The RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship might not be heading out west this year but it hasn’t stopped one of its most popular events from going ahead.
The picturesque region of Collie will be hosting the Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally with 46 crews from around Western Australia to do battle on Sunday.
Also taking place during the Forest Rally will be the Clubman Masters and Clubman Cup Series where eight of the 46 entered crews will go up against each other.
Unlike previous years, the event will be held over one day with crews to complete up to 140 competitive kilometres across eight different stages – some of which would be quite familiar to the Australian rally fan.
Starting near Harvey, crews will drive on some of the famous roads that formed part of Rally Australia and the FIA World Rally Championship when it was held in Western Australia, the last time being back in 2006.
The old WRC stages where the 2020 rally runs will take place enable crews to compete on roads in Harvey Weir, Brunswick and Wellington, which includes the event’s biggest stage, the 31 kilometre trek around Wellington Dam.
While the stages will certainly attract a number of fans, the entry list proves just as impressive with a number of top WA based drivers and co-drivers locked in.
Reigning state champions John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver will once again headline the field in their Truck Wholesale WA Skoda Fabia R5, but will be facing lots of pressure from a range of competitors.
Their biggest threat comes in the form of 2019 runners-up Ben Searcy and James Marquet in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 and Craig Rando, who will be alongside Stephen Wade and hoping to steer his Subaru Impreza WRX ST to one better after coming close to some rally wins last year.
Another notable entry to take on these famous roads is six-time Make Smoking History Targa West winner Peter Major. Behind the wheel of his own Evo 9, Major and co-driver Declan Stafford might be the dark horses in the gravel rally.
Like most WA based events, spectators will be welcome to attend the event for free, albeit in certain areas. There are four points available to fans with the event’s Brunswick Stage (SS2), Wellington Stage (SS4 and SS7) and two areas within the Brook Stage (SS5 and SS8) open for viewing.
Fans will also be able to catch up with the crews and their cars in the Service Park in Collie at different points during the event.
As the first car, Searcy and Marquet leave the opening stage at Stanton Park in Harvey at 8.30am local time before the starting the final stage in Yabberupat 3:45pm.
The 2020 Make Smoking History Forest Rally will take place around Collie on 13 September.