Lewis Bates takes Championship lead with Adelaide victory

Lewis Bates and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin have stormed into the lead of the 2022 RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship.

Their victory in the Adelaide Hills Rally sees them edge out brother Harry Bates and co-driver John McCarthy after back-to-back wins.

It was a dominant performance from the younger Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia driver, taking a number of stage wins throughout the weekend, including maximum bonus points in the EROAD Power Stage.

With Sunday’s action all taking place around The Bend Motorsport Park as part of The Bend AutoFest, rain threatened to cause drama throughout the day. While several stages were cancelled, the majority took place allowing competitors to enjoy plenty of time at the world class facility.

With a handy lead in the bank on Sunday, Lewis enjoyed a consistent outing across the day – culminating in the tightest of victories in the EROAD Power Stage, edging out brother by just a hundredth of a second.

Shamrock Motorsport’s Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt finished the event in second, while young gun Troy Dowel and co-driver Bernie Webb rounded out the podium in third.

Lewis was understandably delighted with his win.

“It’s been an amazing weekend, I think we won 12 stages and by far that’s the best performance we’ve ever had in the Australian Rally Championship,” Lewis said.

“We were also able to have the better of Harry and John for a period of time on both gravel and tarmac which was exciting in itself. I think that added confidence after Gippsland enabled us to push a little harder and gave us that slight bit of belief that Harry and John are actually beatable.

“It was unfortunate for them (Harry and John) to have their issues because it was a cool battle we were in, it was intense and we were all enjoying it so I hope we can continue that in Coffs Harbour.

“The GR Yaris was amazing all weekend, straight out the box it just clicked. It felt like I was at one with the car from that first stage on Friday night and that carried on all the way through.”

Lewis and McLoughlin also secured the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship victory ahead of Dalton and Moscatt, while Realty Lane’s Daniel Gonzalez and Larisa Biggar secured third place in the APRC qualifier.

In the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup, Jamie Luff and Bradley Luff took out the win ahead of locals Zayne Admiraal and Matthew Heywood. Curiositi’s Taylor Gill and Daniel Brkic ended the Cup battle in third.

For the Shamrock Haulage 2WD Cup runners, James Dimmock and Paul Bennett secured the win ahead of Guy Tyler and Steven Fisher. Glenn Campbell and Darran Ambrose rounded out the 2WD podium.

Meanwhile, the battle of the juniors continues to heat up with South Australians Molly Spalding and Douglas Johnson taking the win ahead of Dimmock and Bennett.

And in the ARC Classic Cup, David Thomson and Matthew Sanders completed the event to secure a class win in their might Mazda RX7.

The RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship returns to Coffs Harbour for the first time since 2018, with the Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally hosting the Championship decider, as well as the winner takes all FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship finale.

That event takes place on 25-27 November, with free attendance for all spectators and a number of fan-friendly activation at the Service Park at C.ex Stadium.

Photos: Daniel Kalisz Photography