Round 5 of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship saw the crews head to Mount Barker, Adelaide. Around a 40 minute drive from the city CBD, the Mount Barker areas have some of the fastest and most scenic roads on the calendar.
Rally Action kicked off at The Bend Motorsport Park with Shakedown and VIP Media Rides. The wide open paddock gave spectators and photographers a great vantage point to watch the cars flow through the fast corners.
With the weather hitting on Saturday morning, drivers had to be on their toes constantly adapting to the changing conditions every stage. Harry Bates in his Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia Yaris AP4 lead overall to claim heat 1 for the day but it wasn’t all smooth sailing after breaking a front sway bar half way through the first stage. Before days end crews ventured out to The Bend Motorsport Park for one last head-to-head blast around the circuit under lights.
The rain hitting hard on Sunday morning with the first two stages held up north on the famous Mount Crawford stages. Molly Taylor striking first blood winning the opening stage in her Subaru DO Motorsport WRX STi. After the morning service the rally continued on the stages to the north of Mount Barker. Lewis Bates had pace all weekend in his Toyota Yaris AP4 but with a couple of spins and power steering failure not long into the first stage of the afternoon loop, Lewis paced home to secure 3rd position behind Molly Taylor who claimed 2nd, a fantastic result after her big shunt in Ballarat.
But the weekend belonged to Harry Bates and John McCarthy, not only taking out the rally win for a second year in a row but also securing the 2019 CAMS Australian Rally Championship. Following in his father’s footsteps, Harry becomes the youngest champion to date. For Neal Bates Motorsport and Toyota, they are back as championship title winners since Neal Bates claimed it back in 2008 in the Toyota Corolla s2000. A sweet victory for the Neal Bates Motorsport team who have developed the Yaris AP4 for the last two years.
Although the championship has been decided, the battle for second place is tight between Molly Taylor and Lewis Bates as the championship finale heads up to the beautiful region of Coffs Harbour for the Kennards Hire Rally Australia November 14 – 17.
Enjoy the photos. WRC is just around the corner.