Hamilton Rally driver Gary Smith and his co-driver, and fellow Caltex Service Station dealer, Christchurch’s Grant Ford are currently in the throngs of preparing their Historic Ford Escort RS1800 MKII for the iconic world rally event, the Classic Sydney to London Marathon Rally.
Smith is no stranger to similar events, having competed in the reverse version in 1993 with expat Graham Lorimer, then also in a Ford Escort, where the pairing led the event for most of its distance until succumbing to delays in the Australian outback and finishing 5th outright. Continue reading Kiwi drivers prepare for world rally event
Emma Gilmour has confirmed that she will be back behind the wheel of her Suzuki Swift Maxi rally car for the 2014 New Zealand National Rally Championship, with the experienced Australian, Ben Atkinson, as her co-driver for the six-round series.
After treating 2013 as a development year for her highly modified Swift, Gilmour states that her aim for the season ahead is to press for victory. Continue reading New Zealand’s Emma Gilmour readies for 2014
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.
With events based in Whangarei, Wairarapa, Otago, Auckland and Gisborne, the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) features an updated points’ structure in 2012 which offers all competitors, regardless of class, the opportunity to earn points towards the championship title.
During the previous few seasons, the title of New Zealand rally champion could only be won by competitors in the top tier category for Group N four-wheel-drive and Super 2000 cars. Continue reading Refreshed structure for 2012 New Zealand Rally Championship