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Maximum Motorsport’s Dean Herridge has put to bed widespread reports that he would be saying goodbye to the NEC ARC for 2007 by entering the fifth round of the series, Rally of the Great Lakes .

The event is to be held in the forests around the NSW mid-north Coast 15 – 16 September. Herridge’s Subaru is being prepared for the next round and his UD Truck is being packed for another trip across the Nullarbour.

The Maximum Motorsport team is the only West Australian team in the Championship to compete in every event, a mammoth task considering the distances needed to travel just to turn up.

Herridge, who is the leading privateer in the NEC ARC, is looking forward to resuming the season long battle he’s had with Toyota Racing Development driver Neal Bates over the course of the season, the two equal on points and only separated by overall times for the last three rallies.

“Any time I can drive a competitive rally car against drivers such as Neal, it’s always worth it,” said Herridge.

“More than anything I am passionate about the NEC ARC and want to be involved in all aspects of rallying in Australia .”

For Herridge, who was the works driver for Subaru up until the end of 2005, the past 18 months have brought new challenges, tackling the NEC ARC as a privateer after the withdrawal of Subaru from rallying.

“The past 18 months we’ve received really good support both in WA and nationally and we could not have made it to the position we are in the Championship without the support of companies such as Subaru Dealers of WA, UD Trucks and Highline.”

“Saying that; it wasn’t an easy decision, this late in the Championship finances are getting tight but we have received incredible support from all our sponsors and I feel we owe this to them as much as ourselves.”

You only have to look at Herridge’s history in the NEC ARC to see why the thought of missing a round is such a huge decision not only for the team but for him personally.

The Rally of the Great Lakes will be his 59th Australian Rally Championship Super Series event, and he hasn’t missed a round since the Rally of Queensland in 2000.

“I’ve been heavily involved in the ARC for the last 10 years and it was going to be a difficult decision to make to not to be involved. Thankfully we have been able to get the support to get out there again.”

At Rally of the Great Lakes however, Herridge, as well as the rest of the field will be entering the unknown. A new event on the NEC ARC calendar even the most seasoned campaigners haven’t raced along the roads and that fact alone was enticement enough for Herridge.

“Being a new round, I have no idea about what to expect from the event,” explained Herridge. “It is a new variable in the Championship which is an exciting thing to be involved in and if the competition in South Australia was any indication of what to expect from the guys around me that it’s gong to be another great rally.”

Rally of the Great Lakes will be held from the 15- 16th September on the mid-North Coast of NSW in forests surrounding Bulahdelah and Taree and will be based out of the beach side Service Park in the town of Forster.

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