News between the rallies…
The 2015 Brian Green Property Group NZ Rally Championship resumes battle this weekend at round four the FUCH’s Rally Gisborne. To catchup on all the latest news in the NZRC carry on reading below…..
One of the largest NZRC fields for several years will converge on Gisborne this weekend, the attraction of the infamous Motu stage drawing many drivers to the East Coast of the North Island. Four drivers will make their first appearance of the season with Sloan Cox (Rotorua – Mitsubishi Evo X) returning to the overall 4WD category, Matt Jensen (Auckland – Mitsubishi Evo 7) and Simon Bell (Auckland – Subaru Legacy) joining the Gull Rally Challenge 4WD field, while spectacular BDA Escort pilot Regan Ross (Kaikoura) enters the Gull Rally Challenge 2WD category.
Unfortunately the much anticipated return of defending National champions Richard & Sara Mason will have to wait for another day. The champion pairing have been a late withdrawl from the FUCHS Rally Gisborne. The Masons have been racing to prepare their 2005 & 06 championship winning car (Subaru Impreza Version 7) that they have recently re-purchased, however electrical issues earlier in the week have lead to the decision to withdrawl and get the car fighting fit before competition. With two rounds of the championship left (Coromandel and Wairarapa) we are sure to see the Masons in action before the season is complete.
Its been a busy four weeks since the last round for Matt & Nicole Summerfield. The brother and sister team from Rangiora who rolled out of their home rally while holding second place have been busy repairing their damaged Subaru. Matt is hoping to get back onto the pace the team showed on leg two at Otago where they were fastest on the Power Stage.
Making a welcome return to the NZRC at Gisborne is Rotorua driver Sloan Cox in the Taslo Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. Sloan has spent the first part of the year concentrating on running the ex Hawkeswood Evo Hillclimb car and competed at April’s Race to the Sky. Joined by Erin Kyle in the co-driver seat, Cox is looking forward to resuming battle in the NZRC and competing on the Motu stage. “At the start of my rallying career, I missed out on competing in Rally Rotorua by one year due to my age, Dad and Tarryn would always talk about the Motu stage, I can’t wait to finally get a chance to compete on the infamous old Rotorua rally stage myself” states Cox.
Shannon Chambers exciting new Volkswagen Polo is nearing completion at the M2 Competition workshop. In just five weeks a bare shell has been transformed into a gravel spitting monster, unfortunately the new car will just miss being ready for Gisborne. Chambers is hoping to debut the new car at round five of the NZRC Goldrush Rally Coromandel. We will keep you posted once the car is completed.
Co-driver Malcolm Read will return to the NZRC at Gisborne alongside Dylan Turner fresh from a second overall placing at Rally Queensland, the third round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. Read co-driving for fellow Kiwi Mike Young ended the Australian event second behind Swede Pontus Tidemand, winner of the Whangarei round of the APRC. Interestingly Turner and Read were the last winners of Rally Gisborne taking victory in the non-championship regional event held in 2013.
And finally speaking of previous winners, the last time Gisborne featured as a round of the National Rally Championship was back in 2012. The event was the final round of the 2012 series and contested over two legs. The early pace setters including Chris West (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), Richard Mason (Subaru Impreza) & Emma Gilmour (Subaru Impreza) all encountered issues leading to their retirement. Emerging from the carnage ahead with a fast consistent drive was series sponsor and experienced campaigner Brian Green who secured victory from a young up and comer driving a Ford Fiesta by the name of Ben Hunt. Both Green and Hunt will be hoping for similar results this weekend, and with the challenging and demanding nature of the Eastern Bay of Plenty stages we are predicting another exciting and ‘unpredictable event’
Photos: Geoff Ridder