BC Rally champion takes to the stages again
Mark Jennings-Bates, former Western Canada Open Class champion driver is heading back to the fast forest rally stages again this weekend in Invermere’s Rocky Mountain Rally May 24-26.
It has been a long break for the driver who rose from the ranks of novice to champion in a few short years when he started rallying in 2005. Now at 56-years-old he is ready for the challenge again.
Mark is driving for the BIgO Tires rally team in the Valley Mitsubishi Evo 4 and will be trying to keep up with much faster and more technologically advanced vehicles.
“A lot has changed since I started rallying,” said Jennings-Bates, adding, “I think the completion is faster in general and the equipment is night and day different. We are running an old spec Mitsubishi Evo which will struggle to keep up with the top five but with a little luck we can find our way there.”
For this event the team is eyeing a top 10 finish, which will be a challenge in a field of almost 40 teams who are assembling this weekend in Invermere. Initially seeded 23rd in the start order, Jennings-Bates will have to attempt to kick in to high gear at the beginning and gain some valuable places in the start order.
Joining Mark in the co-drivers seat this year will be Jackie Jennings-Bates, his wife who is looking forward to the challenge. With only one test day to settle in to notes, the team is confident that Jackie has the skills required to do a competent job of keep Mark fast and importantly, on the road.
The final hurdle for the team is to get the “new to them” vehicle through a series of initial inspections. If all goes well, they will be starting on Saturday morning.