While many assume the epay Silver Fern Rally is entirely for historic vehicles that is but one part of this fascinating event.
Naturally the historic component is an important part of the rally and the Historic Trophy is specifically for two-wheel-drive cars that comply with various historic criteria as listed in the event regulations. However the New Zealand Silver Fern Challenge caters for two-wheel-drive cars that comply with the Motorsport New Zealand Schedule A safety requirements with several classes falling within those guidelines.
In recent times a great variety of vehicles have tackled the Challenge and the very nature of that part of the event lends itself to many different two-wheel-drive cars. A look at the entry list of any rally on both sides of the Tasman shows that there are many New Zealand and Australian cars that have been modified to meet their classic series which are eligible. So too later model two-wheel-drive cars. Past entries include the Ford Fiesta R2 of Leigh and Josh Marston, the Honda Civic R of Dave Strong and Rob Scott and Craig Marshall’s Peugeot 206 Gti as well as numerous Toyota Corolla’s, Nissan Pulsar’s and the like. Already this year entries include a Suzuki Swift and one of the new Toyota FT86’s and organisers would dearly love to see a large, diverse and exciting line up in the Challenge to complement the historic part of the event as competitors embark on this marathon adventure.
2012 Challenge winner, Ed Mulligan of Australia, is a strong advocate of the event: “It is absolutely the best value for money. I wish it was held every year, no better still, every six months. They are the best roads in the world and the hospitality and mateship is amazing!”
Mulligan has done a lot in his rallying career, but his experience in the Challenge has certainly made a big impression.
Gary Smith, the Chairman of Directors of Silver Fern Rally Management Ltd, says: “It is commonly felt that our marathon event is an event for historic rally cars. I have to say that is a misconception. We welcome all two-wheel-drive rally cars that meet Schedule A and this includes modern two-wheel-drive cars. It would be fantastic to see some of the modern cars competing against each other, even better with manufacturer support like the good old days.”
The time to enter is now as entries at the earlybird discounted rates end on 28 February.
Photos by Geoff Ridder.