Rally: Gooseberry Hill’s O’Dowd ready for battle in Collie


John O’Dowd at the Boddington Rally last month.  Picture: Gemma Lucas
John O’Dowd at the Boddington Rally last month. Picture: Gemma Lucas

GOOSEBERRY Hill driver John O’Dowd is set to battle with WA’s best rally drivers at the Make Smoking History Experts Cup in Collie on Saturday.

The event is round four of the WA Rally Championship and O’Dowd is seeking redemption after a frustrating last round at the MRF Boddington Rally in June.

He and co-driver Ken Sheil were third fastest over the event’s forest stages in their Subaru Impreza WRX STI, but were penalised one minute for a ‘checking in’ error on the event’s first time control.

“We strongly deny that we made a mistake,” O’Dowd said.

“We had substantial evidence, including on-board vision, to support our case and we submitted an official protest, but disappointingly, it was disregarded.”

The penalty cost O’Dowd a podium finish at the Boddington event and second spot on the championship leader board.

“We’re now fourth in the championship,” O’Dowd said.

“But it’s close and we’re determined to make up for it in Collie.”

The July 8 rally will cover about 130km of fast roads around Collie and the Wellington Dam.

“I know the roads well,” |O’Dowd said.

He expects to be in a tight battle with Michael Steele and Stephen Oxley who sit just above him on the points score.

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