All systems go for highly anticipated National Capital Rally

The entry list for this month’s Netier National Capital Rally has been confirmed with 24 national crews, and a total of 54 entries, from around the country entered into the two-day rally.

With national crews to tackle 126 competitive kilometres across 16 stages in the first ever RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Cup, there will be plenty of entertainment throughout the weekend.

On top of the fight for outright honours, the rally will also see minor battles taking place throughout the field with the Hoosier Challenge and MTA Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship both offering intriguing narratives.

Headlining the entry list and entering as the number one seed are 2019 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Champions (ARC) Harry Bates and John McCarthy.

Like many crews, the 2020 Rally of the Bay winners haven’t had much opportunity to compete this year, but have made it count when they have – just like 2016 ARC champion and this month’s Rally Tasmania winner Molly Taylor, who has Dale Moscatt as her co-driver.

The reigning ARC champions’ Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin, NSW stars Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston and AGI Sport’s Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis make up the top five seedings.

Behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5, Anear and Sarandis won’t be the only crew running in a World Rally Championship-spec car with 2020 Targa Great Barrier Reef winner Tony Quinn also in a Fiesta R5.

Other notable entries entered solely in the ARC Cup include 2018 Rally Australia stage winner JJ Hatton and Nathan Long and fellow G4 driver Troy Dowell who has Bernie Webb alongside him, while ARC regulars Andrew Penny and Rhys Llewellyn will compete in their usual Subaru WRX Sti.

Sitting just outside the top 10 seedings is the only all-Victorian crew of the event with Brendan Reeves and Kate Catford leading the 11-car ARC 2WD Cup field.

The Datsun 1600 drivers will be joined by the likes of Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penney in their popular Nissan 370Z, Trevor Stilling and Nigel Walters in the Nissan Silva and Ford Falcon XR6 regular, Kevin Raedel.

With the Hoosier Challenge offering free entry into an ARC round next year for the winner and three crews have opted to take part in the special competition – two of which sit above Reeves and Catford within the top 10.

Other NSW based crews in a tight battle for the Hoosier Challenge will include Clayton Hoy and co-driver Erin Kelly will have their hands full against fellow Mitsubishi Evo pilots in Chris Higgs and Steve Fisher, as well as youngster Taylor Gill and his co-driver Peter Harris.

All three crews will also feature in the final round of the NSW state championship, which boasts a largy entry list itself.

Other big names to be competing in the NSW championship include Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell in their Citroen DS3 and Audi Quattro drivers Mal Keough and Pip Bennett.

The RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Cup and Netier National Capital Rally takes place on 28-29 November in and around the Cotter Forest in Canberra.

Images: Aaron Wishart