Teams’ Cup mid-season update

The Teams’ Cup is often overlooked in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, but brings competitors from multiple classes together. This week, we shine the spotlight on the Teams’ Cup for Challenge competitors, those competing in Categories 5a & 5b.

To start the season off, just the two teams registered, “Team GCs” which we’re sure means they’re a team of Great Competitors, consisting of Jeff Ward and Jared Hudson for Otago, then Matt Hayward, teaming up with Jonty Brenssell and Ben Trevelyan. Up against them would be “Jnr Masters” with Zeal Jones and Matt Sayers teaming up with Brian Green and Fleur Pedersen.

While teams’ points are awarded on class placings, so a perfect score would consist of two competitors winning their respective classes, a lack of two wheel drive competitors meant both teams consisted of cars in the same class.

The season got off to a perfect start for Team GCs at Rally Otago, with Brenssell and Ward one-two in the class on the opening stage, while Jones and Green were third and fourth respectively. Stage two would see it all change, with a solid collision with a tree ending Brenssell’s charge. Ward would carry on to take the win despite a scare on the final super special stage, leading home Green after a trip through a fence damaged Jones’ radiator and ended his day early.

Next up, Rally Whangarei, saw Ward the sole team representative. However a puncture and a subsequent comedy of errors changing the wheel just after the lunch break ruled him out of contention for a repeat win. Over at the Jnr Masters team, Jones came out of the box firing and would take his first win, a superb result for the youngster and some crucial points for the team, with Green retiring out of second place when he had a leaking gearbox oil cooler two stages from home. That allowed Ward into second and a strong haul of points.

After two rounds, the two teams were separated by a single point. But there would be another team join the party, with Silage Stack Tyres (Tim Smith/Sarah Brennan and Brett Maddren/Erik Johnsson) getting in on the action. The irony of the team pairings was the Maddren had acted as co-driver for Smith at Otago, before jumping behind the wheel of his two-wheel drive Starlet turbo for South Canterbury. There was a further twist, with Brenssell back in his Starlet after damage to his Evo was too severe to fix in time.

Sadly for Team GCs, Brenssell’s return again was over with just one time on the board. This time a broken axle towards the end of the opening stage couldn’t stop a fastest time amongst the two-wheel drives, but meant he would go no further.

The Jnr Masters fared better early on, Jones taking the opening stage win, with Green slotting in third fastest, the pair split by Silage Stack Tyres’ Smith, while Maddren was second fastest of the two-wheel drive and inherited that lead with Brenssell’s demise, a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

The next stage saw the tables turned, a high-speed spin for Jones dropped him to sixth, Smith moving into the lead with Ward jumping from sixth to second. Jones would bounce back to third on the next stage with a  win, moving him ahead of Green.

Ward would open an 11 second lead before the second service, were the team discovered a fuel leak and retired, putting Smith at the top of the standings again and Silage Stack Tyres in a strong points position, with Jnr Masters down to one car after an uncharacteristic rollover for Green.

Smith and Maddren would carry on for victory in their respective classes, Smith’s third fastest on the power stage the only points left on the table by the team. Jones meanwhile was in a battle for second with Paul Cross, the pair entering the final stage equal around Levels raceway, but experience prevailed, dropping Jones to third.

Those points would be crucial up for Jnr Masters, taking their total to 83 ahead of Silage Stack Tyres, making their first appearance count to sit on 58, one ahead of Team GCs on 57, suffering from the Timaru double DNF.

With Brenssell likely to miss the final two rounds and the plans of Maddren and Smith yet to be confirmed, Jnr Masters lead on paper is a strong one, but as we know, rallying is a strange sport where almost anything can happen.


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