, only lasted a few km’s but so much more of an adventure than going round in circles on the track.
Career highlight to date:
Championships all mean a lot but finishing my first Dakar rally was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, so the feeling of accomplishment there is the highest for me.
Most memorable rally moment:
In 2017, I had a very bad accident on a tarmac rally where the tree definitely won the battle. I smashed my knee to bits, broke my back and ribs so spent some time in hospital with leg and back braces. It was a tough road to recovery but I was back in the car 12 weeks later. I won’t ever forget that day in a hurry though.
Dream rally car:
2009 Citroen C4 WRC.
Dream road car:
Current road car:
Subaru Forester XT.
Who is your idol or inspiration:
I’ve been fortunate to get to know Denis Giraudet and Kaj Lindstrom well over the years and I love the way they go about their jobs in a calm, no fuss and friendly way. Working hard always pays off.
Best advice ever received:
If you sit and wait to be given something, you’ll be there a long time.
If you could invite three people to dinner, who would they be:
The sucky answer is my wife and two kids, but I’d ditch them for Jim Carey, Dan Riciardo and Salma Hayek. In fact I’d ditch Jim and Dan for just Salma.
Tell us one thing about yourself most people don’t know:
I’m 196cm tall, the same as Michael Jordan.
First competitive rally:
SSS Oberon rally 1993.
Coffs Harbour ARC, 1996.
Fifth overall in Sardinia WRC.
2005: ARC Champion with Cody Crocker
2011: European Champion Production Cup with Toshi Arai
2014: ARC Champion with Scott Pedder