The Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship has witnessed one of its tightest battles in Batemans Bay, with Richie Dalton and Clayton Hoy sharing the spoils in the 2022 Lazer Lamps Rally of the Bay.
With 65 crews entered in the popular nine-stage event, it was Dalton and Hoy who provided the massive turnout of spectators and fans with an unforgettable battle, with the result ultimately eventuating in a dead-heat between the two.
Dalton and co-driver Mac Kierans got off to the better start over Hoy, steering their Neal Bates Motorsport prepared Toyota Yaris AP4 to the opening three stage wins and a lead of seven seconds.
Hoy and co-driver John Allen then charged to the lead heading into halfway point after taking out the next stage by a massive eight seconds - the result putting the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 pilot one second ahead after four completed stages.
Following his first stage win of the day, Hoy continued his streak to claim the next two stages by three-seconds each and to extend his gap over Dalton to seven seconds.
The Irish RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) regular then got back to winning ways himself, reducing Clayton’s lead by three seconds on the seventh stage.
Dalton would have thought victory was close on the penultimate stage after taking back the lead from Hoy with an impressive seven second stage win, with three seconds the difference ahead of the final night stage.
However, the event had one last twist left in it, with Hoy taking out the final stage win by three seconds and moving ahead of Dalton by just four tenths of a second.
Although Hoy had technically won by the smallest of margins, the championship’s sporting regulations calculate times to the second – meaning Dalton and Hoy finished with the same time and the joint win.
“We gave it everything, I am actually surprised Clayton took eight seconds on that run today, because every other stage had only one or two seconds in it,” Dalton said.
“It was a brilliant day; the roads were the best I have driven. It was a really fast rally and took massive commitment.
“It’s been an incredible battle. He won a few stages and then we had a few stages. It’s been a fantastic weekend and a fantastic rally. It’s the best and most committed I have driven. The car was on point. It was such a pleasure to drive.
“A big thanks to Mac for stepping in. We had a mighty time. Also, a big thanks to the organisers and volunteers for such a good event.”
Hoy was just as thrilled to have won the event.
“That was awesome. That was great. Well done to Richie. He must have been going hard.
“This the fifth rally I have ever finished. This tops it all. It’s great.”
Taking out third place for the event a further minute and half behind was Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell, who edged out 2017 ARC champion Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith, while Timothy Wilkins and Jim Gleeson rounded out the top five.
Claiming top honours for the 2WD class were Ford Escort Mk2 drivers Sean McAloon and Mulreann Hayes after they finished seventh outright behind Riley Walters and Andrew Crowley.
Click here to view the full results
The next round of the Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship will be the Coffs Coast Rally on the Coffs Coast in New South Wales on 26-28 November.