“I can’t put this into words how I feel right now … it’s just amazing.”

Steve Shepheard, John McCarthy and the whole SACHS Rally Team have broken through for their first ever ARC victory after an incredibly testing Coffs Coast Forest Rally, round 4 of the 2011 Bosch Australian Rally Championship.

Day one’s stages in the rain on the slippery forest stages saw an amazing amount of attrition, but Steve and John held their nerve and finished in second for the day behind Ryan Smart.

“It was like driving on ice, the car was just constantly moving and sliding,” said John McCarthy.

Day 2 saw the sun out and a cool breeze all day, allowing the roads to dry out and the grip return.  

“We kept it quick, clean and neat all day with the absolute aim to be there at the finis. But that is the style of road I live for, so I had to have a fair go,” laughed Steve.

After the SACHS car was holding second for most of the day, the leading car of Ryan Smart then developed a drive line problem, and the boys smelt blood. Smart was slowed in the final stages, while Shepheard and McCarthy pushed and moved into the lead on the last gravel stage.

The SACHS machine took a 26 second lead into the two final short tarmac stages around the Coffs Harbour water front, and eventually took the win by 63 seconds, with Smart and Evans filling the podium places.

“My Dad won his first ARC title the year I was born (1971), so it’s taken 40 years for the Shepheard name to be at the top of an ARC score sheet again,” Steve said, “and to do this with our family team, and my mate John beside me is a dream 14 years in the making.”

Photo by Peter Whitten


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