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Leading NSW rally driver, Tom Clarke, is a successful business owner who is also more than handy behind the steering wheel. We grabbed 5 Minutes with the busy Clarke to chat rallying. Name: Tom Clarke Role: Driver /Team Owner of White Wolf Racing How did you get into rallying? I lived in a little town on the South Coast of NSW called Termeil, that regularly had rallies through the year. As a kid, my dad would take me out to watch, as one of the main stages passed through the back of our property. I had a fascination with the cars from a young age. Through school, some friends of mine got into rallying, and we always went out to watch them. We generally didn’t have a mechanical family, nor the money to delve into the sport. In 2008 I finally decided that I would give it a go, and bought myself a Datsun 1600 as my first car. I have just chipped away from there until where I am now. What is your favourite rally moment you’ve experienced? Rally Australia 2017. We entered the NSW Championship round, ARC and WRC as well. It was an awesome experience and we managed to win the NSW round, were the second ARC crew home, and also finished 14th in the WRC field.

Tom Clarke (right) and co-driver Ryan Preston with trophies from Rally Australia.

What is your favourite rally? I have always had a thing for my home town rally, at Batemans Bay (Bay Stages Rally). Who is your favourite driver? Growing up, it had to be Sebastien Loeb. If you were not a rally driver, what would you be doing? (Or what do you do when you’re not at a rally?) I run a large construction business, White Wolf Constructions, so that takes a lot of my time. When I’ve got free time away from work and rally, I love to do other extreme sports, like go surfing and snowboard. Anything that keeps the adrenaline high usually interests me. What’s your go to snack food? When I’m driving, I hit the lollies in between stages - Allen’s snakes and frogs are the go.

Clarke also owns a fast Datsun 1600 for classic rallies. Photo: Wishart Media

You surprised a lot of people with your pace at the recent National Capital Rally. Did you surprise yourself? I think I’ve always known I have some pace there, but it just needed to be unleashed. The car had let us down a little over time, and now we have it where I feel comfortable to lean on (and push) it more. You own a Lancer Evo IX, as well as a Datsun 1600. Which is more fun to drive? Both cars are awesome to drive in their own ways. I love the speed and cornering that a 4WD is capable of, so it is awesome to drive the EVO. The Datsun, being 2WD, and most importantly, RWD, is an absolute thrill to drive. There’s nothing better than looking out the side window, full opposite lock, waiting to hit the next apex. Is there any chance we will see you at any other ARC rounds this year? I don’t think we will make another appearance in the ARC this year. It was good to see that myself and the EVO could be remotely competitive, however with cars like the Bates’ Toyotas, Molly’s Subaru and the new G4 and R5 cars in the field, I’m still uncertain we can remain competitive. I am a very competitive person, and want to make sure I can be competitive at the top, and have the right machinery to do so. We will see what happens for the next season.

5 Minutes with Malcolm Read:

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