Trekking from Targa Tasmania reconnaissance to China, from Queensland to Bathurst, then from Targa itself to Western Australia has left Dale Moscatt very happy to return home to Sydney this week for a small break. However it won’t be long before the race is on again for this globe trekking co-driver.

“I love my job so much and I’m not looking for a career change, but I would be lying if I said I am not glad to be home,” Moscatt said. “It has been quite an exhausting couple of months but now I have ten days at home to recharge my batteries and to prepare for the months ahead.

“One of the hardest things when doing this many events is to stay on top of the preparation side of the job. For instance, the Chinese, Australian Championship and Targa events all run to different rules and regulations so it is a full time job between events to stay on top of all of my tasks to the level that I need to. Without any time between events sometimes I have to do most of that work in blocks beforehand, and even on planes.”

Before he heads off to ‘Planet Rally’ once again, Moscatt spent some time this week reflecting on the past few chaotic months. The first of the events for Moscatt was the Lake Mountain Sprint Tango with Grant Denyer, Protecnica Racing and Subaru Motorsport. From the start of this event Grant and Dale went out strongly and surprised everyone, scoring fourth fastest on stage one and later setting two top three stage times in their WRX Sti.

There was then a small break for Moscatt to prepare for the next onslaught of events eight weeks away. Targa reconnaissance was first on the cards and to fit in with their hectic schedules, Denyer and Moscatt purchased pre-prepared notes to save time and ensure they had accurate notes as a base for their own.

From there Moscatt jetted off to Shanghai to join Martin Rowe and the Guizhou Kesuting (KST) Rally Team for the first time. The event was again a success for Moscatt, with the new pairing holding the lead at the end of day one after a constant battle between themselves and David Higgins.
For day two it was all gloves off from the start, but half way through the first stage they had a puncture on the front right with five kilometres to go. The tyre left the rim not long after that. Even though the pair only lost 20 seconds over the remainder of the stage, the times had been so close that they had lost the lead and knew victory was gone. They did finish the event in fourth place and were happy with the pace and their new partnership in the car.

From Shanghai it was off to Queensland for yet another new pairing as Moscatt joined forces with F16 title contender, Molly Taylor. Molly surprised everyone with her skill behind the wheel, despite only being 18 years of age and still on her P plates. Molly debuted in her first ARC heat at ninth place and then backed it up with an 11th place in heat two.

“To be perfectly honest I was blown away by every aspect of Molly’s driving in Queensland. She has an incredible amount of car control, especially for someone who only started driving 18 months ago. I guess the biggest thing is actually her attitude and enthusiasm. I can’t begin to tell you how serious she is about giving this a red hot go and I will certainly be alongside, helping her wherever possible,” Moscatt said.

From Queensland he then hung up his race suit for a set of overalls and joined his motorsport manager, Scott Anderson, as the Protecnica Racing crew supported two teams during the Bathurst 12 hour race.  Chris Atkinson, Dean Herridge and Cody Crocker made up one team, with Neil Crompton, Grant Denyer and Chris Alajajian making up the other.

Targa Tasmania was next on Moscatt’s calendar with Grant Denyer and Team Mini. They had spent five days in reconnaissance here several weeks before and were now ready to race. This event also saw a debut of a different kind with Moscatt taking the wheel when Denyer was forced to skip a day of the event due to work commitments.

At the completion of the five day Targa event, the pair finished in 20th place. They had been hovering close to the top ten and pushing hard to gain back time when they clipped a chicane on a final stage, for which a hefty five minute penalty was imposed. Moscatt then left Tasmania to spend just one night at home before taking off at 6am the following morning for Western Australia where he would again team up with Molly Taylor in round two of the Australian Championship.

A strong local contingent in Western Australia meant the competition was fierce, but Molly’s consistent commitment saw the team finish 14th outright and first two-wheel drive for heat one. Heat two looked to set the same standard until three kilometres from the finish of the very last stage.

“It had been raining very heavily and the stages were just diabolical by the end of Heat two,” said Dale. “We were so close to the end and just got caught in a bog in the middle of the road at a junction. There were officials and spectators nearby but initially they were instructed not to help us because it was considered too dangerous.” By the time the team were allowed assistance from the marshals and were freed, they went on to cross the finish line but had run out of late time by ten minutes.

After discussions with the organisers over the irregularities in the new restart rules, Molly and Dale were reinstated as finishers of the event due to the fact that they had completed 100 % of the course. With restarting rules applying for other crews throughout the day, it was fair to be classified as finishers, but unfortunately this was again overturned after a protest from a disgruntled competitor.

Taylor and Moscatt will now contest a round of the NSW championship on May 12, with this pacenoted event providing extra competition time for Molly in her quest to gain as much experience as possible.

Moscatt is then possibly off to China to test with Martin Rowe and the KST team. “The next round of the Chinese National Championship was to have been Pan Zhihua on May 19, but it has been cancelled so it looks like we will do some testing instead. From there, Rally of Canberra will be in the first week of June and then Beijing in China later that month.

“It has all added up to living in hotel rooms and the Qantas Club for all but three days in the last eight weeks. I will keep up my fitness training but am also looking forward to hopefully being able to have a bit of a break and some rest before it’s all go again!” Moscatt added.
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