Teenager Josh Wiedman will tick off a new milestone in his Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) journey when he heads to this month’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally.
In what will be just the Queenslander’s third ever ARC round and first in WA, the Forest Rally will be the farthest he has ever travelled for a motorsport event – an impressive feat considering he has raced all over the country for the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship.
Locked in to run the rest of the ARC season in the Shamrock ARC Junior Cup and ARC 2WD Cup, Wiedman will be behind the wheel of the same Fiesta he ran in Coffs Coast last year.
However, the car has had some modifications since last year’s season finale, the most notable change being the addition of a turbo engine – an upgrade that has given him plenty of confidence.
Further enhancing his confidence would be his Junior Cup victory in the Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship’s season opener in Manumbar earlier this year.
Now with the newly turned 18-year-old currently attending drifting events at Ebisu Circuit in Japan, he will return home soon before making the big journey across the country for the second round of the ARC season.
“Going to WA is a bit different to what I am used to, but I am fairly excited as I have seen all the stages and they look sick,” Wiedman said.
“We are currently in Japan, which has been a lot of fun and will return this Saturday before heading to our only major test session in Warwick the following day.
“Following that, we will send the car to a workshop to make sure its suspension is all good and then the car will be transported to WA, while we will fly which will be a nice change.
“We wanted to go to Launceston for the opening round, but we couldn’t get over there. We have been preparing for this one for a while now so we should have no problems.”
As for the event itself, Wiedman had no major expectations but was heading into the round with some clear goals.
“The car is really good, and the turbo certainly gives me a lot of confidence. It will be so much fun,” Wiedman added.
“We had that win in the Queensland Rally Championship and the car held up better than we thought – especially since it’s a rough track.
“We have no huge expectations for WA from an outright point of view though, but we will try and win the Junior and 2WD Cups. Obviously, we need to work hard, but I just need to be careful because it’s a brand new car.
“It’s been a pretty seamless transition from off road to rally but the only thing I struggled with was going from all-wheel-drive to two-wheel-drive. Other than that, I am good to go.
“Hopefully we have a strong start to our campaign and I am super keen, especially being a new event and a new car.”
The 2023 Make Smoking History Forest Rally takes place in Bunbury and Nannup on 19-21 May.