From the Service Park – Rally Hawke’s Bay

It was another enjoyable and successful weekend of rallying at the Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay. Our NZRC team were out in force to find these latest news gems for you.

What we love about the sport
How about the camaraderie in the NZRC? The look of genuine disappointment on Ben Hunt’s face when he was informed of Shane van Gisbergen’s demise from the lead of SS4 was clearly evident despite him being promoted to top spot. Likewise, Dylan Thomson was disappointed for rival Jordan Grant, who had bettered him for speed all day only to get stuck in unfortunate circumstances on the final stage.
While some people will say the sport is too nice and competitors should be more ruthless, this column disagrees and believes there is room to be both competitive and do everything possible to win while displaying good sportsmanship at the same time. Hat tip to both Hunt and Thomson.

Hawkeswood gets into ‘the mood”
Jack Hawkeswood does what a lot of athletes do just prior to getting into the arena to perform – he listens to music to fire himself up.
However this column has come across footage that shows the talented youngster belting out Sex Bomb by Tom Jones at the top of his voice on the way to the next stage, begging the question as to what kind of mood he’s getting into just before launch time.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t see him go into limp mode too often.

Friends in high places
It pays to have friends in high places in almost any sport but that was certainly the case for Shane van Gisbergen at Hawke’s Bay.
SVG got stuck in SS4 and had to be towed out but unfortunately the rope kept breaking as he tried to get his Supercheap Auto Skoda back to service where his team could race the clock to get a new gearbox installed in time for the next stage.
A quick call to ex-Supercars star and Hawke’s Bay local Greg Murphy, who was watching the event from a helicopter, saw a new tow rope flown in and SVG’s team did the rest.

SVG gets everyone excited about the future
Van Gisbergen was a massive hit at Hawke’s Bay, attracting huge lines of spectators trying to get a photo or autograph of the Supercars star.
He proved his unquestioned talent once again by winning the first three stages of the rally to be leading when he ran into misfortune.
But the drums are beating for Van Gisbergen to do more rallying with rival competitors and fans alike almost as excited as he is about getting to the start line.

SVG’s biggest fan
We hope the Turner household is all OK and over the COVID bout that saw Dylan have to withdraw from the event over the weekend.
However, rumours have it he made a mad dash down on Friday was spotted lining up on Friday night at the Soundshell to try and get SVG’s autograph.

Another new car on the way
Another R5 car appears to be coming out to New Zealand for a tilt at the championship next year.
A well-known competitor that hasn’t been seen for a couple of years is reportedly finalising a deal that would put him behind the wheel of a new generation car.
Who you ask? Let’s just say the car will be based in the North Island but not in Auckland.

Thirsty work
Bryn Jones cannot be criticised for putting anything less than 100 percent into his rallying. The youngest Jones is an intense figure behind the wheel and is enjoying a strong season.
But he was a little too focussed when he got to the end of one of Saturday’s stages red faced and sweaty – he wondered why nothing happened when he tried to take a sip out of his camelback only to realise that water doesn’t flow from his microphone headset!

Smoke signals next time?
Jeff Ward and co-driver Murray O’Neil had to resort to hand signals at one point during the event.
Everything was going smooth until Ward saw his co-driver signal five and then one right. What O’Neil was trying to show him was a six right (five plus one).
Thankfully they made it safely through.

Can I see some identification?
This column acquired some interesting personal information at the Hawke’s Bay after party on Saturday night. One young competitor had borrowed someone else’s ID to get into the R18 bar and was attempting to call himself “McLovin.”
The silly thing was he didn’t need identification as both of his parents were there with him anyway.
Another competitor, who shall remain nameless, has the official middle names of Snapper John as witnessed on their drivers’ licence.


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