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South Island drivers get behind South Island event

 

When the NZ Silver Fern Marathon Car Rally kicks off in a little over a month's time, there will be an excellent representation of South Island competitors lined up to take part in the October 7th to 14th event.

When the NZ Silver Fern Marathon Car Rally kicks off in a little over a month's time, there will be an excellent representation of South Island competitors lined up to take part in the October 7th to 14th event.


When the NZ Silver Fern Marathon Car Rally kicks off in a little over a month's time, there will be an excellent representation of South Island competitors lined up to take part in the October 7th to 14th event.

This will be the first time a major International Status Rally, of this type, has been held on the gravel back roads in New Zealand's South Island since the days of the Heatway and Motogard Rallies, back in the 1970's and 80's.

With around 1400km's of high speed special stages, the last time any event of that size was held in the South was the 21st Anniversary Silver Fern Rally, held in 1990. Competitors are therefore seizing the chance to "play in their own back yard", with a number coming out of "retirement" to compete.

NZ Silver Fern Rally Manager, Timaru's Carl Rabbidge has praised the support of the Local Councils, the Car Clubs and their members, as well as the communities the event will pass thru. He said "the event is bringing something of interest in to some of the smaller communities of the South Island, who don't often see events of this size and status."

Starting from Picton's High Street, at midday on Saturday October 7th, the teams then 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 a week later.

One of the likely top seeds will be Waikuku farmer Brian Stokes who will drive a 1992 Ford Escort Cosworth. A former double National Rally Champion (1985 & 88) Stokes speaks very highly of the event, and as he puts it "cant bloody wait to get back to rallying like it was in the old days".


Stokes' reference being from the organisers philosophy, to bring back the days of old, when rallying was all about endurance and reliability but with a fun social side. Stokes said "with today's modern rallies lasting only a day or two, this one will need a re-think to keep us going for a whole week."

Ian Begg from Dunedin is an internationally world traveled rallyist, who has only recently returned from competing in a South American Marathon event. Begg will drive a VW Golf, and suggests "a reliable small car could do well."

Husband and wife team Dean and Kennys Pester from Cust in Canterbury, haven't competed since they finished the 21st Anniversary Silver Fern Rally back in 1990. Their Escort Mexico has been unused in the shed all this time.

Dave McMillan from Greymouth's entry shows a Toyota Celica, and he has only a few weeks left to confirm the car he will use on the event. McMillan has spent that last few years building a replica 1980's Audi Sport Quattro, and it is that "flame spitting" car the spectators will be hoping he drives.

Some of the other South Islanders entered include Nelson's Gary Adcock in a Triumph TR7-V8, Jim and Tina Smale from Gore in a Peugeot , Amberly's David Carr in a Mazda RX3, Christchurch's David Owen in a Ford Escort and
Waitaki's Robbie Elliott who will drive an Australian built Datsun Stanza.

With around 20 South Islander's of the 55 New Zealander's entered in the 75 strong international field, many will have fans out to watch as they pass by their home towns.

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

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

Paul Smith

Auto Trader New Zealand