Eureka Rally set to remain part of ARC calendar

Ballarat looks set to continue hosting the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship after a successful event at the weekend.

Confederation of Australian Motor Sport’s Michael Smith said the 2018 Eureka Rally had been well received.

“We’ve been really thrilled to be honest,” Smith, who is general manager of motor sport at CAMS, said.

“I think it’s the strongest ARC field we’ve seen for quite some time and it was fiercely competitive at the front.

“All of the competitors, drivers and navigators were impressed with the roads and it delivered a really good rally.”

Smith said no agreement had been struck for the race to return in 2019, but painted a positive picture for its future on the ARC calendar.

“We’re keen to establish Eureka as our first round every year and I think it’s a logical home for the rally here in Victoria and I think it’s a great way to kick off the year,” he said.

“We don’t have a firm agreement in place as it stands at the moment, (but) we’re really keen to work with government and the local council to ensure that it continues to stay and give it a permanent home, I guess.”

...we’re really keen to work with government and the local council to ensure that it continues to stay and give it a permanent home, I guess"

CAMS's Michael Smith

Smith said he hoped the service hub – which was at the Ballarat Airport over the weekend – could return to a more central location in the city in the future.

He also revealed plans for a stage of the race to be held in central Ballarat.

“Depending on funding, there’s the potential to have a super special stage that we could run on the Friday or Saturday night in town,” Smith said.

“I think it would be a big buzz to do something like that in the town.”

At the weekend, Harry Bates and co-driver John McCarthy made it back-to-back wins in The Courier Eureka Rally.

John McCarthy and Harry Bates

John McCarthy and Harry Bates

The team won 11 of the 15 stages.

Bates and McCarthy finished clear of runners-up Steve Glenney/Michael Potter and third-placed Eli Evans/Ben Searcy.