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Learned hands return for Silver Fern rally


The week long NZ Silver Fern Marathon International Car Rally will see two old Greymouth residents return to their roots, one in an organisational role and the other as a co-driver.

Untitled Document Carl Rabbidge (Rally Manager) and Graeme Robertson (co-driver for car 22, Chris Clarke's Nissan Sumo Estate) spent their early days on the west coast, and credit their rallying to experiences they had while there.

Rabbidge's first experience of rallying was in 1970 driving a Ford Anglia. He went on to become Mainland Champion in the early 1980's.

Graeme "Robbo" Robertson started his competing in car trials in 1972, and was winner of the Gold Star series in 1977.

Today both are highly respected motorsport administrators, who enjoy the time off to occasionally compete.

Back in the 1975 Heatway Rally, an event similar to this and which also lasted a week, and ran around the North Island, Rabbidge and Robertson teamed up in a Ford Escort Twin Cam to win their class.

Greymouth spectators should keep and eye out for the distinctive Clarke/Robertson Nissan "Sumo Estate" when the cars arrive to compete head to head on the Victoria Park Trotting Track at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Rabbidge will probably be heading off to bed at about that same time as his job on the event is to go out a couple of hours ahead of the set-up teams and make sure everything is in order with the roads, and that means some 4am starts.

The NZ Silver Fern Rally will start from the Picton waterfront, at midday on Saturday October 7th, with overnight stops in Greymouth on the Sunday, then Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch before returning via Nelson to the finish in Blenheim on October 14th.

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

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