Forest Rally shaping up for big ARC battle  

After a huge opening to the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) in Canberra, the championship heads west for round two.

Taking place towards the end of May, the Make Smoking History Forest Rally will be returning to the national calendar for the first time since 2019 and has already piqued the interest of a number of the nation’s top crews.

Headlining the entry list so far are current championship leaders Harry Bates and John McCarthy and their Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin

Having won the last ARC round in Western Australia, the reigning champions enter the event full of confidence.

“After more than three years, we’re looking forward to heading across the country to WA for the Make Smoking History Forest Rally,” Harry said.

“The stages are quite challenging with a good mixture of roads, so it should be a fun weekend.

“We have been keeping tabs on the event over the past couple of years as the Western Australian Rally Championship has still run events there and it looks like there aren’t too many changes to previous years so we should be pretty familiar with the event.

“One thing that is different though is the new super special stage, which will be run on gravel instead of tarmac and that’s new for everyone, so we’re excited for that – especially since WA usually attracts massive crowds.

“Obviously we had a great result last time we were there and we’re hopeful of replicating that success to continue our momentum from Canberra.”

Photo: Epic Sports Photography

Joining the two Toyota crews will be their previously owned Toyota Yaris AP4, driven by Shamrock Motorsport’s Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt.

It was a mixed Netier National Capital Rally for the duo, who had a tough Saturday but a fairly smooth Sunday to finish the season opener in seventh outright.

Another driver already entered in WA and looking to reignite his season is Winpart Group’s Nathan Quinn after he and Ray Winwood-Smith had to deal with multiple mechanical issues to the Hyundai i20 during the event.

The 2017 ARC champion will be hoping to have a similar result to the last time he made an appearance in WA with a podium place.

Of course, the event will also welcome quite a few local stars who have been keeping busy in a competitive Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship over the past two years.

Leading the charge for the local talent will be young gun Max McRae, who has already shown plenty of promise in his first couple of years behind the wheel.

It won’t be the first time McRae has contested the ARC having enjoyed success at last year’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland – the teenager claiming podiums in both the Shamrock Haulage ARC 2WD Cup and the Glendun ARC Junior Cup.

Other WA local crews to look out for include Glenn Alcorn and Jonathan Charlesson, who have won a heat at state level before fellow top state contenders in Gary Mills and Mitch Gray.

Entries for the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship’s second round close on 11 May and interested crews can enter here.

The Make Smoking History Forest Rally takes place in Bunbury and Nannup on 20-22 May.