Interview: ARC leader Harry Bates
- 13th July 2016, 1:40am
Harry Bates’ rise from nowhere to be one of Australia’s fastest rally drivers has been as fast as it has been unexpected.
Although the son of four-time Australian Rally Champion, Neal Bates, had the genes to become a fast rally driver, his interest in competing came very late.
Now, he leads the national championship after three of 2016’s five rounds, and Luke Whitten asked Harry how he’s seen his season so far, and what he expects for the remainder of the year, and into the future.
RSM: You've risen to the top of the sport in this country quite quickly. Have you been surprised at how fast things have moved?
HB: Yes and no. When you sit back and look at where I was less than two years ago, competing in my first rally in a standard front-wheel drive Corolla, and where I am now, competing in the ARC in an S2000 car, it is probably surprising to most people that things have moved this quickly.
For me, each step up, be it in machinery or event status, has been something I have wanted, so it has just been a case of trying to make decisions along the way that will be best for my learning and improvement.
The one thing that does surprise me is that when I was a 16-17 year old, I only had an interest in motorsport as a spectator, and I had no real desire to compete in rallying myself. Now, motorsport has pretty much become my life and I spend every spare second I have thinking about the next time I’ll be driving a rally car!
Three rounds into the season, you are leading the championship. What would your reaction have been if someone had old you that at the start of the season?
I probably would have suggested that they lower their expectations a little! I was being very realistic at the start of the year - I knew I was up against former Australian champions and plenty of others who have done all of the rallies lots of times.
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