Bates and Taylor take win in Western Australia

Neal and Coral celebrate their win

Neal, Coral and the NBM crew celebrate the win in Western Australia.

Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have won the Classic section of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) at the Quit Forest Rally in Western Australia.

In a dominant display the duo raced to victory over the notorious WA gravel, posting times better than those recorded by many of the ARC competitors – including an outright win on Friday’s super special stage.

The four-time national champions currently lead the Classic Championship with a perfect score of 81, which includes a bonus point.

Neal Bates was pleased with his race weekend on the Forest Rally track. “It’s a very tough rally. It’s incredibly slippery with a lot of very loose gravel and it’s very technical, but we really enjoyed it,” Bates said.

Comparing times with the ARC round, the pair’s results over the race weekend would have placed them second outright in Heat One on Saturday, fourth outright in Heat Two on Sunday and third outright overall.

“In the super special we managed to be fastest outright in front of everyone, which was satisfying,” Bates said. “In some of the other stages we were very close which is pretty good for a 30-year-old car. The Celica ran faultlessly the whole weekend.”

Bates and Taylor have won every classic series title they have entered since 2012, something Bates attributes to a great team and the strength of his 3SGE-powered RA40 Toyota Celica.

“We have a great team of people and a car that is reliable and strong. I have an incredibly good navigator and the driver’s alright, too.”

While a convincing victory, the weekend’s racing wasn’t without fault. “We would have won heat one outright, except that I stalled the car in the last stage by accidentally flipping the ignition switch off by mistake,” Bates said.

“I guess that’s what happens when you get old,” he joked.

The near identical sister car to Bates’ RA40, driven by Clay Badenoch and Andrew Dunbar and prepared by Bates Motorsport, claimed second place in the Classic section at the WA rally.

Bates and Taylor will continue their Classic Championship campaign in the RA40 in mid-May on home turf, at the National Capital Rally in Canberra.

Bates and Taylor secure third successive Classic title

Neal Bates and Coral Taylor sealed their third successive title in the Classic section of the Australian Rally Championship after victory at Rally Australia.

They put on a dominant display from start to finish, winning every stage of the event in their 1980 Toyota Celica RA40, the rally held around the northern NSW town of Coffs Harbour.

The victory meant the duo closed out the 2014 Classic Series, part of the Australian Rally Championship, with one round of the season remaining.

Bates and Taylor have won every classic series title they have entered since 2012, which Neal said was the result of his crew’s hard work and dedication.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to win again and I’m really grateful to the team for the way they prepared the car and set up our service area so professionally, even when the conditions weren’t that helpful,” Bates said. “Once again the car was brilliant to drive all weekend and stood up to some pretty hard punishment, including a lot of big jumps on day one.”

“Rally Australia is a great event to be involved and has a really good buzz because all the World Rally Championship teams are here.”

Taylor said she was delighted to clinch the championship and record another strong victory after overcoming a weekend of mixed conditions. “It’s a great feeling to do it again and we always love competing up here in Coffs Harbour, where we take on some of the best and most satisfying rally roads in the country,” she said.

“We had a bit of everything with the conditions. There was a lot of rain in the region before the event which made the test day very slippery, and then periods of blue skies and lots of dust. We then had another downpour on Friday night which turned the service park into a quagmire.”

“However, the team did a fantastic job giving us such a fast car and we were really pleased to put on a good show in front of so many enthusiastic spectators who seemed to really enjoy the international flavour of the event,” Taylor said.

Look for the Neal Bates Motorsport Celica at the season-ending Rally Victoria on November 14 and 15.

Bates and Taylor win Rally Australia classics


“It’s been another perfect weekend for us, the car has been faultless, and I have the team to thank for all their hard work,” said Neal on the podium. “It’s great to be able to drive this car on the same roads as the World Rally Cars, and even better to come away with the win.”

Bates finished ahead of the hard charging Matt Ruggles in the Triumph TR7 and Irish flyer Michael O’Hagon in his Ford Escort.

The Neal Bates Motorsport Celica led from start to finish, with Bates praising the resilience of his Toyota Celica RA40 and his Canberra based team who built it.

Neal Bates Motorsport win 2014 Scouts Rally SA Classics

Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have again dominated the weekend in the Classics, winning all three heats over the weekend at Scout’s Rally SA in the Toyota Celica RA40.

“It’s been a tough rally, with the very wet weather conditions on Friday and Saturday. On paper it looks like we won by a lot but things weren’t perfect for us. The quality of the Classics this weekend has been excellent, with a couple of Celicas, an Audi Quattro, a Falcon GTHO, a Porsche, a Merc, a Volvo, all sorts of brands, all sorts of types, and we’re all out there having fun,” said Neal.

Next round of the championship is Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour held 11th – 14th September 2014.