Moscatt relishes home rally advantage
Molly Taylor and Dale Moscatt are ready to take on the 15 stages and 220 competitive kilometres of this weekend’s Capital Rally of Canberra. Following Taylor’s brilliant ARC debut earlier this season, the team are keen to get amongst the action and with the 49 car entry list containing eight fellow F16 teams, the competition should be fierce all round.
While Taylor and Moscatt have had great outright results this season already, the lack of competition in the F16 class has left them and their two-wheel drive non-turbo Mirage with only four-wheel drive turbo vehicles to compare their performances against.
“Molly and I have really been looking forward to this event because of the extra two wheel drive cars which have entered,” Moscatt said. “We will now be able to gauge our performance against cars and teams of the same category and that is one thing that has been lacking so far this season.
“The Capital Rally is also as close to our local round of the Australian Championship as we can get. This is one event where I really do know the roads like the back of my hand and I also won on my last outing there in 2005, so I’m keen to come back to Canberra again.”
Taylor and Moscatt also recently participated in the Lithgow round of the NSW Championship in order for Taylor to gain further experience towards her ARC campaign. A successful start was thwarted by mechanical failure. Despite a disappointing result, Moscatt believes the experience Taylor gained during the difficult event was invaluable.
“We had a problem with the hubs and wheel bearings causing bad knock off in the brakes, and discovered they are components that will need extra attention and maintenance on rough events,” explained Moscatt.
“We had a similar problem in the Forest Rally, but Lithgow was rougher and the problem was much worse. However it was a great chance for Molly to learn to drive around small problems during a rally and still keep her focus.
“Our main problem for Canberra is going to be dust. We are really hoping for a good wind and that the dust won’t make too much difference to the results. The front teams will have a good dust gap but we will have to wait and see how it is further down the field.”
With this year’s Rally of Canberra/Capital Rally taking a different direction, the organisers have decided to begin the weekend with a night stage on Friday evening over the 10km Bluetts stage. The change has meant many crews have had to invest in light pods just for a single stage.
“Being further down the field will mean we will almost certainly be doing another two stages in the dark on Saturday as well,” Moscatt added. “The last stage on Saturday doesn’t begin until 4.55pm for the first crews, when the sun will be close to setting. Molly has done a few night stages in the past, but driving on pacenotes in the dark will be new for her and this is something we will need to factor in to our notes during reconnaissance.
“We are also doing a small test on Wednesday and will then continue on with the normal reconnaissance and preparation prior to this event.”
The 2007 Rally of Canberra/Capital Rally marks round three of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and also round three of the Australian Rally Championship. With the rise of the Australian dollar against the Japanese yen, the event is missing many of its regular Japanese entrants, but has maintained a strong local field and will definitely be worth the trip to Canberra for competitors and spectators alike.
For Moscatt, the weeks since his last event have provided a welcome break after a chaotic first half of the season, but things are about to speed up once again. Following Canberra, Moscatt is heading to the Bega round of the NSW Championship with Kelvin Croker before heading back to the Chinese Championship with Martin Rowe, in Beijing.
“Kelvin and I won the Bega Rally last time we entered, so we are keen to give it a shake up again. Kelvin also won the Lithgow round of the NSW Championship recently so he’s keen to extend on his state series lead if his car comes out of this Canberra event okay.
“The Bega Rally is held on the Sunday over the long weekend (June 9-11) so with a six hour drive back to Sydney airport for me directly after, my main hope is for a strong result and no hold ups so I can head straight home, change bags and catch my flight to Beijing first thing Monday morning to compete with Martin,” Moscatt said.
“The Beijing round of the Chinese Championship is a tarmac event and Martin has a lot of tarmac experience. If we can get a decent set up on the car, then we are obviously confident of a good showing. Dean Herridge and Bill Hayes will also be taking part in the Chinese championship now and it will be great to have a few more Aussies joining Anthony (McLoughlin) and myself up there in China.”