This is part 2 of our review of the 2020 AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay. When we left you in Part 1, the Toyota Team pairing of Harry Bates and John McCarthy had built up a significant lead after three stages to be leading the rally by just over 26 seconds. And it was the other Toyota Yaris, driven by Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin that was sitting in second.
Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt had ended their hopes of a hattrick of rally of the bay wins in stage 3. They hit a tree and would go no further.
This would see Arron Windus and Daniel Brick move up into 3rd, but in the Follow the River stage, and out of view of our cameras, he had a roll over, substantially damaging the newly built Subaru and putting them out of the event. They both escaped uninjured.
There was a battle developing in the fight for the MTA NSW Rally Championship. Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston were trying their hardest to stay in front of the pack and were 4th outright after the river road stage.
But what Clarke didn’t realise, is that Darren Windus was also eligible for MTA NSW points and he was sitting 16 seconds in front of Clarke. Going into stage 5, the long 44km Run to Mogo, Windus would take another 13 second advantage over Clarke, to move further in front of him.
Young 16-year-old, Taylor Gill was impressing in his first every rally. His car was down on power and occasionally running on three cylinders but was fixed in the Service before the Run to Mogo.
With the car now running as it should, Gill set an amazing 9th outright on the 44km stage and moved up the leader-board to 12th, which is where he’d finish the event.
Another young driver impressing was Troy Dowell. He was sitting in 14th after the run to Mogo, despite breaking a transfer case mid stage. With two stages left to go, Dowell wasn’t able to continue without causing further major damage, so made the decision to withdraw.
But it was Bates and McCarthy leading the event outright. They hadn’t put a foot wrong all rally and continued to extend their lead.
In the Run to Mogo, Bates added another 32 seconds to his overall margin and was now looking like the odds-on favourite to win the event.
But Lewis Bates, in the second Yaris was not going to let his brother out of his sights. He was also pushing hard to catch his older sibling. But he was also well aware of the reason for being at the AMH Automotive Group Rally of the Bay.
The second run over the Drury stage had to be cancelled and it was now just the final Follow the River Road stage to go. And delays would also mean the stage would start in the Dark. But nothing could take the lead from Bates and McCarthy. They once again won the stage, extended their lead by another 16 seconds to win the event by a minute 20.
Making it a one-two victory for Toyota, Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin would finish the river road stage in third. Dust on the stage the biggest issue.
In the fight for the third place on the podium, Windus would come out on top. Going into the Follow the River stage, Clarke was almost 30 seconds behind Windus and knew it was going to be a tough ask to catch the Victorian. He still hadn’t realised Windus was his main competition for MTA NSW points so decided to drive conservatively in the final stage. Clarke was almost 30 seconds slower than Windus, but was happy to finish the rally in 4th.
In fifth position, Luke Annear and Andy Barandis were another team using this event as a test before the Australian Championship gets underway. They improved as the day went on with two top five stage times, including Run to Mogo.