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Ayson wins 50th Anniversary Gore Rally


Clinton driver Derek Ayson continued his good form when he won the ESCC 50th Anniversary Gore Rally in the Eastern Southland and West Otago areas yesterday.

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Clinton driver Derek Ayson continued his good form when he won the ESCC 50th Anniversary Gore Rally in the Eastern Southland and West Otago areas yesterday.

Ayson, the top seed and also President of the Eastern Southland Car Club, dominated the day winning 8 of the 9 Special Stages. He steadily built his lead throughout the event to win by 46 seconds from John Giltrap of Lincoln.

After second seed Deane Buist of Christchurch had won the opening stage by 2 seconds from Ayson, the South Otago driver won every remaining stage of the rally. After crossing the finish line a happy Ayson said his biggest dramas of the day had been missing a couple of junctions. He had also clipped a rock, pushing the inner guard onto his right front wheel during Special Stage 5. The reigning Mainland Rally Champion said he had used Silverstone "mud" tyres on the opening three stages to good effect. Ayson also praised his service crew, who kept the car "100% reliable", and thanked new co - driver Nicole France for an awesome job. He also congratulated second and third placegetters John Giltrap of Lincoln and Regan Ross of Kaikoura for committed drives in a new "blind" rally, referring to the fact that the event did not feature notes. Ayson took the opportunity to pay tribute to his normal co - driver Andrew Graves of Gore and his co - driver Jared Leebody. "This was the first rally in 6 years that Andrew has not co - driven for me and it was good to see him finish in a top placing.

The rally featured some close battles behind Ayson with Giltrap coming through to snare second place after some impressive stage times in his Subaru Impreza. Kaikoura driver Regan Ross was a further 21 seconds back in third place in an EVO 8, while Buist was 4th in his EVO 6 after losing 4th gear in the penultimate special stage. He finished 7 seconds ahead of Greg Teece of Nelson in yet another Mitsubishi. Marlborough driver David Gee was the big mover in the top placings, finishing 6th in his Subaru after starting 28th. Graves was 7th, an amazing effort considering it was just his second ever rally. Rangiora driver Brad Harris was 10 seconds behind Graves and in turn had another 10 seconds in hand over Invercargill driver Shaun McMillan who was 9th in his second outing in a Subaru Impreza. Rangiora's Garry Cliff rounded out the top ten. The first 2 wheel drive car home was the Ford Escort of Christchurch driver Robert McCallum in 11th, one place ahead of Jeff Judd's similar car.

The closeness of the rally was evident from the fact that 2nd, 3rd and 4th places were covered by 28 seconds, while the difference in time from 6th through to 11th place was just 43 seconds. In fact 11th placed McCallum missed the top ten by 1 second.

In addition to Ayson, Graves and McMillan there were several other fine drives from local competitors. Gore drivers Paul Cross and Craig Abernethy were 14th and 18th respectively in their Mitsubishi Lancers while Brendon Mitchell of Winton was also inside the top twenty in a Mazda 323. Dunedin driver Blair Sutherland finished 16th overall in a Toyota Levin and won his class.

Prominent retirements during the event were third seed Mark McMillan of Invercargill who retired early in the afternoon with transmission problems. Paul Nicoll of Nelson, the fourth seed and current Rally Xtreme Champion, also succumbed after Stage 4 when he lost synchro on both 3rd and 4th gear.

There were several interesting entries in the huge field of 96 cars. Eight competitors from the original Gore Rally 31 years ago competed again today. The best of them was Brent Rawstron who finished 24th in his Porsche 911 RS. The winner of the initial Gore Rally, Rob Gerard of Christchurch, was 45th in a Toyota Corolla. Three Australian entrants were in the field, the most successful being Jim Wallace of Queensland who finished 48th in his Toyota Celica GT4. Former National Championship winning co - driver Garry Cowan, who is originally from Southland, entered the event in the drivers seat of a locally owned Toyota Starlet, bringing it home in 58th position.

The event was run in perfect conditions and the roads attracted plenty of praise from drivers at the event prizegiving.

The Gore Rally was the first special stage rally ever held south of Christchurch in 1975. The last Gore Rally was run in 1996 but the Eastern Southland Car Club resurrected the event this year as part of their 50th Anniversary Celebrations. The rally was Round 2 of the Magnum Prestige Mainland Rally Series and the final round of the Laird Motorsport Southern Rally Series.


1st - Derek Ayson/Nicole France,Clinton - Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 4, 1 hour 19 minutes 45 seconds
2nd - John Giltrap/Paul Millar, Lincoln - Subaru WRX STi, 1.20.31
3rd - Regan Ross/Nigel Ross, Kaikoura - Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8, 1.20.52
4th - Deane Buist/Dermot Martin, Christchurch - Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 6, 1.20.59
5th - Greg Teece/Andree Beattie, Nelson - Mitsubishi EVO 6.5 RS,1.21.08
6th - David Gee/Jonel Clemett, Marlborough - Subaru Impreza, 1.22.03
7th - Andrew Graves/Jared Leebody, Gore - Mitsubishi EVO 3, 1.22.22
8th - Brad Harris/David Calder, Rangiora - Mitsubishi EVO RS, 1.22.32
9th - Shaun McMillan/Jeremy Hughes, Invercargill - Subaru WRX, 1.22.42
10th - Garry Cliff/Wayne Barnard, Rangiora - Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 5, 1.22.46

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