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Reigning Australian Rally Champions, Harry Bates and John McCarthy, have continued where they left off in 2019 by winning the Rally of the Bay comfortably. The Toyota driver won all stages of the Batemans Bay based event which threw up carnage galore amongst the top runners. While challenged early by brother Lewis and Richie Dalton, the elder Bates cemented his place in the lead on the 'Run to Mogo' stage where he took over 30 seconds from his rivals. He ended the rally's six stages with almost a minute and a half lead. Lewis Bates followed his brother for the entirety of the day, albeit without seriously challenging for victory. The 23-year-old was focussed on seat time and continuing to get back in the groove of the AP4 Yaris beneath him. Darren Windus was a fine third in his Subaru, showing consistent speed throughout in the newly updated car. Sporting a colour scheme in homage to his cars of the mid-2000s, Windus wound back the clock, proving to himself and those around him that the speed is still well and truly there.

Darren Windus was third in his Subaru. Photo: Peter Whitten

Fourth was held by Tom Clarke for the majority of the day, and it was there where he and co-driver, Ryan Preston, finished. After crashing at this event in 2019, the pair traded times with Luke Anear's Fiesta for most of the day and were duly rewarded with the result. The aforementioned Anear rounded out the top five ahead of the two-wheel-drive winner, Tony Sullens. Sullens' Citroen was fast for the day's entirety, showing the undoubted speed and commitment in the front-wheel-drive DS3. Among the big list of casualties was two-time event winner, Richie Dalton, who hit a tree in his G4 Fiesta whilst lying in third position, and nipping at the heels of Lewis Bates.

Tony Sullens won two-wheel-drive in his Citroen. Photo: Peter Whitten

Arron Windus was another casualty of the event's fast and technical stages. Windus' Possum Bourne-inspired Subaru crashed heavily on the fourth stage, after the Victorian lost control in fourth gear and rolled. Chris Higgs, Mal Keough, Andrew Penny and Tim Joass rounded out the top ten. As Australian rallying's first event since the COVID-19 pandemic, in excess of 80 crews were eager to hit the stages.

16-year-old, Taylor Gill, finished an impressive twelfth place in his debut. Photo: Peter Whitten

With strict protocols in place, the organising team can be commended on their organisation to get such a big event off the ground, despite the many worthy public safety initiatives. Of the 83 starters, only 51 reached the finish, showing the traits of the tough Batemans Bay roads. 2020 Rally of the Bay – final results: 1. Harry Bates / John McCarthy, Toyota Yaris AP4, 1h08m53.7s 2. Lewis Bates / Anthony McLoughlin, Toyota Yaris AP4, +1m20.9s 3. Darren Windus / Joe Brick, Subaru Impreza WRX, +2m10.2s 4. Tom Clarke / Ryan Preston, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, +3m07.9s 5. Luke Anear / Andy Sarandis, Ford Fiesta R5, +3m37.8s 6. Tony Sullens / Kaylie Newell, Citroen DS3, +4m05.6s 7. Chris Higgs / Daymon Nicoli, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, +5m15.8s 8. Mal Keough / Pip Bennett, Audi Quattro S1, +5m54.6s 9. Andrew Penny / Rhys Llewellyn, Subaru Impreza WRX, +6m11.9s 10. Tim Joass / Peter Joass, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2, +7m08.0s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xv59kpW274 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA_QHk7WXCY
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