James Price and Maisie Place have taken out the 2019 Narooma Forest Rally in style after claiming four of the six stages in the popular Coastal town event.
With more than 30 drivers taking on the rally that was hosting eight different competitions including the NSW and ACT’s Clubman and Development classes, Price’s victory was not an easy feat.
Throughout the whole day, the winning Ford Escort was under pressure from two different crews in Doug Wright and James Ford in the Subaru WRX and Honda Civic pilots Jamie Neale and Tommi Flegl, whom he was able to eventually hold down.
Taking out four of the first five stages, the leaders went into the final stage with a healthy buffer between them and their rivals and despite losing to both crews on the final stage, they still had enough time in the bank to secure the victory.
Wright and Ford’s 13-second final stage victory over Neale and Flegl leapfrogged them into second place outright after trailing the Honda Civic from the event’s halfway point.
After claiming the well-deserved victory, James Price was thrilled to claim his first win since the 1980s.
“I am stoked. I haven’t won a rally for about 30 years so I am quite happy,” Price said.
“I did some rallying back in 1987 and only got back into it a couple of years ago so it’s good to know I haven’t lost my edge just yet.
“Narooma has terrific roads. There are stages with dusty patches of bull dust which you need to be careful of but all in all the roads are fantastic and it’s a really great event.”
Despite Price being proclaimed as the outright winner, he wasn’t the fastest in the event with Mick Harding and James Thornburn steering their Subaru WRX to first place in the Pacenotes section – more than six and half minutes ahead of the outright winners.
Harding and Thornburn were too good for the Pacenotes class cars, finishing 30 seconds faster than section runner-ups Chris Higgs and Daymon Nicoli.
Rounding out the top three for the assisted class and the only other crew to finish ahead of Price and Place were Stuart Collison and Lance Arundel in another WRX.
In what was a tough rally to take on, seven of the 34 competing crews failed to finish the event with the biggest to fall being Trevor Stilling and Logan Waterhouse.
The stage two winners kept up with the top three for much of the rally, but fell more than a minute behind on stage five before failing to finish the final stage of the day.