2017 was a standout year for Harry Bates. He came first at the Eureka Rally, fourth in the Forest Rally and first at the National Capital Rally, becoming the youngest winning driver in Australian Rally Car history.
And, according to Harry, his success is all due to living in a place that offers open spaces, diverse scenic landscape and government support.
“Canberra offers the best environment for me to train. Having easy access to open and quiet areas like the Brindabella’s gives me the opportunity to test the performance of my car only 15 minutes from the workshop. And being so close to a great international airport makes travelling to competitions so easy,” he says.
“Canberra is also a very relaxing place, which is important as a driver. Race meets put you under a lot of stress and you’re filled with a great deal of adrenalin, so to come home to a quiet city and be able to jump on my bike or go for a run around one of the lakes really helps me unwind.”
After a big 2017, Harry’s sights are firmly set on the World Rally Championship. And with Canberra as part of his winning advantage, the odds are looking good.
Want to be a rally superstar?
The son of four-times Australian Rally Champion, Neal Bates, Harry started competing in local motorkhanas on both gravel and tarmac at just 12 years of age and says that Canberra offers some great pathways to get started.
“Motorkhana is the perfect starting point for beginners. It helps you practice car control at a low speed and prepare for more complex terrains and conditions,” says Harry, “Canberra also holds various hill climbing events at Fairburn Park, which are good to compete in once you are able to control the car properly.”