Gold Card Cup mid-season update
This week we focus on the newest class within the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, the Gold Card Cup.
Introduced in 2021, as the name suggests, drivers over the age of 65 qualify for the class with results decided across the first day of each event.
With three drivers registered for the class, the competition was decimated by ferry crossings with both Dave Strong and Mike Cameron forced out of the season opener. However, a return to form saw Brian Green take maximum points and the early lead.
As the series came back North to Whangarei and all three competitors crossed the start ramp, it looked like Green would be on for back-to-back wins, until a damaged oil cooler in the afternoon. That meant Strong, the defending champion Gold Card competitor, got his title defence underway with a win, leading home Cameron when the competition wrapped up in the dark of the Pohe Island super special.
Equal series leader Strong would miss the third round in Timaru as he completed a cruise around the world, leaving Green and Cameron to duke it out. Green made the early pace, before an uncharacteristic error saw him roll out of the rally. That left Cameron, who just had to finish to take maximum points and take a significant championship lead. All was going well until the final special stage, six laps of the short circuit at Levels Raceway. Cameron, against the advice of his co-driver, came off the track after five laps rather than the required six, meaning he hadn’t completed the rally route and was considered a non-finisher.
It leaves a tantalising battle through the final two rounds, with Green and Strong equal on 25 points, with Cameron just three points behind on 22.