Rally in Australia officially returns this weekend with the MTA Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship running the first of its five round 2020 season on Saturday.
Taking place in Batemans Bay, the AMH Automotive Rally of the Bay will play host to an impressive field of 85 crews, including many national level competitors, who will battle it out over 139 competitive kilometres across seven stages.
The entry list for the first state event in the country since COVID-19 restrictions were eased features a number of RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) regulars, with reigning ARC champions Harry Bates and John McCarthy leading the all star cast.
For Bates, not only will this weekend be special, as it’s the first major rally for the year, but it’s an event for which he holds close to his heart.
“I was very keen to do it because it’s not only a fantastic event, but it was where I did my first ever rally back in 2014 and I have only been back once since. It will be the first time in five years I compete there and I know they’re fantastic roads,” Bates said.
Bates won’t be the only ARC star to look out for over the weekend with the likes of Nathan Quinn, Luke Anear, Tom Clarke, Richie Dalton, Darren Windus and JJ Hatton also contesting.
A number of young guns will also be having a serious crack at the New South Wales based event with Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia’s Lewis Bates leading the challenger charge, while Troy Dowel and teenager Taylor Gill will also be looking to make their mark on the sport.
Touted as a future star of Australian rally, 16-year-old Gill will be making his long awaited rally debut this weekend – more than seven months after he was meant to make his initial maiden ARC appearance at last year’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
“We built the car in time to do Rally Australia, but when that didn’t happen, it was a big let-down after all the preparation. I’m really excited about competing in Batemans Bay and just want to get out there and do some driving,” Gill said.
The newest tier of national competition, eligible crews can nominate their various home state events, on top of a chosen national event, with this weekend’s rally one of two Rally NSW events accepted for ARC4.
As well as hosting the MTA Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship, the event will also be running the East Coast Classic Rally Series, NSW Techworkz Clubman Rally Series, NSW Hyundai Rally Series and the Techworkz Automotive ACT Regional Rally Series.
While spectators will not be allowed entry due to COVID-19 restrictions, rally fans can keep up to date with live results via multiple platforms, including the Rally NSW Facebook page.
Taking place in Batemans Bay, the AMH Automotive Rally of the Bay action will take from 8.45am on 4 July AEST.