Motorsport: Gooseberry Hill’s O’Dowd and Kalamunda’s Markovic gear up for opening round of Australian Rally Championship

Motorsport: Gooseberry Hill’s O’Dowd and Kalamunda’s Markovic gear up for opening round of Australian Rally Championship
Motorsport: Gooseberry Hill’s O’Dowd and Kalamunda’s Markovic gear up for opening round of Australian Rally Championship

GOOSEBERRY Hill’s John O’Dowd and Kalamunda’s Brad Markovic are set to compete in the opening round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) this weekend.

Eureka Rally is a two-heat event that has attracted 37 crews from Victoria, NSW, SA and the ACT.

O’Dowd, who has competed in his home ARC event – the Forest Rally – for the past seven years, is excited about racing the country’s best in the Victoria round.

Perth plumber Ken Sheil will join him in his Subaru WRX STI.

“It’s going to be a great experience to be a part of such a big field of talented competitors,” O’Dowd said.

He and Maximum Motorsport teammate Markovic are the only WA drivers on the entry list.

“Having Brad there is going to be a huge plus,” O’Dowd said.

“He competed in the ARC last year and his experience and advice is going to be invaluable.”

In his debut last year, Markovic finished fifth overall in the championship.

His best result of the season was in the final round where he was the third fastest Australian.

But his 2016 season had been marred by a freak fire that destroyed his car in the first round held in WA’s south west.

“Last season was all about perseverance,” he said.

“We showed our pace in the first round before the fire but after that, it took me the rest of the season to regain my confidence.”

Markovic also has a fresh co-driver in 2015 WA Rally Champion Toni Feaver from Byford.

“We know we’ve got the package and the pace to mix it with Australia’s best drivers,” he said.

“The Auto One Subaru WRX STI has had a complete refresh with a new engine, gearbox and suspension and we just can’t wait to get out there.”

Eureka Rally kicks off with a ceremonial start today before teams head out for heat one tomorrow morning and heat two on Sunday.