It was a double victory on the weekend for Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard, who won the 0800 Boxman Rally of Nelson and the Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship drivers’ title
Extending the overnight lead held by the 22-year-old Mitsubishi driver, Paddon won three of Sunday’s six stages held over dry and dusty forest roads south of Nelson. The winning margin was 42 seconds over Richard Mason and Hamish Fenemor of Masterton in a Subaru.
Paddon’s dominance ensured he had enough of a point advantage in the five round Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship series to claim back-to-back titles. Mason finished second for the season following a horror run early in the event by Hamilton’s Emma Gilmour and co-driver Glenn Macneall. Puncturing twice on Saturday, the Subaru pair never recovered the lost time, allowing Mason to overtake the 29-year-old’s championship placing.
A return to four-wheel-drive competition, Auckland’s Patrick Malley and Malcolm Read in a Mitsubishi continued with the first day pace, finishing behind Mason for third in the 279 kilometre weekend competition.
With punctures decimating the performance of most teams’, only 20 of the original 54 starters finished the event, 13 belonging to the championship.
“It has been a perfect year and this is the icing on the cake. To come away with the rally win is pretty special and a huge testament to the guys in Team Green,” said Paddon.
“With the championship wrapped up yesterday today was all about trying to win the rally. In the second stage we picked up a rock that got jammed in the prop-shaft, which made the car felt like it had a puncture. Then we found it had damaged the differential pump which has been burning out as the day has gone on. It was still OK to drive, it just got a little more sideways than we liked – but it was good fun.”
Both Paddon and Mason were in alternate cars following respective success at the recent World Rally Championship event in Australia. Their cars are still en-route to New Zealand, forcing them to make other arrangements to contest the championship finale.
“We’ve had a fantastic event,” said Mason in the BNT Subaru. “The car has done a fantastic job for us and we’re a bit up against it here; it’s Mitsubishi territory – it’s pretty fast and our poor car has been strung out most of the time.”
A lead change in the two-wheel-drive standings has seen Nelson local Dominick Unterberger and co-driver Chris Lancaster finish ahead of Whangarei’s Ben Jagger and Ben Hawkins – the pair both in Ford Fiesta’s.
Consistency rewarded Christchurch’s Josh Marston and co-driver Raymond Bennett (RDL Mitsubishi). Switching to the open four-wheel-drive class for the rally, they finished sixth overall and ahead of favourites Glenn Inkster and Glenn Goldring (TransNet Mitsubishi) from Timaru.
Results: Overall - 0800 Boxman Rally of Nelson (top-ten provisional) 19-20 September 2009
1 Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (Geraldine) Mitsubishi 2:55:28.3
2 Richard Mason/Hamish Fenemor (Masterton) Subaru +0:42.6
3 Patrick Malley/Malcolm Read (Auckland) Mitsubishi +2:05.4
4 Matt Jansen/Jason Farmer (Christchurch) Subaru +6:00.9
5 Emma Gilmour/Glenn Macneall (Hamilton) Subaru +7:07.3
6 Josh Marston/Raymond Bennett (Christchurch) Mitsubishi +7:13.5
7 Piran Pigneguy/Ric Chalmers (Hutt Valley) Mitsubishi +9:28.8
8 Kingsley Thompson/Malcolm Peden (Kerikeri) Mitsubishi +11:21.1
9 Steve Forsberg/Craig Whyburn (Australia) Subaru +12:02.3
10 39 Richard Bateman/Sharisse Guckett (Blenheim) Mitsubishi +12:10.2
Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship - Goldstar driver points (top-ten after five of five rounds)
1 Hayden Paddon (Geraldine) 348
2 Richard Mason (Masterton) 262
3 Emma Gilmour (Hamilton) 252
4 Matt Jansen (Christchurch) 162
5 Kingsley Thompson (Kerikeri) 132
6 Patrick Malley (Auckland) 131
7 Kieran Hall (Nelson) 128
8 Ben Jagger (Whangarei) 126
9 Sloan Cox (Rotorua) 107
10= Chris West (Christchurch) 98
10= Josh Marston (Christchurch) 98