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International car rally returns to South Canterbury

 

After a 30 year absence, an International Car Rally will once again be seen on the roads of South Canterbury, when the NZ Silver Fern Marathon Rally travels through the area between October 7th and 14th.

After a 30 year absence, an International Car Rally will once again be seen on the roads of South Canterbury, when the NZ Silver Fern Marathon Rally travels through the area between October 7th and 14th.

Kevin Pateman president of the South Canterbury Car Club said "We are delighted to have this international event in our backyard and are working hard with the organisers on the event which will bring a number of the special stages close to areas like Fairlie, Waimate and Timaru.

The field of 75 cars will include 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist who will be driving a classic Ford Escort RS1800. Many of the cars entered for the event will be from the classic 1970's and 80's era, and include Mazda RX3's, Escort's, Triumph's, Datsun's and Toyota's

With 11 entries from Australia, and a team of five Porsche's coming from the UK, the event will have a truly international flavor. Also included in the line-up are four NZ national champions from the past, in Kaiapoi's Brian Stokes, Aucklander Blair Robson, Wellingtons' Joe McAndrew and Palmerston North's Bruce Herbert.

Local entry, South Canterbury farmer Robbie Elliott has partnered up with his long time friend, Brisbane based Neville Barton, and will be driving a 1980 Datsun Stanza SSS rally car, which Barton purchased in Australia earlier this year specially for the event.

On the organisers side, Timaru's Carl Rabbidge is the Rally Manager for the event, and has spent the last twelve months planning the event and the route it will take. Carl still likes to drive himself when he can, and has a few cars in the garage waiting that will have to wait for another day. His experience on the rally roads and race tracks is well known and respected in New Zealand motorsport circles.


Gary Smith, chairman of organising committee for the NZ Silver Fern Rally said "that competitors were delighted to be returning to the roads made famous by those early international events. Organisers have received tremendous support from the various local authorities, property owners and the Car Clubs along the route."

With around 1500km's of planned high speed special stages the October 7th to 14th event will be the first time a major International Status Rally has been held in New Zealand's South Island since the 1980 Motogard Rally.

The NZ Silver Fern Rally will start from the Picton waterfront, at midday on Saturday October 7th, before teams compete their way around the South Island with overnight stops in Greymouth, Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch before returning via Nelson to the finish in Blenheim.

Event organisers would like to acknowledge the assistance of sponsors, Scenic Circle Hotels, Budget Rentals, Team Talk Mobile, Variety and Kea Campers New Zealand.

Full details of the event, are available from :- www.silverfernrally.co.nz



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