State News: NSW Rally Championship battle heats up in Cooma

The Monaro Stages Rally is set to be the decider for the 2018 MTA New South Wales Rally Championship, with no less than five drivers in with a shot at the title.

The sixth and final round of the NSW Championship will take place on Saturday, 20 October in the Cooma region in south-east New South Wales.

Almost 50 competitors will do battle over 150 competitive kilometres, with two heats being run on a mixture of local State Forest and Shire roads between Cooma and Bombala.

With NSW Rally Championship contenders able to drop their two worst heats from their Championship pointscore, the potential variables from this weekend’s finale make for a very interesting and crucial round.

JJ Hatton leads the points race on a total of 335 points, followed by Thomas Dermody on 320 and Glenn Brinkman on 306 after five rounds.

However, with only the best 10 heats included to date, it’s Brinkman in front, followed by Tim Wilkins just six points behind and Hatton only one point behind Wilkins.

Glenn Brinkman will be gunning for the NSW Rally Championship at the Monaro Stage Rally. Image: Wishart Media

While Brinkman holds the advantage, Hatton is perhaps in the box seat. Also in an Evo IX, Hatton can afford to DNF a heat at Monaro Stages and still win the NSW Championship – whereas both Brinkman and Wilkins don’t have that luxury.

Others with a shot at the title include Thomas Dermody, competing in the Escort RS1800, and Tom Clarke in the White Wolf Racing Evo IX.

In the battle for outright co-driver honours, Hatton’s co-driver Nathan Long leads the ways, followed closely by Eoin Moynihan and Harvey Smith with their two worst heats still to be dropped.

Tom Dermody leads the way in the East Coast Classic Series in his Escort RS1800. Image: Wishart Media

In the East Coast Classic Rally Series, Dermody leads Garry Yeomans and Robert Gorst, while Bruce Durham sits on top of the Clubman Rally Series over Richard Thomas and Matthew Rath with just the final round remaining. Durham also holds the lead in the Development Rally Series.

The Monaro Stages Rally is sponsored and supported by regular CAMS Australian Rally Championship competitor Andrew Penny from Kosciusko Automotive, and the event organised by the Light Car Club of Canberra.

In a nice gesture, the entry fee for the Monaro Stages Rally includes a $15 contribution that will be distributed to the farmers who have allowed use of the sections of shire roads their farms run along.

With farmers in the grip of drought, most will need to move stock to allow competitors to race, so event organisers felt the contribution was a small way to say thank you.

The rally action will start from 9am from the Cooma Showgrounds, with the first car expected to finish around 4:30pm.

While hosting the finale of the NSW State Rally Championship, the event will also host round six of the East Coast Classic Rally Series, Clubman Rally Series, Development Rally Series, Hyundai Rally Series and a round of the ACT Regional Rally Series.

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