Forest Rally 2018 | Focus shifts to Busselton

Make Smoking History Forest Rally hits Busselton next month from April 27. Image supplied.
Make Smoking History Forest Rally hits Busselton next month from April 27. Image supplied.

A revived field, multiple team changes and new cars will bring a renewed energy to the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in the South West on April 27-29. 

Bound to make the push for the win even more competitive is the fact that only two of the leading drivers, Tankformers Eli Evans and Subaru Motorsport’s Molly Taylor, have stood on the top step of the Forest Rally podium.

The teams hit the dirt for the first time in 2018 this weekend contesting the Eureka Rally in Ballarat, Victoria and it was Toyota Genuine Parts’ Harry Bates and John McCarthy who will head West on top of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) points table. 

After debuting his new Toyota Yaris AP4 in Ballarat Bates will be looking to cement his ARC lead and secure his first win out West. 

“Forest Rally has been a really strong event for us in the past,” he said.

“It’s an event that is a big challenge for a driver. You’ve got that unique ballbearing surface, but the roads are really enjoyable and it’s a really well organised event and Busselton is a really great place to visit too.”

South Australian rally favourite and seasoned competitor Steve Glenney will be heading back to WA in the driver seat for first time in a decade following a last minute switch to the line-up of the Craig Brook’s team. 

“Forest Rally is a great event, it's generally a bit slipperier and so you spend a lot more time on the corners and judging your length of corners but it’s enjoyable and it’s a great part of the world to go to,” he said. 

Three time Australian Rally Champion Eli Evans has a new co-driver, West Australian Ben Searcy, and has admitted the team have some work to do if they want to take the championship lead off Bates come April. 

“Aggressive drivers do really well at the Forest Rally and I tend to be a little bit aggressive at times,” Evans said. “It's been a good rally for me in the past and we're looking forward to it.”

Subaru Motorsport’s Molly Taylor, the 2017 Make Smoking History Forest Rally Champion, will be hoping to leave her run of bad luck in Victoria with a puncture and run in with a kangaroo leaving her fifth in the championship coming into the second round. 

In a boost for local hopes at the Forest Rally Brad Markovic returned to the drivers seat - and the ARC - for the first time since back surgery in 2017, joined by fellow West Australian Toni Feaver in the co-drivers seat, they sit sixth in the championship. 

More than 50 crews from across WA and the nation will contest the rally through the forests of Nannup and around the electric Trade Hire Busselton Special Stage. The event is the second round of both the CAMS Australian Rally Championship® and the CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship.