Australia’s best rally teams will battle it out in Canberra this weekend for the Australia Rally Championship cup. Current Australian rally champion Harry Bates and runner up Lewis Bates are competing in the Toyota Yaris 4WDs but it is the battle between the 2WD competitors which has grabbed the attention of sports fans.
The last Australian rally championship round was held in Adelaide last year and then COVID restrictions came into force in early 2020 seeing the cancellation of the 2020 series. The 2WD winner of the Adelaide event was Trevor Stilling and Larisa Biggar aboard the High Country Automotive Group Nissan Silvia. Trevor finished the season second outright in the series after the 2019 Coffs Harbour Australian/World rally championship event was cancelled due to bushfires. He returns to high level racing this weekend competing for the Australian Rally Championship 2WD cup.
This time Trevor Stilling has on board Sydney’s Nigel Walters as codriver with Queensland’s Larisa Biggar navigating for his son Chris Stilling aboard the SPE Electrical Toyota Corolla. Larisa has a wealth of navigational and senior level rally experience and was selected to prepare Chris for his first Australian Rally championship event as preparation for the 2021 Australian Rally Championship series.
With both father and son competing only minutes apart the challenge is on not just against the other drivers but each other for the 2WD cup. Trevor Stilling starting car 16 in the 54 strong field followed by Chris Stilling in Car 22.
Chris Stilling having completed only three events as a driver last year won the 2019 NSW Development 2WD award and second outright as well as winning the ACT Novice series and second place in the ACT Clubman series.
When discussing the ARC Cup with the younger stilling he stated, ‘This is a long event, and I will be aiming to finish’. ‘I will be competing against some of the best rally drivers in Australia, it is an awesome learning experience’.
‘I will also be getting used to the SPE Electrical Toyota Corolla, having previously competed in a Nissan Stanza, and I am hoping the testing day before the event will iron out any issues,’ said Chris Stilling.
2019 ARC 2WD runner up and the 2017 Australian classic rally champion, Trevor Stilling, is no stranger to endurance events. ‘It’s a two-day event the aim is to make it to the finish and hopefully with a top placing for our class’, said Trevor Stilling
Trevor Stilling’s Nissan Silvia livery is decked out as ‘Lightening McQueen’ from the Cars movie a popular car with the young fans. The car was recently available for viewing at the High Country Automotive Group showrooms in Cooma. ‘I appreciate the sponsors including High Country Automotive Group and the mechanics who will be joining our service crew for this event’, said Stilling.
Team manager for the event and sponsor ‘Raine’ from Simply Music Management and TripleUFM stated ‘I am excited that both Trevor and Chris Stilling are competing in this championship event”, ‘They exceeded expectations during 2019 rally season and I look forward to continued support of the team during 2021. It should be an exciting competition amongst the 2WD competitors.
Other notable 2WD competitors heading to Canberra this weekend includes the young Queensland team of Ryan Williams and Brad Jones competing in a Mitsubishi Mirage. Ryan in an interview with Raine from ‘TripleUFM’ advised he was using the Netier National Capital rally as a shakedown for the 2021 Australian Rally championship series. Rob Bishop and Jacci Sharkey are competing in a Mitsubishi Mirage and Justin Northage and Ray Priest aboard a Lotus. Victoria’s Brendan Reeves and Cate Catford competing in a Datsun 1600 are also ready to battle it out for 2WD honours.
The Netier National Capital rally starts from the Abode Hotel in Woden this Saturday. There are no spectator points due to COVID-19. The event has strict Covid19 plans in place.
Simply Music Management and Motorsport
Managing musicians overseas, sponsoring Stilling car rally team. Managing Raine O'Keeffe radio announcer and motorsport journalist.