From the Service Park – pre-season edition

We got our first real taste of rallying in 2022 with the Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200 over the weekend.

While Hayden Paddon was blitzing the field we were busy looking for the latest stories and rumours to keep ourselves busy until the NZRC opener next month.


Turner passes the torch
Jack Smith did a great job helping run the Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200, which ran smoothly and was a success.
However he must have spent too much time with Dylan Turner as his logistical skills in sorting accommodation were no better than the Audi driver’s performance at Otago a couple of years ago.
The livestream team ended up in a revamped sheering shed, without bedding, and with communal bathrooms.
There are some things one shouldn’t have to hear (let alone smell) while having a morning shower.

The merry-go-round to shake up the NZRC
Some high-profile driver and car merry-go-round action is set to make the pointy end of the 2022 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship the most open championship in recent memory.
We are hearing some big guns will be driving different cars this year and the flow-on impact will reverberate around the whole championship, with old cars being passed on to other drivers.
Expect to see two leading peddlers behind the wheel of cars with new manufacturer badges on them this season.

Quite the collection
There will be more R5 and AP4 cars competing this season than ever before, and it is quite possible that every single East-West AP4 car still in New Zealand will compete at the same event.
The only exception to that being a car that was too badly damaged to repair.
The whisper is a couple of cars that were sitting in sheds will now be run this year.

Dude! Where’s my car?
Tim Smith came over to Ben Nevis Station to check out the Golden 1200 and support his brother’s efforts to organise it.
After celebrating on Sunday night with a team BBQ and a few (well maybe more than a few) drinks, Smith woke on Monday morning to find his car missing from where it had been left in the gated community at Highlands Raceway.
A fellow competitor made the snap decision to take the car to Queenstown Airport half an hour away and hadn’t informed Smith.
In the end the livestream team dropped Smith to his car and he began the long drive back to Christchurch a little later than planned.

Up on blocks
It wasn’t a good morning to be a Smith sibling while owning a car.
Poor Jack Smith woke up to find his personal car on blocks, without any wheels.
It was allegedly a prank involving brother Tim, so I guess Karma took care of the payback without Jack even knowing.

Volkswagen R5 to compete this year
We hinted at this move in our last From the Service Park edition prior to Christmas but can now speak openly about it.
One new edition to the championship will be a Volkswagen Polo R5 with Andy Martin securing the car out of Europe.
Martin is likely to debut the new car at Otago Rally in April.

Co-driver swap
Jared Hudson and Brianna Little have swapped seats for the 2022 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.
Hudson will sit alongside fellow youngster Bryn Jones this season while Little will co-drive for Phil Campbell in the Roofing Store Ford Fiesta AP4.


About The Author


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