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Fresh off their win three weeks ago at the Forest Rally, Mike Young and co-driver Scott Beckwith has done it again by taking first outright at the Make Smoking History Karri Rally on Saturday. Young and other WA Rally State Championship (WARC) competitors battled over 116 competitive kilometres on Nyamup State Forest roads close to Manjimup. Conditions were rally perfect on the day, with cool weather and dry roads. It was the first time driving the Karri Rally stages for Young, who usually competes in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship at this time in the year. The Maximum Motorsport Subaru WRX STI driver and co-driver Beckworth managed to keep WARC leader John O’Dowd and his co-driver Toni Feaver at bay. “John O’Dowd kept me honest throughout today,” said Young. “We had a good battle in the morning, but I managed to pull away towards the end there. “Before today, I have had people tell me that the stages were fast and I didn’t really believe them – but they are! “The stages were good fun and suited the way I drive. They require a big commitment which I like.” O’Dowd and Feaver crossed the finish line in Truck Wholesale WA Skoda Fabia R5 with only a 1:43 minute gap to the leaders. O’Dowd said he really enjoyed the close competition. “It was a good battle with Mike,” said O’Dowd. “I didn’t get anywhere near him but it was excellent racing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mike is a great driver and hats off to him and Scott for doing a fantastic job. “I was really happy with the way I drove today. I’m usually slow out of the blocks, but I improved on that and came out quite strong.

Reigning WA champion, John O'Dowd, has his work cut out against Mike Young this year. Photo: Tim Allott

“They were two fast paced stages. A problem the little Skoda has is that it doesn’t have the legs for the fast stuff – it’s flat out doing 170 kilometres an hour, and I think my previous car was closer to 200km. But that’s not what lost the rally for us – the car didn’t make any difference.” Ben Searcy and James Marquet rounded out the outright podium in a Lancer Evo 9, finishing the event with a 3:23 gap to the leaders. It was the smallest of margins that separated the podium placers in the 2WD category. All three teams posted a time of 1:09 with just seconds between them.

A second 3rd place in a row for Ben Searcy and James Marquet. Photo: Tim Allott

Dylan King and Lee Tierney clinched the top spot, crossing the finish line in their Ford Escort Mk2 with a time of 1:09.24. Missing out on first in the category by a mere 1.6 seconds was Mike Joss and Megan Logue in the Nissan Silvia S15. Max McRae and Bill Hayes were also in touch with the leaders, only 29.4 seconds behind in their Ford Fiesta. The Clubman Cup category was contested over 77 competitive kilometres. The fastest of the round was Rod Fowler and Keith Mayes in a Peugeot 206 GTi with a time of 53:38. Glenn Cawood and Murish O’Connell crossed the final stage 45 seconds behind the leaders in a Mitsubishi Lancer. Alex and Lisa White were uncontested in the Clubman Masters category and posted a final time of 50:37 in their Nissan Silvia S13.

Alex and Lisa White took a comprehensive win in the Clubman Masters class. Photo: Tim Allott

Competitors now have a month to prepare for the final round of the 2020 WA Rally Championship, the Safari Darling Rally. The Safari Darling Rally will be held in and around Jarrahdale on November 7. For full results and more information on the Make Smoking History Karri Rally please see www.rallywa.com.
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