Bates clean sweeps Queensland

Harry Bates and John McCarthy have made it two consecutive RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) victories after dominating the 2021 Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland.

The 2019 champions proved just too strong for the 29-car ARC field, winning a clean sweep of stages throughout the weekend to comfortably win by more than two minutes.

Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin made it a Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia one-two after they escaped a few scares on Sunday to secure a well-deserved second place.

While the difference between the Bates brothers was two minutes, the battle for second went right down to the wire as Lewis just edged out Western Victorian Crane Trucks’ Arron Windus and Daniel Brkic by just 17 seconds.

Heading into Sunday with a one minute lead over his brother, Harry had all but sealed the event by Sunday’s first service break after Lewis had an off on the ninth stage and was 50 seconds off the pace.

Although a hole in his GR Yaris AP4 radiator forced him to start the stage behind Lewis and sent a few nerves around the Neal Bates Motorsport camp, Harry bounced back and won the stage.

Outside of a minor overshoot at a hairpin on the Elysian Energy Power Stage, it was an otherwise straight-forward weekend for Harry as he went on to take out maximum points from the rally.

“We developed a small issue with the radiator before the third stage today, but the Neal Bates Motorsport team fixed it during the Service and it held through for the rest of the day.”
It was a far closer battle behind the leader as Lewis’ off on SS9 brought Windus right back into the game – Windus overcoming a late puncture on that stage to go 12th fastest and into second place.
However that’s as good as it got to the former Victorian Rally Champion, as Lewis showed his strength and went faster on all three of the final stages.

Windus’ strong showing on Sunday also saw him secure White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup honours.

AGI Roll Cages’ Luke Anear and Andy Sarandis enjoyed a fairly drama-free event to finish in fourth place, while Tasmanians Marcus Walkem and John Allen rounded out the top five.

It was a fantastic result for Walkem, who was running in his first ARC event in almost two years – the Hyundai Dealer Team Hyundai i30 R5 pilot improving dramatically on Sunday to finish the heat in fourth place after finishing Saturday’s heat in ninth.

Making up the rest of the top 10 were Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt, Elysian Energy Power Stage runner-up Clayton Hoy and co-driver Erin Kelly, Chris Higgs and Steve Fisher, teenager Taylor Gill and Ben Atkinson and local crew Ryan Williams alongside Brad Jones.

In addition to their first ever top 10 finishes, Williams and Jones also managed to secure both the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup and the ARC Junior Cup.

Finishing in second place behind the Queenslander in both Cups was debutant Max McRae – the promising teenager also finishing the event in 14th outright.

Two places behind him on the outright standings was the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup third placed crew in Dean Ridge and Hugh Taylor, while 17th place Ryan Poel and Rebekah Cutting rounded out the ARC Junior Cup Podium.

Click here to see full results.

The ARC returns at the start of July with the Les Walkden Enterprises Rally Tasmania in Launceston on 2-3 July.

Photos: CH Images