WA Car Club to turn 90 in April

Thursday 02 February, 2023
The Make Smoking History Forest Rally in 2022. Photo: Tim Allott.
One of Western Australia’s oldest car clubs will reach a significant milestone this year with the West Australian Car Club turning 90-years-old in April.
Having run continually since its inauguration in 1933, barring a few years of hiatus during World War II, the club has long been holding events of all kinds with a focus in rallying.
Starting out with motorkhanas and khanacrosses, the club went on to hold Trials between the late 1950s and 1970s, which would later turn into what is now known as the rallies.
Trials would run for multiple days and would be made up of a route connecting major regional towns through multiple stages – a similar concept to the rally discipline.
In 1974, the club went on to organise a round of the Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) for the first time before holding the inaugural Forest Rally in 1983.

Gordon Darge in the 1959 Mobilgas Economy Run
The club has held the popular Forest Rally every year since, with the event having become a staple on the ARC calendar.
WA Car Club President Kim Marchant was proud the club could reach the milestone having been involved for a long period of time.
“The club was formed to provide families with events using their own cars, rather than motor racing, which had also just started back then,” Marchant said.
“We’ve had generations of members through the club, it’s still very much focused on families – my father was a president, and Ross Tapper, the previous president, his father was a member of the club too in the 1950s and 60s.
“In the early days, events would’ve been similar to what we now call motorkhana and khanacross, which challenge drivers over short courses, or autocross which is longer. We still run autocross events and they’re a cheap and easy form of motorsport to get involved in.
“The Trials took place with very little added safety – this was back in the day before bucket seats and seat belts; driver and navigator would be on a bench seat with no way to brace themselves, and of course there were no helmets. Some Trials would go over 24 hours without stopping.”

2001 Neal Bates
In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the WA Car Club will run six Autocross events at the Perth Motorplex and four rounds of the Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship, which includes the 2023 Make Smoking History Forest Rally in May.
Ahead of its official 90th birthday, the club will be holding celebratory dinner on 11 March, with high profile individuals such as Dean Herridge, Neal Bates and Coral Taylor to be in attendance.
Tickets are subsidised for WACC members and cost $50 and are available here. 
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