The MTA Motorsport Australia New South Wales Rally Championship boasts a huge entry list for this weekend’s highly anticipated Kosciuszko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally with more than 50 crews taking part.
Competing in and around the Bondi Forest near Bombala on Saturday, the full capacity field will tackle 189 competitive kilometres across 12 stages as the state championship reaches its crescendo for 2020.
Only two rounds remain in the championship, the final round being next month’s Netier National Capital Rally.
The fight for the Championship sees Tom Clarke and Tony Sullens leading the charge and they headline the strong entry list, holding a slender five point lead over Tony Sullens heading into the Canberra Light Car Club hosted event.
Behind the wheel of a 4WD Mitsubishi Lancer EVO and alongside co-driver Matt James, Clarke has yet to win an event so far, but his consistency sees him occupy top spot ahead of Sullens, who will enter the round full of confidence after winning the Midstate Freight Caves Classic Rally earlier this month.
It was certainly a fantastic finish to the event as Sullens and co-driver Kaylie Newell managed to steer their 2WD Citroen DS3 to the win and right into contention after Clarke’s mechanical issues on the final stage saw him drop to third.
While all eyes will be on Sullens and Clarke and who can head home on Saturday night as championship leader, there are a host of other drivers who will be looking to secure top honours.
At the top of that list is reigning state champion Richard Shimmon, who will enter his first round of the year without his championship winning co-driver in Jim Gleeson, who is partnered up with Bryan VanEck, instead enlisting the services of Stephen Beaufoy.
RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) regulars Andrew Penny and Rhys Llewellyn return also to the fold, while Mal Keogh will be looking to repeat his runner-up finish at the Caves Classic to put stake a claim in the title race, and he will be driving his Audi Quattro S1 E2 alongside a new co-driver this weekend in Pip Bennett.
Some other notable names include youngster Taylor Gill and 2017 Australian Classic Rally Challenge series winner Trevor Stilling, with the veteran looking to get some more experience in 2020 ahead of next year’s ARC.
Driving with the highly experienced Anthony Caldwell by his side in the Nissan Silvia, Stilling brings a wealth of experience to the rally, courtesy of the many accolades attached to his name, including second in the 2019 2WD ARC series.
“It’s a long rally but we do have a good service team supporting us,” Stilling said.
“Wet roads bring challenges but also makes it a tight race. We need to make sure we make it to the end of the rally and our car is prepared for all road conditions.”
Also taking place throughout the weekend is the 3 East Coast Classic Rally Series, Techworkz Automotive Clubman Series and the Premier Panel Beating Hyundai Rally Series.
The Kosciuszko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally takes place at Bondi Forest on Saturday 31 October.