Silcock vows to comeback for another shot at famous trophy

John Silcock has seen it all during his rallying career but the South Islander continues to lament the trophy that somehow keeps eluding him – the Motogard Trophy.

For the second year running Silcock’s crack at lifting the famous trophy at International Rally of Whangarei ended in heartbreak. Last year he was pipped in the final stage by the tiniest of margins while this year a fuel pressure issue in his Mazda RX7 took away any chance he had of getting his hands on a prize that some of the sport’s biggest names have won over the years.

“It has been so disappointing,” Silcock said. “We got there – a stage and a half and we had low fuel pressure. Went to service – the guys did an amazing job changing two pumps – we went back out and a stage and a half later it was doing the same thing.

“On the Saturday night we put out a post to the rally community and the team went up north to a guy who had a fuel pressure valve thinking that was the issue but put it on and in 15 minutes it was doing the same thing.

“It got worse and worse all day and how the hell we got back to Whangarei [on the Sunday], I don’t know.”

The defending Historic 2WD champion in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship was a forlorn figure throughout the event as his first day troubles saw his major rival Stewart Reid take control early.

It is really frustrating,” Silcock said. “I really did ponder pulling over and just throwing in the towel but realistically we still got good points from the weekend “and once we get it sorted, we are obviously still in the hunt.

Silcock confirmed that he intends to return next year in a bid to put his name on a trophy that already contains legends of the sport like Bjorn Waldegard, Hannu Mikkola and Timo Salonen.

“It is looking that way,” he said with a rueful smile.

“I have looked at that many times and thought how cool it would be to have on the mantelpiece, but it is not the be all and end all.

“We are rallying and having fun. Winning the championship last year was cool and we are still in with a chance this year as well.

“There are lot of other guys that went off the road and a lot of expensive damage that is part of rallying so at least we got to the end.”

The next round of the championship is Rally South Canterbury on June 17.


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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