A number of RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) drivers have contested the Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship’s penultimate round with Richie Dalton and Clayton Hoy putting on a show during the weekend’s Lazer Lamps Rally of the Bay.
With 65 crews entered in the popular nine-stage event, it was Dalton and Hoy who provided the massive turnout of spectators and fans with an unforgettable battle, with the result ultimately eventuating in a dead-heat between the two.
Neither driver was guaranteed the victory throughout the event though, with multiple lead swaps and the duo both enjoying stage wins – Dalton claiming five and Hoy winning four.
It was Dalton and co-driver Mac Kierans got off to the better start with the opening three stage wins, before Hoy and John Allen took out the next three to claim the lead after six stages.
The Irishman got back to winning ways himself and picked up another two stages to lead by three seconds heading into the final stage, which was run under the night sky.
However, in one final twist, Hoy took out the final stage win by three seconds and moved ahead of Dalton by just four tenths of a second, which eventually got converted in a draw between the two as the championship does not score to tenths.
“It was a brilliant day; the roads were the best I have driven. It was a really fast rally and took massive commitment,” Dalton said.
“It’s been an incredible battle. He won a few stages and then we had a few stages. It’s been a fantastic weekend and a fantastic rally. It’s the best and most committed I have driven. The car was on point. It was such a pleasure to drive.
“A big thanks to Mac for stepping in. We had a mighty time. Also, a big thanks to the organisers and volunteers for such a good event.”
Hoy was just as thrilled to have won the event.
“That was awesome. That was great. Well done to Richie. He must have been going hard.
“This the fifth rally I have ever finished. This tops it all. It’s great.”
The next best ARC regular was 2017 champion Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith, who finished in fourth place ahead of Timothy Wilkins and Jim Gleeson.
Andrew Penny was the only other ARC driver to pick up a top 10 finish, with he and Todd Satchell finishing ninth overall.
Another familiar name to ARC fans was Bethany Cullen, who placed 18th outright with Mel McMinn,
While he might be having a strong run in the ARC, Troy Dowel had a day to forget as he failed to start four of the nine stages – forcing him down the order and classified with a DNF.
The young Victorian wasn’t the only ARC registered driver to have a day to forget, Jason Lennane, Jamie Luff, Peter Dimmock also all retiring.
The Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship will return later this year as part of the Coffs Coast Rally on the Coffs Coast in New South Wales on 26-28 November.