Youngest National Title holder makes big impression


Hawkesbay teenager Max Bayley has made a big impression in his rookie NZRC season. Photo: Euan Cameron

The 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ has seen plenty of records tumble, mostly at the hands of Richard and Sara Mason, but New Zealand rallying’s youngest national champion was also crowned in 2014, with Hawkes Bay teenager Max Bayley taking out the FIA two-wheel drive class at Rally Wairarapa.

Although Bayley has lacked for competition in the FIA two-wheel drive class, he has dominated the overall two-wheel drive title that encompasses the open two-wheel drive competitors also and has also recorded three top ten outright finishes from the four rounds to date in his R2-specification Ford Fiesta.

“It’s been pretty hard to push this season, you can gauge against some people on some rallies but all the cars are so different it’s hard to gauge yourself sometimes,” says Bayley. “We’ve just sort of been doing our own thing and getting used to the car and driving our own rally to make sure we finish.”

Despite all this success, winning was never part of the game plan for Bayley who entered the championship on a learning curve, having only contested the Daybreaker event that will be the series finale in the past.

“We weren’t really looking for anything in particular in our first year, just looking to finish all the rallies and getting some alright results.”

The rest of the season will see Bayley continue to run to his original plan of gaining experience.

“We’ll still go to the last two rounds and do our own thing, we were never really looking for championships going into the season but it will be good to get a little bit more out of the car by the end of the season so we can come back next season and have it all sorted.”

The future for Bayley will see him remain in the Fiesta for the 2015 season with aims set on some of the fastest two-wheel drive teams in the country.

“Hopefully we can be a bit more competitive with some of the faster two-wheel drive competitors next season like Marcus (van Klink) and Deane (Buist), it would be good to be up with them.”

And long term. “I guess we’d all like to be the next Richard Mason but after next year I need to worry about university so we’ll see what happens.”


Bayley and co-driver Philip Deakin have traded times with experienced 2WD campaigners Marcus Van Klink and Deane Buist throughout the season. Photo: Euan Cameron



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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