From the Service Park – summer special

You want the truth? We only speak the truth
I want to start this edition of From the Service Park to explain a couple of things about this column.
Every single story that we report here is truthful and comes from real factual information. We never make things up.
On occasion, I take a little poetic licence and intentionally lead readers down a path that gets their creative juices flowing but there is always truth to everything I write.
We also take a light-hearted view at the happenings around the sport with the intent of entertaining. We never want to belittle anyone and hope you all understand that any piss-taking is done so with the utmost respect of the competitors that make our sport so awesome.
It is a lot of fun to put together and hopefully it entertains you and gets you talking about our sport.

Farewell Ken Block – one of rally’s greatest treasures
We start on a sad note with the passing of legendary driver and someone close to our hearts here at the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship in American Ken Block.
Block was a regular visitor to our shores and had formed a close bond with a number of our competitors.
He was an absolute pleasure to deal with, a true supporter of Kiwi rallying and someone that helped put our sport on the map.
There are many great stories about Block from his time here and we know his memory will live on through those that he touched.

More M-Sport Fiestas coming to NZ
Two more M-Sport Ford Fiestas will be lining up in this year’s Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.
The latest two, due to arrive early in 2023, could be game changers for the two talented drivers that have ordered them.
We’ll let the two drivers make their own announcements but expect these moves to be game-changers this season.

And some Toyota Yaris WRC2 cars too
Speaking of new cars – I’m hearing there are five – count ‘em five – new Toyota Yaris WRC2 cars on order to be shipped down to New Zealand in time for 2024.
Not all will be competing in the NZRC but some definitely will be so watch this space.

Return of a star
Who will be peddling the Auckland Denture Clinic Skoda Fabia R5 at Otago Rally in April?
With Kingsley Jones opting not to run the car in the championship this year (though we understand he will be driving a car) there is speculation about who will be behind the wheel of the car we last saw perpendicular to a stream in Rally New Zealand.
I’ll give you a clue – the driver is returning to the NZRC after a few years not competing and will be a popular addition to the championship.

Congratulations are in order
A huge congratulations to a couple of our NZRC family on their engagements over the summer.
Hayden Paddon has got engaged to his long-term partner Sarah while Dylan Thomson has got engaged with partner Sheridan.
A massive congrats to both drivers and their lovely partners (and we look forward to the wedding invites)!

Emma’s worst kept secret
It was the worst kept secret in rallying circles late last year, but Emma Gilmour has confirmed that she will peddle a new car in 2023.
Gilmour will rally the Citroen C3 Rally 2 car used by Armin Kremer at Rally New Zealand.
While we were sworn to secrecy the rumour did the rounds in rally circles after a few sharp-sighted fans spotted the car being shipped to Dunedin on the back of an open trailer towed by Emma’s truck.
We look forward to Emma putting her best foot forward this season.

Historic class to get major boost
I’m hearing there is set to be a strong field in the Historic 2WD championship this season.
We hear that reigning champion John Silcock isn’t the only former champion coming out to play in the category.
Look forward to a healthy battle this year.

Xmas must-see movies well received
The feedback from our NZRC must-see Christmas movie list has been positive but the best story we’ve heard was Bryn Jones walking into a local shop only to be recognised as the guy from the movie poster of Brokedown Mountain!


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