This month’s Make Smoking History Forest Rally will feature plenty of exciting battles across a stacked entry list, including a highly competitive field in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup.
Boasting the biggest ‘class’ within the 34-strong ARC entry list, 12 crews are entered in the class – all of whom will have a chance at taking out top honours.
Adding to the intrigue of the Cup is the State of Origin-esque battle on the cards with all entered drivers coming from either Tasmania or Western Australia.
Making the trip from the Apple Isle for the first time in their careers and enjoying a high road position are Steve Maguire, Bodie Reading and Eddie Maguire.
All enjoyed impressive runs at the Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston, with Reading’s efforts the most notable after the young Tasmanian and co-driver Mark Young finished Heat 1 in outright second having led the whole field throughout the opening day.
As for the brothers, they will also make their WA debut with plenty of confidence.
After producing a number of strong results in Tasmania, Eddie and regular co-driver Zak Brakey will be behind the wheel of the same Contel Communications-backed Subaru that 2016 champion Molly Taylor drove during the 2021 ARC season.
Steve on the hand might not have a car as esteemed as his older brother, but he makes the journey having had a strong end to the ARC season opener, which included a fourth place in the EROAD Power Stage.
Add having the ever-talented Dale Moscatt calling the notes and it should be quite the event for the Mitsubishi Evo driver, who is looking forward to returning to a state he previously lived in.
“We are certainly excited. You couldn’t pick an event further than WA for a Tasmanian, but it’s a special place to me as I used to live there 10 years ago, so it will be nice to go back there for motorsport,” Steve said.
“Obviously I will be hoping to have a crack at good times outright, but the main goal will be the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup and I am excited to have Dale as my co-driver.
“It has shaped up as a bit of a WA verse Tasmania battle, which will be fun but I don’t know too much about the WA drivers – I will do some research in the lead up to the event.
“The locals will be fairly used to their roads there and It will be tricky – honestly, I am just excited to do some motorsport outside of Tassie.
“It’s going to be a different type of rally for us Tasmanians as these are different surfaces to what we’re used to, but the road position will be key.
“We will see what happens but I am looking forward to it. It should be a really good weekend.”
Standing in the way of the Tasmanians are the nine talented WA crews, led by a collection of talented steerers.
Leading the charge are the likes of Jack Flanagan and Murray Hynes in Subaru Impreza WRX and Subaru GD STI drivers Craig Rando and Scott Beckwith – the two crews being proven stage winners in the Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship.
Caoimhin Mac Ghirr and Noah Humble will also be serious contenders after the duo finished second in the class during last year’s second heat, while Dylan King has produced a number of outright top 10 times in previous Forest Rallies – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 driver will undoubtedly fancy he and co-driver Lee Tierney’s chances.
The remaining WA crews featured in the Production Cup could also shake things up with Thomas Loughton and Michael Lloyd in a Mitsubishi, while Kelly Thomas and Stephanie Esterbauer, Keith Hamilton and David Humphreys, Shane Smith and Wayne Richardson and Frank O’Shea and Robert Foley all behind the wheel of Subarus.
The 2023 Make Smoking History Forest Rally takes place in Bunbury and Nannup on 19-21 May.
Feature Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia