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At least three rookies will have their first taste of the WA Rally Championship competition in 2014. Like many who start in rallying, it’s a sport and a passion that runs in the family.

Abbey Hayes says she attended her first gravel event when she was just two.

“I was in a rally suit made by my Grandma. I guess competing was always going to be a natural progression,” she said.

Hayes, 17, is the daughter of RallyschoolWA manager and former Asia-Pacific Champion Co-driver Bill.

She started working at the Bakers Hill training ground six months ago and says that inspired her to have a go at co-driving.

Hayes is a recent high school graduate, who plans to study psychology and commerce, and says she’s looking forward to ‘everything’ about competing from the dust and road books to the stress and adrenalin. She will compete with rally stalwart Andy van Kann.

Like Hayes, Lachlan Beresford also grew up around rallies.

From a young age, the now 19 year old joined dad Tony and mum Jane, dedicated officials, on many events.

When he was old enough to volunteer himself, Beresford took on a number of roles including being a stage commander and safety car driver. In 2010, he was named RallyWA’s Young Official of the Year.

This year, Beresford looks forward to co-driving for 2013 Clubman Cup Champion Driver Mark Travers.

Meanwhile another rookie competitor has big racing boots to fill.

Shane Harmer, who’ll drive a VH Commodore prepared by the Allstar Garage team, is the son of Hugh, the 2013 WARC Rookie of the Year.

He’s yet to announce a co-driver, but the 32 year old said he was bitten by the ‘rally bug’ after his dad jumped in the driver’s seat.

“I like the fact that it’s you against the clock and just the action that goes with it,” Harmer said.

A former Khanacross competitor, Harmer said he’s had tips from his dad as well as former ARC-competitor Nicholas Box and 2013 2WD runner-up Sean Keating.

Box tips Harmer to be fast: “I reckon he will be as quick, probably quicker, than Hugh. He’ll definitely be tough to beat as a rookie if he has a clean run this year.”

The first event of the 2014 WA Rally Championship is the Quit Forest Rally around Nannup and Busselton from April 4 – 6. The event is also a round of the Australian Rally Championship.

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