A brand new stage in the Nannup Forest will throw a fresh challenge at crews contesting the Make Smoking History Forest Rally from April 27 – 29.
The changes have been introduced as John Gibbons takes the reigns as Forest Rally Clerk of Course, working alongside Ross Tapper, who after 30 years at the helm stepped aside into the Event Director role at the conclusion of the 2017 event.
The red ball-bearing roads that run through the Nannup Pine Plantation Forest are known to be some of the most unique conditions in the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC), with many of the top drivers utilising local knowledge from years of experience to gain an upper hand over the competition.
This year teams will need to harness whatever knowledge they have to tackle the new 13.09 kilometre stage which will close out the event on Sunday afternoon.
“We have chosen to end the Make Smoking History Forest Rally with a new stage because we want to add an extra element to the end of the event, one that will provide a tougher challenge for the teams but also some new thrills for spectators as well,” Gibbons said.
“The new stage has it all, there are some really fast flowing sections, combined with some very technical twists and turns,” Gibbons said. “However, and if you ask me, best of all, the majority of the roads in the new stage won’t have been used over the course of the weekend, so will be unswept, meaning the drivers will really need to focus right down to the last few hundred meters,” he continued.
The opening forest stage on Saturday morning has also been altered with an additional 1.35 kilometres added along the route.
“This is the 19th year the Forest Rally has seen rally cars charge through the Nannup Forest and we can’t wait to hear what the crews have to say when they get to the end of the event, it’s going to be one of the best finishes yet,” Gibbons added.
Comprised of 19 stages covering 210.16 kilometres the 2018 Make Smoking History Forest Rally will roar into action on Friday night with the Trade Hire Busselton Super Sprint around the Busselton Foreshore before crews head out to the forest stages on Saturday morning.
With Australia’s leading rally crews, such as Harry Bates – who will be joined by his brother Lewis for the first time in WA – Adrian Coppin and former ARC Champions Molly Taylor and Eli Evans all set to take the battle to the roads the 2018 Make Smoking History Forest Rally is going to be one to remember.
CAMS has recently announced a significant drop in expenses for the 2018 ARC season, including removing the registration fee and reducing event fees by $200 a round. The event is also freezing entry fees for the competitors in the West Australian Rally Championship and Clubman Cup, keeping them the same as the 2017 event.
“There are lots of things to be excited about this year, with CAMS making the Championship more accessible, as well as the inclusion of a new event in Tasmania the ARC is getting set for a bumper year,” Gibbons said.
“As well as world-class roads, we like to think that we offer a rally event experience unlike any other in Australia,” Gibbons said.
“We pride ourselves on the standard of our organisation, the team of officials we have working with us, the relationships we have with the local community and our long-standing sponsors such as Healthway.”
MAKE SMOKING HISTORY FOREST RALLY SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Wednesday 25 April
Thursday 26 April
Testing and Recce
Friday 27 April
Recce, VIP Day and 2 Stages of the Trade Hire Busselton Super Special Stage
Saturday 28 April
8 Stages in Nannup Forest, service park Nannup, 1 x Trade Hire Busselton Super Special Stage
Sunday 29 April
8 Stages in Nannup Forest, service park Nannup