In 2009 the Repco Rally Team’s very own Mick Patton entered a competition to win an all expenses rally drive at the Repco Rally Australia event the Australian round of the WRC.
The competition was called “The Big Bloody Rally Promotion”, Mick won the opportunity through his business Southern Automotive Service to go in to the main draw. 10 people from across Australia were drawn (2 from each state) from that main draw.
The 10 competition winners won a days driving at extremedriving.net, testing their abilities as rally drivers, from that day an eventual winner was chosen. Mick was the eventual winner, he went on to have 3 weekends of driver training and also helped prepare the car for the event, a Subaru WRX.
Mick went on to not only finish the event, but also came a credible 27th out of 45 competitors and 2nd in his class behind the winner and crazy Irishman Charlie Drake.
In 2015 Mick runs his own Rally Team in the Australian Rally Championship, his success and successful business dealings have seen him successfully secure the support of Repco since the original competition win over 6 years ago.
Now a possible new Mick Patton has emerged, Adam Bensch, 31 from Deniliquin has won a competition run by Coates Hire and Rally Australia, the “Drive of a Lifetime at Coates Hire Rally Australia”, a fully supported entry in the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship, part of the Coates Hire Rally Australia world championship round on the Coffs Coast on 10-13 September. Adam will be driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII rally car run by driver training company RallySchool.
The prize will see Adam rubbing shoulders with WRC celebrities like Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala, along with Australian Champions Neal Bates and Simon Evans, an experience like no other.
With such similar stories we thought we should speak to Adam and see how he is feeling just a week from the big event.
RRT: Hi Adam, thanks for taking the time out to chat to the RRT, how are you feeling just a week away from the big event?
AB: Hi RRT. Feeling great, its been pretty busy for the last 4 weeks, as you could imagine. I can’t wait to get the rally started.
RRT: Did you know that Mick Patton was in your shoes just a few years ago, and now he is running his own team and leading the 4WD Series of the ARC, have you looked at his presence in the ARC and not help but think you might be able to end up on a similar path with such an amazing opportunity?
AB: I knew of the name watching the ARC on TV but only recently found out that Mick had gone down the same path after he had got in contact with me. He has helped me on how to approach my first rally. I am definitely aiming to travel the same path as Mick but first I must finish!
RRT: Can you tell us what you have been doing to prepare for the rally?
AB: Quite a bit of fitness and I have been driving long distances a lot which i think will help me over the 3 days of competition. Also some rally games on the Playstation.
RRT: It was mentioned on rally.com.au that you will be writing notes as well, a task that even for the top tier guys is hard at times, how have you been preparing for that? watching in-car videos?
AB: Yeah very difficult thing on my first rally. Darren Masters(co driver) will be helping me with most of the notes. He is a top driver, as well as being a great navigator, so i am very lucky to have Darren teach and take charge. I have been watching a lot of in car footage which helped as well.
RRT: How has the town of Deniliquin taken to your news?
AB: Deni has been great, there is a lot of support here. It’s such a nice community and beautiful town. We have a great car club here with a fantastic autocross track and they have been behind me all the way.
RRT: Do you plan to use this as a stepping stone to joining the ARC? is it something you are keen to pursue? with so much good publicity has anyone approached you to sponsor you?
AB: Yeah definitely, hearing Mick Patton’s story has given me that extra confidence. The people in the rally community are very supportive always offering a lending hand, it has blown me away just how nice they have been to me. I haven’t had anyone approach me as yet. I will do my best, my focus is set on finishing the rally in a reasonable position and see what comes from that. The publicity is crazy! I haven’t had anything like this happen before so i am loving every minute of it.
RRT: With RallySchool supporting you and having some of the best drivers under their banner and many many years of experience under their belt what has Mick and the team been doing with you to prepare for this huge event?
AB: Mick and the team at rallyschool.com.au have been amazing. I have had 2 weekends at RallySchool in Melbourne. The instructors there are amazing, they are so talented. They instruct with so much enthusiasm. They have helped me massively with driving and pace notes. I highly recommend getting down there and having a go!
RRT: Have you been to RA before? or driven on the roads?
AB: No I haven’t been to Rally Australia before or driven on the roads! The stages look great. They look very fast.
RRT: Is their any rally history in the Bensch family?
AB: Yeah dad has had some success in rallying through the Nissan/Datsun car club in Melbourne. Mum and Dad both competed in autocross as well as motorkhana.
Now the important questions 🙂
RRT: Where were you born?
AB: I was born in Melbourne, Box Hill
AB: Concreter and some engineering
RRT: Favourite Rally Car?
AB: The AUDI S1 or any of the Group B cars. Also the much loved Datsun 1600
RRT: Favourite Rally Driver?
AB: Australian driver has to be Simon Evans. International is Seb Loeb
RRT: Favourite international rally? (if you have watched any)
AB: Finland. I think this would be everyone’s favourite rally. To see a rally car tackle those roads the way they do is just amazing.
RRT: Favourite Rally Team website? *hint* hint* 🙂
AB: (Laughs) The RRT website looks sharp with plenty of information on team members, cars and plenty more.
RRT: Lastly any shoutouts, anyone you wish to thank
AB: A big thank you to the family at RallySchool.com.au . Channel 10’s RPM show and Rally Australia. The repco rally team for the interview Also to the great people i have met so far. And i cant forget my beautiful wife sarah she has been amazing.
RRT: Where can fans follow your adventure?
AB: Fans can follow me on my facebook page adam bensch. I will be taking lots of pictures and video which will be fun. Thanks again guys
The RRT Website team wishes Adam all the best for Rally Australia, perhaps a star of the future.
Rally Australia officially gets underway on Thursday the 10th September with the official ceremonial start, make sure you are following the team on facebook, twitter and instagram for all the latest updates.