From the Service Park – Rally South Canterbury

The NZRC team were out and about at Stadium Finance Rally South Canterbury over the weekend. Their research for this column really goes the extra mile.

They were out late looking for stories until the wee small hours of Friday morning and covered the width and breadth of the event.

Gotcha finally
Marcus van Klink thought he had got away with a rather embarrassing moment at Whangarei last month when this column failed to mention a faux pas on his behalf.
But From the Service Park never sleeps and footage emerged over the weekend that shows Klinky driving straight over top of a “Road Closed” sign as he exited a stage up north.
So eager to check his results, the Mazda driver momentarily focussed on the times and not on the road.
A reminder – we are always watching – just as Klinky should have been.

Congrats to Ari and Samantha
A hat-tip to Ari Pettigrew and Samantha Grey for officially securing the Open 2WD championship at Rally South Canterbury over the weekend.
The pair have dominated the field through the opening pair of two-day events and secured the title despite a rough weekend.
Pettigrew and Grey will turn their attentions to the overall 2WD title now as well as the Junior Driver title.

New do
We are trying to work out which 80s pop star Tony Rawstorn most resembled at Timaru as he sported a new haircut.
Ben Hunt suggested it might have been a case of Tony trying to emulate his hero Richard Mason but we think he is more a cross between George Michael in the Wham! days and a member of Flock of Seagulls.

What else can you say?
Emma Gilmour and co-driver Mal Peden sadly failed to finish stage two on Saturday in their Vantage Suzuki.
But instead of packing up shop, the pair decided to conduct an impromptu livestream on Mal’s Facebook page, much to the delight of fans.

New beast on the way
Todd Bawden is set to unleash his new Ford Fiesta R5 as early as the next round of the championship in the Hawke’s Bay.
Bawden did well to nurse his older Mitsubishi EVO 6 home after suffering a broken axle and some other mechanical issues on Saturday.
He has purchased a brand-new Fiesta R5 and it is due to arrive in the country in the next fortnight.

A shout out to Mr Bawden too for kindly paying the tab for the NZRC team at a Timaru restaurant on Friday night.
Bawden and his team happened to be at the next table during the meal and when the NZRC team went to settle their bill they found that Bawden had picked it up already.

Big names to return
While South Canterbury saw the addition of Mike Young to the NZRC field there is likely to be even more additions next time out in Hawke’s Bay.
Jack Hawkeswood, Dylan Turner and Matt Adams are all likely to return to bolster the open 4WD class.
There have also been rumours of a BIG guest inclusion but that looks a lot less likely to happen now.
Maybe the driver in question will make Coromandel in September.

Who ate all the pies?
If the NZRC paddock was to make guesses on which member of the NZRC crew woofed down more food at the Fairlie Bakehouse on Saturday you’d think Blair Bartels or Dale Budge would be favourites.
But the winner was actually the dark horse and rather petit Krystal Brock.
Who knows where she puts it but the girl can eat?

Raise a glass
The wife of a well-known NZRC competitor is promising to improve the quality of champagne at podium celebrations in the future.
The lady in question, who is known to enjoy a glass or two, has taken it upon herself to organise some sponsorship in the future.
Watch this space.

Always take the weather with you
NZRC coordinator Simon Bell was forced to watch the weekend’s action live from his home in Auckland as work commitments prevented him from traveling south.
A week out he was throwing around weather forecasts and giving the rest of the NZRC team grief about the cold and wet weather they were likely to face at South Canterbury.
As it happened however, South Canterbury turned on delightful weather Saturday while Auckland was hit with massive downpours and even a tornado.

Which driver and co-driver were spotted out very late on Thursday night and went back to their motel for a snooze between recce and the ceremonial opening Friday night?
Their late night didn’t impact their performance at all and despite the late hour there were no signs of untoward behaviour.

Who did it best?
The tricky end to stage eight will be remembered by a number of drivers leaving South Canterbury.
Raana Horan made a tiny mistake and it cost him second place when he backed his Generator Rentals Skoda off the road just short of the finish line.
He was followed into exactly the same spot by the experienced Shane Murland as well as Charlie Evans later in the stage.

The wheel always turns
How about Blair Bartels getting a good dose of karma at the prizegiving on Saturday night?
As he was entering the event, Bartels stopped to lift the windscreen wipers on Derek Ayson’s ute in the oldest of practical jokes.
But as he was laughing at his little ploy, he turned and ran to catch up with the rest of his team only to barrel straight into a tow-bar of the next door car, much to the delight of onlookers.


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