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QUIT Forest Rally, let the ARC train begin

A few weeks ago I covered the first round of the ARC, the ‘QUIT Forest Rally‘ which is held in Western Australia. This was my 6th year covering the event, South Australia is the only round I have covered more (8).

It is well known that this is my favourite round and by far the best round in the series, for a number of reasons.

  • The organisation behind the rally headed by the master Clerk of Course Ross Tapper. Ross and his crew know rallying, Ross has been involved in everything from state level to WRC Rally Australia (when it was run in WA). Someone recently commented that the reason the Rally is so good is because of Ross, when things are going wrong or there is a problem you don’t even know about it. As a photographer its a dream because Ross understands and appreciates photography, knows that as media we have a job to do and provides everything we need and then some to do it.
  • Rally HQ is located on the coastal town of Busselton, just 250km south of Perth with the rally stages 80km East of Busselton, in Nannup. The Power Stage and Super Special Stage are held in Busselton, the famous Busselton Jetty and magnificent Western Australian Coastline act as the perfect backdrop for both events. The entire town of Busselton gets behind the rally, its one of the few events in Australia where everyone knows about the event, go in to any cafe, restaurant, hair salon and you will see posters of the event, walk down the main street and there are event flags everywhere, there is also the huge advertising sign as you enter Busselton which remains in place all year round. Moving to Nannup, the service park is held here, it is central to stages, event activities and becomes the RallyHQ during the event, the ARC takes over the entire town using the main street as the service area, the friendly welcoming community really gets behind the rally, teams love coming back to Nannup and Busselton each year.

  • The stages offer everything a rally photography wants and needs to make quality pictures, wide open scenery showing how grand the area is, soft talcum powder like dust aka bull dust creates amazing dust swirls and trails, fast flowing stages where the rear ends of cars can skip out are a plenty, my favourite though, chopper pilot and crazy Scotsman Dave Adamson and his chopper skills, it is the only round where you can guarantee his attendance and his locations, if you haven’t seen his flying capabilities then you are truly missing out, his skills are amazing, I recall on the stage in the image below rally fans were more interested in watching Dave fly than the rally cars. I was lucky enough to shoot from the chopper at last years event, without doubt one of my top 5 highlights as a photographer.

  • Finally, shooting locations, ie photo points. All to often we find great shooting spots on different stages and all to often they are either inaccessible or time wise are to close to each other that we cannot do both, in WA though there is so much on offer, so much time and it seems we are always able to shoot the spots we want without much fuss, I am often torn on where to go, its always great being spoiled for choice when other rallies lack accessible quality locations.

You can now see why I love coming back here, overall its the best event to cover.

Anyway, to the event itself and my favourties.

I had Matt Mead with me so there are a couple of his here as well.

Mick and Bernie from the Repco Rally Team getting a feel for the new car. The event was held a few weeks earlier than normal which meant the sun position was slightly different, in years past by 9am the shaded area in the shot above was completely lit, this year not which is the main reason I like this image.

Shooting through tress and finding little gaps, its hard to explain why it works, but it just does OK :).

Simon Evans is back, doing what he does best, having fun and throwing the car around.

More gaps.

Adrian Coppin focused on the job and getting ready for what turned out to be quite the weekend.

One of the few images of Henry Nott, unfortunately Henry rolled his Evo early on the first day, rolling cars became an ongoing thing this event.

Did you pick it? the shot prior was from a remote camera, the one you can see being demolished by Adrian, Rally Car 1, Camera 0.

The last frame before death.

One of my favourite parts of any rally is capturing portraits and showing the emotion through faces. Steve Mackenzie is always smiling no matter whats happening.

Steve’s brother and co-driver Brent focused.

I can always count on Tony Sullens to give me some emotion 😉 another driver always smiling.

The conversation that led to this smile was well lets just say interesting :).

Sometimes you just have to put the boot in, Tony Sullens team trying to fix his car after a roll during Heat 1.

The famous bulldust of WA

Its always great working with Matt, not only does he provide me with more content for my clients, he offers a different take on things.

Probably my favourite of the weekend, Mick Patton showing some love for the car that won him his first round in the ARC, moments like these are fleeting and its great when you can capture them.

Make sure you check out the full gallery from the event over at the Vettas Media VAULT.

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