More than 63 crews have taken on one of the biggest state events in the country as Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt took home top honours in the AMH Rally of the Bay.
The CAMS Australian Rally Championship regulars were too good throughout the day, finishing both heats in the top two, while a number of other contenders struggled to finish the joint MTA CAMS NSW Rally Championship and CAMS Hino Geelong Victorian Rally Championship (VRC) round.
A strong heat two from Richard Shimmon and Jim Gleeson saw the Mitsubishi pilots jump from 10th place to second place outright, while Gavin Croker and Brad Fitzgerald claimed the final step of the podium by the smallest of margins over Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell.
Incredibly the Lancer drivers secured the podium finish on the final stage of the day after heading into the event’s sixth stage level with their Citroen DS3 counterparts – a two-second victory eventually proving the difference between the two crews.
Behind the wheel of the VW polo, Darren Windus and Joe Brkic comfortably rounded out the top five, as well as being the best in the VRC .
Following their second consecutive victory at Batemans Bay, Dalton was thrilled to get the victory in a car that the team have developed themselves.
“Our plan was to come back and try to retain the title and we knew it was going to be challenge especially since we had our own car,” Dalton said.
“To go along and beat everyone in a car we have built ourselves was the most satisfying thing. It was a great buzz.
“Mentally I am strong, so we were never in doubt despite not winning the first heat because we were only a couple of seconds behind in each of the first heat stages.
“We knew all along that if we went to the end and made no mistakes, we would be right there and we nailed all the apexes and did everything right so it all worked out.”
DaIton and Moscatt weren’t the only ARC registered crews to have a solid outing in the event as Luke Anear and Steve Glenney steered their Ford Fiesta R5 to seventh place, one place behind Netier National Capital Rally podium place getters Mick Patton and Bernie Webb.
ARC2 reigning champions Andrew Penny and Rhys Llewellyn also managed to sneak into the top 10 with a seventh in heat two sending them up the standings to eighth outright.
While the event saw a number of drivers overcome first heat woes to claim top 10 finishes, it also saw some big fish fail to finish and crumble out of contention.
The biggest crew to fall came in just the first stage as NSW championship leaders Glen Raymond and Kate Catford crashed on the stage – their winning streak of three events coming to end.
Chris Higgs and Daymon Nicoll were out after the second stage, heat one winners Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston were the next to fall, failing to finish the third stage, while JJ Hatton and Nathan Long were unable to start the fourth heat nor finish the event.
The MTA CAMS NSW Rally Championship moves to Bonabo for the fifth round of the championship on 20 July, while the CAMS Hino Geelong Victorian Rally Championship heads to the national stage for the Eureka Rally on 25 August.