With the running of the 2009 Bathurst RSL Club Rally of Bathurst in just over a week, one of the busiest households in the local region that weekend is sure to be the Gotch family from Evans Plains, just south of Bathurst.

The Bathurst RSL Rally is the second round of the 2009 Pipe King Southern Cross Rally Series, and is being organised by rally promoters, AMSAG. It will be run over 240 kilometres of competitive driving within the Sunny Corner State Forest.

Gerry Gotch will be competing in the event, along with his sons, Jarrod and Lee, and nephew Mark Callinan, all in separate cars, and all will be staying at the Gotch family homes at Evans Plains.

Now 58, Gerry Gotch has been a grand competitor for many years, having started rallying whilst a teenager, and since then has driven a variety of cars, though mainly Fiats, and has competed  in rallies, circuit racing and rallycross at the now closed Catalina Park in Katoomba.

Gerry will be competing in next week’s event driving a WRX Subaru, with Orange navigator Kate Murphy, while his eldest son Jarrod, a 29 year old truck driver from Sydney, will drive a Toyota Celica with Shannon Grille as navigator.

Jarrod is a newcomer to rallying, and comes to Bathurst leading the AMSAG Rookie of the Year award,  having grabbed the lead after the first round of the series, the Jenolan Forest Rally.

Jarrod’s performance in that rally was commendable.  Starting near the rear of the field from position 49, he put in a great first up effort to finish 12th outright.

Normally an Australian Rally Championship contender, Gerry’s younger son, Lee, will make his AMSAG rally debut in the Rally of Bathurst driving his STI Subaru with top-line navigator, Roger Pederson.

Lee has built up a reputation in ARC rounds as a hard charger, and if the car holds together, he generally features in results, and is considered one of the favourites for outright honours in the Bathurst rally.

Competing at Coffs Harbour in 2008 it all came to an abrupt end however, when he collided with a tree stump and destroyed the car in the process.  Then followed around 12 months on the sidelines as he rebuilt the wreck, but it is now ready to rally and win again.

While the 26 year old farmer has never competed in an AMSAG rally in the past, he certainly has run in the Sunny Corner State Forest, and put in credible times in the Bathurst ARC round in 2005, and won the 2007 Bathurst Light Car Club Forest Rally there.

One thing is for certain, and that is if the STI is strong enough, Lee Gotch is good enough to win the 2009 Rally of Bathurst, and if that is the case, Evans Plains will rock on Sunday night, May 17.

The event will commence from the rear of the Bathurst RSL Club from 8.30am on Saturday,  May 16. Rally spectator guides are available online now at www.amsag.com.au or from the Bathurst RSL Club Bathurst from Monday, May 11.

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