From the Service Park – Rally Bay of Plenty

We hope everyone enjoyed Battery Town Rally Bay of Plenty over the weekend and have enjoyed the 2023 season as a whole.

With Dylan Turner and Jack Hawkeswood not competing over the weekend, we are a little light on material this time but there were still plenty of things to look at.

SVG is a freak
How good was Shane van Gisbergen over the weekend? We have all been wowed by his foray into rallying but being able to beat Hayden Paddon on more than one occasion with outright pace is no small feat.
Let’s hope we get to see SVG back rallying again in the next couple of years.

Seventh heaven for Paddon
A massive congratulations too to Paddon, who wins an unprecedented seventh national title despite missing a round once again this year.
The WRC rally winner is driving as well as he ever has, and his achievements are under appreciated because of the high standard he has set.
Hat tip to him for acknowledging just how good Van Gisbergen was as well.
We have been very blessed to have two absolute rock stars of world motorsport in our championship.

What an opportunity
Paddon is also doing his bit to help the sport in New Zealand by inviting some of the best up-and-coming young talent to test drive his Hyundai in a couple of weeks.
The likes of Jordan Grant, Zeal Jones, Jackson Clendon and Bryn Jones will get to drive the most successful car in New Zealand Rallying history as part of his Winmax Brakes program.

Swift rebuild for Jordan
Speaking of Grant, the whisper doing the rounds at Bay of Plenty is that he will rebuild the Suzuki Swift he crashed at Daybreaker.
With the help of Glen Cameron at Tauranga Motor Company and Suzuki New Zealand, Grant has found a shell to fix the car.

He said what?
When you work as a commentator with live microphones, every now and then you say something in the heat of the moment that you either regret or something that simply comes out wrong.
That was the case for Budgie on Sunday after the rally.
Sitting outside the motel room, with a group of NZRC competitors and fellow crew members having an end-of-day beer, he let slip a line that he won’t live down for a while.
We can’t go into detail without embarrassing other parties but it’s fair to say, Budgie was left red-faced and speechless much to the delight of onlookers.

On the down low
Which talented youngster is likely to make a step up into a different category next season?

Sending out an SOS
NZRC live crew members Simon Bell and Carl Fenn did a sterling job with two live streams on Sunday but it very nearly came unstuck.
Fenn sent Bell through a short cut and ultimately got them lost.
Worst still their car battery was playing up and they couldn’t re-start their car.
Rumour has it that while they were stuck in a Rotorua forest, they were starting to discuss cuddling up in the back seat together for the night when help arrived on the scene and saved the day.

The six year plan
Kingsley Jones informed this column of his six-year master plan at the Daybreaker Rally and it appeared to be well thought out and convincing.
He retold the story at Bay of Plenty over the weekend except the cars in the plan were totally different and wife Waverley didn’t seem to be aware of any of it.
Suffice to say we expect to see Kingsley in the championship next season but whether that is in his Skoda, the EVO or a BDA Escort remains to be seen.

Letting off some steam
The NZRC Live team weren’t just dusty on Sunday because of what the cars were throwing up in the warm conditions. They had enjoyed a meal of Indian takeaway (who doesn’t love a good Butter Chicken?) while watching the election coverage on Saturday night.
It is fair to say there was more hot air coming from the back seat of the Omega Rental Cars Rav 4 on Sunday than from Chloe Swarbrick’s election night speech on Saturday.


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