Disappointment for Summerfield at home


Photo: Euan Cameron

Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield discovered just what a cruel sport rallying can be at the third round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, Rally Cantebury, over the weekend.

Sitting second in the NZRC standings prior to the weekend, Summerfield and co-driving sister Nicole were looking forward to securing a solid result at their home event in front of friends, family, sponsors and supporters in the Matt Summerfield Rallisport tour, which was raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis NZ.

But several problems, including losing fourth gear, meant that Saturday’s two night stages in the Okuku forest didn’t bring the desired results and the pair sat in 14th place overnight.

Full of optimism for the following day despite being unable to repair the gearbox, things quickly turned sour for the pair when their engine began running rough and then fired a con-rod through the engine block, bringing their rally to an end on the first stage of the day.

“It really was a bitter pill to swallow, really disappointing not only for us but all of those that signed up on our supporters tour,” said Matt. “Now we have to put in a lot of work with the car and trying to find some money to make it to Wairarapa.”

Before the next NZRC round, Rally Wairarapa, Summerfield will contest the iconic Ashley Forest Rally Sprint. While the team are working hard to have the Castrol Edge Subaru ready for the event, Summerfield will also line up in Steve Murphy’s Mitsubishi Cordia V8.

The Cordia, which has won the 1.7km sprint on four separate occasions in the hands of both Murphy and current WRC driver Hayden Paddon, runs a mid-mounted 377 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 producing 650 horsepower with a home engineered four-wheel drive system. The car represents Summerfield’s best opportunity of victory at the exciting event.

“I really have to thank Steve for the opportunity to run his car with him, the thing is just a fire-breathing beast,” says Summerfield. “This is for sure my best opportunity to date to win what is a seriously special event.”

Matt Summerfield Rallisport would like to acknowledge their sponsors, without whom their 2014 campaign would not be possible: Castrol Edge, Autotech Services, NAC Insurance, North Canterbury Energy Centre, The Gearbox Company, Chatterton Builders, Gull Fuels, Liquorland, Ashby Engineering, I C Frith Insurance Brokers and No Limit Construction.


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The New Zealand Rally Championship is this country’s premier nationwide rally championship. It attracts New Zealand’s best drivers to compete in numerous categories for the prestigious MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned rally championship titles. In 2024, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Invercargill