Rally Qld a Bates family affair
- 9th July 2013, 9:33am
The younger Bates will literally tell his dad where to go when he assumes navigating duties in the absence of long-standing co-driver Coral Taylor who is in Europe.
It marks the first time in 20 years that Bates and Taylor, who have won four national rally titles, have not driven together in a competition rally.
Bates is hoping the father-son combination will build on recent success in Rally SA where his 1980 Toyota Celica RA40 won every stage in the classic section.
Bates said Harry has gained some experience of high-level rallying ahead of his competitive debut in Queensland.
"Harry was in the zero course car with me a couple of times in Canberra rallies where we ran at pace ahead of the competition cars to clear the road," Bates said.
"It was just like doing a competitive stage - he had to read the notes like he'll be doing for me in Queensland."
Bates said he had no expectations of his son other than hoping it would be a valuable experience for him.
"We're just going to take it as it comes," Bates said. "I'll obviously be very patient with him as he learns the ropes and gets to grips with long, fast stages and getting the notes right."
Taylor spent a day last week imparting her 30 years of co-driving experience to Harry, who is currently in his final year of high school in Canberra.
This included studying in-car footage and pace notes from last year's event, where Bates and Taylor took out the classic section.
Taylor said the material would assist Harry in getting a feel for the rally and its roads even before he and the team arrive for testing.
"I gave Harry footage of the in-car from last year to look at and we also used my pace notes from last year as a basis before the recce," Taylor said. "Not all the notes are relevant because the roads have changed."
Taylor said it would be tough relinquishing her seat, but that she was looking forward to spending time with her family, including daughter Molly who competes in the European Rally Championship.
"It does feel a little strange not to be sitting alongside Neal after all these years, but our family doesn't often get a chance to catch up in one place so the rally had to be put aside this time," she said.
"Who knows, I might be out of a job if Harry does well!"
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