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NATIONAL CAPITAL RALLY
Harry Bates on the first day of testing at the ARC's National Capital Rally.
Photo: Matt Bedford
Rallying in the blood
Kimberley Le Lievre and Jon Tuxworth
The Bates name is one of the most recognised
in the Australian rally circuit, and last weekend
a new generation stepped up to the plate.
Harry Bates, a 20-year-old Canberran and son
of four-time national champion Neal, defied the
odds to finish third in the National Capital Rally
at the weekend.
Harry Bates has lived in the shadow of his
famous father ever since he got behind the
wheel but he took a big step towards forging his
own reputation with a podium finish in his
Australian Rally Championship debut in
Despite driving a Toyota Corolla Sportivo
that was inferior to the leading drivers, Bates
and experienced co-driver John McCarthy
finished third in heat two on Sunday to grab
third spot overall behind winner Molly Taylor.
Bates grew up in the rally community,
following in the footsteps of his father, rally
legend Neal. The father and son raced alongside
each other at the weekend.
Harry Bates said competing in a standard
Toyota Corolla meant there were no
expectations on what he should achieve.
Speaking ahead of the race he said there were
a lot of cars out there that were faster than his.
Molly [Taylor] is in a car that is faster, period,
than mine,'' he said. My aim is to go out there
and gauge myself off them. If I can keep
improving over the weekend, that is how I'd like
to gauge [my performance].'' The weekend race
was the first chance for Bates to participate with
his new co-driver John McCarthy. After meeting
at the airport on Tuesday night, Bates said the
rally would provide a good chance to become
familiar with one another both personally and
John has been around [in the rally
community] for a while,'' he said. He's an
experienced co-driver and that is what I was
after, someone with experience.
We're very much still getting familiar, but it
seems to be working well.''
Bates said despite the fact his father was a
four-time Australian Rally Champion, at testing
on Wednesday he wasn't feeling pressure to
I'm not really nervous, I'm excited,'' he
said. I don't feel any pressure, I'm just going
to go out and have fun.''
However, by the time the opening ceremony
rolled around on Friday night, the reality of the
race was starting to hit home.
I'm getting a little bit more nervous now,''
Bates said. I've been out there plenty of times
when I was younger, watching dad compete, but
I've never actually competed out there myself,
It's a big step up from anything I've ever
done before, doing an ARC. But it should be lots
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 6
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