O’Dowd wins final WARC round

pic: Gemma Lucas, Drift Images

John O’Dowd has had a huge end to the 2017 CAMS Onslow Contracting WA Rally Championship season by blitzing the field at the Carrington’s Safari Rally around Chidlow.

He and co-driver Ken Sheil were fastest on four of five stages of the event and claimed victory by almost 90 seconds over their nearest rivals.

“It was rough out there,” O’Dowd said. “But we knew what we had to do and everything just gelled.”

For O’Dowd and Sheil, who consistently finished on the podium throughout the 2017 WARC season, the Safari victory was their first outright win.

“It was a great way to end the WARC season,” O’Dowd said. “We’re really happy.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to steal the state championship from Tom Wilde and Madelin Kirkhouse who were third at the Carrington’s Safari Rally and finished just two points ahead in the championship.

“We did all we could out there,” O’Dowd said. “We fell just short of the championship, but Tom and Maddie have done an amazing job this year.”

“They’ve certainly provided some great competition on the gravel.”

O’Dowd said he was proud of what he and Sheil had achieved in their first year competing together and he looked forward to see how they’d go in the 2018 CAMS Australian Rally Championship.

“That’s our main goal for next year,” he said.

O’Dowd and Sheil have successfully tested the waters in several interstate events this year and, next month, head to the NSW Coff’s Coast for the Kennards Hire Rally Australia.

The event is the final round of the 2017 ARC as well as a round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

“It’s a great opportunity to share the roads with the best drivers in the world and a great way to round out the year,” O’Dowd said.

“2017 has been awesome for Ken and I and we want to thank all our supporters and sponsors – Maximum Motorsport, Knightcorp Insurance, Pacific Finance, Truck Wholesale WA, O’Dowd Transport and Rent WA.”

“We couldn’t have done it without them.”