At the beginning of 2020, Molly Taylor had an ambitious plan to join the American Rally Association championship in the USA.
But finances were tight and then came COVID-19.
So the former Australian national champion is bunkered down in Sydney and looking forward to just four starts in 2020, in the truncated ARC series in Canberra and Adelaide.
America is impossible for now, but Taylor is working hard to ensure she is a serious contender in the ARC driving the Subaru WRX she used last year.
She will continue as a Subaru Australian ambassador for the rest of the year, even though the company withdrew from forest racing at the end of last year, she is confident of driving the same car in 2020 as a privateer with Craig Brooks’ team from Tasmania.
“It felt like we had unfinished business. We think we are tantalisingly close,” Taylor tells Race News.
“I’ve kept in touch with Craig and we both wanted to see what more gains we can make. There was more stuff we wanted to try on the car.”
The car in question is called Fabio, and it’s the most-likely challenger to Harry and Lewis Bates in the twin factory-backed Toyota Yaris hotrods that will be the pacesetters in the 2020 ARC.
“Fabio is like a living animal, more than just a car. The boys put so so much work into him,” Taylor jokes.
But the failed graduation to the USA is not cause for laughter, after long talks and a face-to-fact trip to the USA to meet with the principals of the DirtFish Subaru team.
“I went over there to talk and essentially I had an offer to do two rounds and I was putting the funds together to do that. With COVID it’s gone down the toilet,” Taylor says.
The DirtFish team is based in Seattle in Washington, home of the Frasier television show and Starbucks, and fields a hotrod Subaru WRC that is one step down from the cars in the World Rally Championship.
“I’ve been looking at America for the past few years. I still want to do things here in Australia, but I’m looking for an opportunity to do some more international competition.
“Rallying is growing so much over there, and the potential could be big, so I wanted to check it out. There was nothing to lose.”
Taylor is no stranger to overseas rallying, as she competed in Britain and Europe while also working at the M-Sport rally powerhouse in Britain.
She never had big bucks or a brilliant car, but she was the Ladies champion in both the British and European Rally Championships and finished on the podium in the Junior WRC category at the daunting Rally Finland.
Since returning to Australia she has been a regular in the national championship, taking the Australian title in 2016 with Subaru.
She knows the 2020 program is short, and the Bates boys in the speedy Yaris will be tough, but she knows Canberra well and also likes the high-speed roads in South Australia.
“Everyone has done a brilliant job to try and salvage what we can for the championship. Given the scenario and options, it’s the best outcome.
“To have the ability to treat each event as a separate rally is good. Given what they had to work with it’s a good outcome.
“Obviously the target is to try and win the championship again. We know we are close to the Toyotas.”
But Taylor, now 32, has a completely new project for 2020 as she joins the television commentary team for the carsales TCR Australia Series.
She raced TCR last year in a Subaru WRX and, although the car was miserably slow, says she learned a lot. Some of that knowledge will be tapped as she reports from the TCR pitlane.
“It’s going to be interesting. I’m really looking forward to it,” she says.
“It’s not every day you get the chance to do something like that, and I think I’m going to learn a lot from the experience.”