From the Service Park – Rally South Canterbury
Hawkeswood has major case of FOMO
Jack Hawkeswood was a noticeable absentee from South Canterbury over the weekend but the talented youngster was watching closely, commenting on the live stream and in constant dialogue with organisers.
Apparently he is in the midst of gaining his helicopter licence, which will make it much easier getting to his Tinder dates in the future (and what girl wouldn’t be impressed with that as a pick-up vehicle?).
But after a serious case of FOMO over the weekend, expect to see Hawkeswood at the Daybreaker Rally in September.
Ayson getting itchy feet?
Another interested spectator over the weekend was former Otago Classic Rally winner Derek Ayson.
Ayson has long been tipped to enter a full season of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship and my spies suggest he is working on a potential car – does that mean he could be in for 2024 or beyond?
Ari’s mishap proves costly
Ari Pettigrew’s first stage excursion into a paddock didn’t prove as costly to the talented Holden driver as it did for the Volt Television live stream crew.
Pettigrew fired off the road at the spectator junction, all captured on the live stream, but in doing so he took out some cables running to a pair of cameras.
While the Manukau Auto Centre Holden drive dropped only 13 seconds on the stage, it cost the live stream the picture from two of its cameras and means Volt TV now need two new cameras.
At the end of the stage, co-driver Jason Farmer kindly sent the live stream crew a video of Pettigrew pulling lengths of cable out from under his car and around the tyres.
Greenie sharp as ever
Age isn’t slowing title sponsor Brian Green down. The quick-witted Green commented to co-driver Fleur Pederson that someone had knocked over his sponsorship sign as he passed the spot where Pettigrew flew off the road.
Thankfully a bit of panel beating sorted out the sign and it was good to go again.
New look calendar in 2024?
With Rally Whangarei likely moving to the end of the season next year there appears to be a much different looking calendar on the cards for 2024.
Expect to start at Otago and finish in Whangarei but where we go in between remains a much talked about discussion point.
A lot goes into sorting out when events can run from council availability, seasonal restrictions, calendar clashes, sponsor requirements, volunteer availability, car club cooperation and obviously maintaining a balanced calendar.
They were doing what?
How about Jordan Grant and co-driver Glenn Goldring playing games to entertain themselves down a couple of the long straights at South Canterbury?
Apparently the pair played a game of scissors, paper, rock in their Suzuki Swift on a couple of occasions.
Who were the two NZRC personalities that were forced to share a bed on Thursday night?
I’m not at liberty to say anymore other than it wasn’t a case of big spoon and little spoon but more of soup ladle and serving spoon if you catch my drift.
Rallying can be such a cruel sport – just ask the Stokes Motorsport crew, who have made the trek to two rallies in succession only to go out on the first stage two events running.
Robbie is a real talent and if they can put it all together, he is more than capable of winning rallies but he and his team need to keep their heads up and soldier on through these tough times.
Cameron cruelled by lolly job thief
Helen Cameron cut quite the jealous figure on the flight down to Timaru after someone else upstaged her in handing out lollies on the Air New Zealand flight.
Cameron has become accustomed to handing out the treats but some clown from the NZRC live team, pretending it was his birthday, was given the honour instead.
The photographic evidence does not make good viewing.
Off to the pub
Ben Hunt could well have been the most disappointed person in South Canterbury on Saturday night after a near flawless drive had him in control of the championship.
But needing to not only win the rally but secure the maximum five power stage points to maintain control of his championship destiny, he slid off the road on the power stage while leading the rally comfortably.
Once his Skoda New Zealand Rally 2 was pulled back onto the road, Hunt drove the car straight to the nearest pub.
The Paddon Rallysport team continue to do a phenomenal job and set the standard in many ways, but they showed even the best can have a little chink in the armour now and then.
I’m reliably told that Pedro may have got the team’s truck buried in the service park at Fairlie after all four wheels sunk once the ground thawed out. They tried all sorts to get it out but eventually had to ask for help.
Apparently, it isn’t a problem if no one tells Hayden and surely, he’s too busy to be reading this right?
Where the real battle was
Forget checking the times on Chrissport – the real battle over the weekend was the battle for position in the line at the Fairlie Bakehouse.
Teams, officials and supporters spent most of Saturday lobbying to get the last of a certain flavour of pie.
SVG keeping a close eye
Shane van Gisbergen wasn’t able to compete at South Canterbury due to his Supercars commitments but despite being in race weekend mode in Darwin, was paying plenty of attention to what was happening this side of the ditch.
SVG was a noted spectator via the live stream and was checking in with what was happening at the rally in between Supercars sessions.
We look forward to welcoming him back for the remaining two rounds of the year.