By Bill Buys By Bill Buys
BILL Hayes is one of Australia”s top rally co-drivers, having pointed the way for many great steerers, among them Alister McRae, Dean Herridge and now Molly Taylor.
In his 20 years in the sport he was the 2011 Asia Pacific Champion, had wins in the 2013 Australian Safari and 2009 Targa West Classic, and he’s been State champion three times.
Last week another Hayes stunned the world of rallying by winning the 2016 WA Rally title: Abbey Hayes, Bill”s 20-year-old daughter.
What makes her success so special is she’s only been in the sport for two years.
Co-driving with Glen Forrest-bred driver Dylan King in the DK Earthworks Subaru WRX STi, the pair won the recent Safari Rally, and with it, the State title.
“She did an exceptional job,” her proud dad said.
“Interestingly, three years ago she didn’t show any interest in the sport, and I didn’t help her at all. She did it all by herself.”
A buoyant Abbey said there was still one more rally left this year.
“But the Safari secured our place on top of the podium for the WA title,” the vivacious Wembley Downs commerce student said.
“From rookie to state championship in two years, it’s quite a big achievement and we are the youngest team to win in recent history.
“I am very proud of myself, Dylan and our team.”
Abbey’s rally career started in 2014 when she began co-driving for Andy van Kann – and emerged as State rookie champion.
“My trophy cabinet filled pretty quickly for a first-timer,” she said.
“I took a break in 2015 to concentrate on my university studies and this year Dylan King and I embarked on another season in his upgraded Subaru.
“It’s been a whirlwind, with a series of highs and lows and we went into the Safari with a lead of just two points.
“Our engine played up a little in two of the stages which was nerve wracking and we had a puncture which put us back a bit, but we came away with another win – and the title.”
King said it was a difficult rally but he was thrilled to take out the win and the championship.
“I’m over the moon,” the 22-year-old earthworks operator said.
“I’ve been rallying since I was 16.”
Next year he and Abbey hope to extend their rallying to take in a couple of national championship rounds.