Driver Molly Taylor and West Australian co-driver Bill Hayes have finished runners-up in the 2015 Australian Rally Championship (ARC), the fourth time Hayes has been the ARC bridesmaid.
History could have been made for Taylor to be the first female driver to win the ARC entering the final round, the Scouts Rally SA, but it was not to be, and second place has only made the Taylor-Hayes duo more determined to fight for the title next year.
Hayes said that despite a good weekend pushing hard, mechanical issues let them down in the Renault Clio R3.
“We had suspension failure on Saturday afternoon and had to limp through some of the stages, and on Sunday, the clutch went. My legs got a good work out pushing the car into the controls,” Hayes said.
“Hats off to Eli and Glen who did an outstanding job all season. They have been a true class act, and to beat them, you have push all the time, which we did at times, but it wasn’t quite enough.”
Eli Evans and Glen Weston (Citroën DS3 R3) claimed victory for the event, and their third ARC title. Ashley James and Dennis Neagle finished in third place in a VW Polo Vivo.
“Molly drove exceptionally well all year. There are plenty of boys who don’t like getting beaten by a girl, but she has integrity can certainly hold her head up high with what she’s achieved.”
When asked about playing the supporting role to female driver in a male-dominated sport, Hayes didn’t hesitate to say it made no difference.
“Once the helmets are on, we get down to business and I don’t even think about the fact Molly is a girl. She doesn’t shirk away from any of the work or mucking in when it’s needed. I respect her both as a driver and as a woman,” the former police man said.
“I did joke with Molly by saying that since she’s a girl who wears dresses, I hope that means I won’t have to wear a dress again this year, but alas, here we are, the bridesmaids.”
Hayes said that there are some opportunities being assessed for 2016 and beyond, he believes the ARC title is unfinished business with Taylor hungry for the championship win.
“We’re still in discussions about next year, but for now, I’m going to focus on my Rally School business, re-introduce myself to the family and enjoy a bit of a break,” Hayes said.
Sydney resident Taylor paid tribute to her Perth-based as co-driver describing him as a mechanic extraordinaire and psychologist great at pep talks, and has also thanked her volunteer crew for their efforts across the season.