Hayes confident of further success with Molly Taylor
For experienced navigator Bill Hayes helping to steer Molly Taylor to success at the National Capital Rally was one of the highlights of his career, and he’s confident it’s just the start of continued triumphs for the pair this season.
“It’s quite amazing to be a part of, and I’m so proud of everything Molly has been able to achieve so far this season,” said Hayes, who has sat alongside the likes of Alister McRae, Ross Dunkerton, Rob and Dean Herridge.
Hayes said it’s been a startling rise to success for Molly, after the pair started the season with relatively mild ambitions. “When we started in WA we almost had no expectations at all, so we started the event extremely relaxed and just ready to take it as it came.”
“To then win a Heat in WA kind of changed that, suddenly we had to start thinking about the year ahead and what we could realistically achieve. I saw a change in Molly’s demeanor when we started in Canberra, she suddenly felt like there was pressure on herself to back that Heat win up,” commented Bill.
“So for her to be able to come back at the very next round and win the event was great from her point of view. It proved a lot of things to herself, and I think she’ll start the rest of the rounds this year with more self confidence.”
Despite the Heat win in Western Australia, Taylor and Hayes had identified areas for increased improvement when they started in Canberra. “We knew there were areas that were costing us time, and I mean across the board – from the car, to the pace notes, to how Molly was driving.”
“Molly wants to be matching who she considers the two fastest guys in the sport, Simon and Eli. Both drive extremely clean and fast, so Molly knows she needs to find those last 1% improvements to be on that same level. We’re working hard together between events to make that happen,” he added.
Hayes believes Molly already has the speed to match the sport’s top drivers, and now it’s a case refining her raw talent into a package that can win regularly. “The skill set Molly has now I can’t see where any massive gains will be made, it’s not like having to speed up a slow driver, or calm down a fast driver.”
“If anything where she’s lacking is just experience with the car, and that experience will only come from doing more miles. In Canberra, even up to the very last stage, we were making suspension changes to try to find that perfect feeling.”
While the rough road conditions caused a number of drivers to hit problems in Canberra, Hayes believes that Molly’s great strength is her ability to tackle the toughest surfaces the Championship has to offer.
“One of the things I’m most impressed by with Molly is her bravery, she’s ridiculously brave, especially in the rough stuff. I think that’s one of the biggest things she learnt driving in Europe,” Bill explained.
“No matter how much we complain in the ARC about our roads being rough they are absolutely nothing compared to the second pass over a WRC stage in Europe, and I think all those years for Molly running car 60 on the road in an underpowered car has served her very well.”
“The bottom line is I’m thoroughly enjoying every minute driving with Molly. And as a bonus I’ve never led the Championship at this point in the season, so that’s a bonus too!” he laughed.
On a side note the victory in Canberra was Hayes’ first in the National Capital since he helped guide Ross Dunkerton to a similar win 11 years ago. “It’s special to think about winning in Canberra with Rosco and now all these years later with Molly. That win with Ross was very unique as it was his 100th of his career, to help Molly win her first feels just as special too!”