A strong entry list of 66 crews has been confirmed for the 2023 Make Smoking History Forest Rally, 34 of which are entered in the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC).
With the event hosting the second rounds of both the ARC and Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship (WARC), the three-day event is expected to be quite the spectacle for rally fans.
Marking the biggest ARC field to compete in Western Australia since the 1990s and before fields were split into state and national levels, the entry list further highlights the growth of rallying in Australia.
Similar to the season opener in Tasmania, there are half a dozen new generation rally cars, headlined by Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin in the Toyota Yaris GR AP4.
The reigning champions won’t be the only ones in a Yaris AP4 with Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia teammates Harry Bates and Coral Taylor and privateer entry Jamie and Bradley Luff also flying the Toyota Flag.
A collection of ARC regulars are making the journey across to WA, including the likes of Luke Anear and Malcolm Read, who return to their AGI Rallysport Ford Fiesta Mk2, along with Troy Dowel and Bernie Webb in the Activ Rallysport Skoda Fabia R5, Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston in the White Wolf Racing Ford Fiesta R5 and Winpart Group’s Nathan Quinn and Raymond Winwood-Smith in their Hyundai i20.
The 2017 ARC champion is one of several behind the wheel of a Hyundai, with WA locals Alex and Peter Rullo running the IntelliSpatial Fleetcare Racing Hyundai i20 Rally 2s – Peter alongside James Marquet and Alex with the ever-experienced Steve Glenney calling the notes.
The Rullos top a long list of local drivers keen to show their quality against the best in the country, including Realty Lane’s Daniel Gonzalez and Daymon Nicoli and Truck Wholesale’s John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver – both of whom are in a Skoda Fabia R5 – and Steelweld Fabrication’s Garry Mills and Mitchell Gray in a Peugeot 208.
For the first time in a long time, Tasmania will see one of its largest representations at a WA round, with three of the four crews to be fighting it out in the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup.
Leading that charge is Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey in the Contel Communications Subaru and brother Steve Maguire, who has Dale Moscatt alongside him in a Mitsubishi Evo, while Buckby ŠKODA Rally Launceston rising star Bodie Reading and Mark Young will be hoping for another breakthrough run in their Carver Mechanical Subaru WRX.
In addition to the Tasmanians, a handful of notable WA locals will also battle it out in the Production Cup including the Subarus of DiCandilo Steel City’s Jack Flanagan and Murray Hynes, Rando Construction’s Craig Rando and Scott Beckwith and Jaxon Motorsport’s Caoimhin Mac Ghirr and Noah Humble.
Tunetech Auto Service Centre’s Thomas Loughton and Michael Lloyd and Wolfe Recruitment’s Dylan King and Lee Tierney in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo are also ones to watch in the class.
In the ARC 2WD Cup, the notable entries include round one winners Ben and Catherine Hayes, who will have their hands full against Shamrock Haulage ARC Junior Cup drivers Josh Wiedman and Nicholas Reid, as well as WA locals David Smith and Roger Pedersen in a Ford Fiesta ST150 and Killarney Autos’ David Thomas and Amanda Lister, who will be also up against another Tasmanian in David Thompson and Matthew Sanders in the ARC Classic Cup.
With such a big field entered in the event, event organiser Ross Tapper was looking forward to the event.
“We are delighted to have more than 60 cars entered and 34 cars doing the ARC – It’s certainly one of the biggest national fields we have had in a long time,” Tapper said.
“With 12 cars being R5, AP4 or G4, this makes it the strongest field we have had for many years, then there are some very quick contenders in Subarus and Mitsubishis.
“They will be followed by a strong field of two-wheel-drives and some exciting Classics. And in addition to that, the WA Championship field is also very strong.
“So we encourage all rally fans to come out and watch the event at the various spectator points, or come help and be an official in what will be a very exciting weekend.
“We are really in for a great event of rallying and we can’t wait.”
The 2023 Make Smoking History Forest Rally takes place in Bunbury and Nannup on 19-21 May.