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Racer follows in dad’s tracks

Tari JeffersBusselton Dunsborough Times
Make Smoking History Forest Rally winners Harry Bates, fromthe ACT, and John McCarthy, of Queensland, in their Toyota Yaris.
Camera IconMake Smoking History Forest Rally winners Harry Bates, fromthe ACT, and John McCarthy, of Queensland, in their Toyota Yaris. Credit: Chris Richmond/Chris Richmond

Winning the Make Smoking History Forest Rally became a family affair at the weekend with ACT driver Harry Bates claiming the title 11 years after his father, Neal, did.

Bates and Queensland co-driver John McCarthy took the top spot from Toyota Gazoo Racing teammates ACT/QLD team Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin in second and Victorian team Darren Windus and Daniel Brick in third.

“Fourth event here in WA and finally a win so I’m obviously stoked with that, it was a clean weekend which is great and the new Yaris ran faultlessly. It was really fast from the get go,” Harry Bates said.

“There is a perpetual trophy here so I get to be on the same trophy as dad which is very cool but he’s won here six times — more times than anyone else — so I’ve got a few more to go to catch him.”

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Bates said it was a fantastic result to get a 1-2 win with team Lewis Bates/McLoughlin, especially on debut. “Full credit to the entire team for all the work they have put in to prepare both cars,” Harry Bates said.

For Lewis Bates, this second place is his highest ARC finish and first podium finish in the national series. “We were coming in still learning the car and taking it stage by stage so we didn’t expect to be on the podium let alone have four stage wins so we are over the moon,” he said.

Nannup team Tom Wilde and Madeline Kirkhouse were on track for a podium finish but were denied because of mechanical mishaps over the weekend. “We had a flat tyre that cost up four minutes,” Wilde said.

“We had almost clawed back by the last stage but we blew out our turbo.

Wilde and Kirkhouse also came second in the CAMS Zestino Tyres WA Rally Championships, losing out to WA team John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver.

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