Silver Fern rally a local hit

We’ll be back with another race, say organisers.

We’ll be back with another race, say organisers.

WINNING STYLE: British classic motor rally driver Matthew Robinson and his co-driver Sam Collis took out the inaugural North Island New Zealand Silver Fern Motor Rally in Rotorua late on Saturday afternoon. They finished four minutes ahead of their nearest rivals. All pictures by Liam Clayton
Silver Fern Rally on Ruakaka rd at Donneraile Park - Roger Chilman and Co Driver Max Freeman in a Ford Escort
Brent Taylor and Dave Neill at the same corner in their Toyota GT86.
Silver Fern Rally on Ruakaka rd at Donneraile Park - Dave Strong and co driver Rob Scott in a Honda Civic Type R
Silver Fern Rally on Ruakaka rd at Donneraile Park - Andrew Siddall and co driver Gary McEllhinney in a Ford Escort
Geoff Bell and co-driver Ed Bentley in their Ford Escort, followed by Mike Goldsbury and Dan Wallis in a Toyota Corolla DX, tackle a corner on Ruakaka Road. All pictures by Liam Clayton
Silver Fern Rally on Ruakaka rd at Donneraile Park - Kevin Blackley and co driver Rodney Christensen in a Ford Escort
Silver Fern Rally on Ruakaka rd at Donneraile Park - Campbell Wright and co driver Donna Elder in a Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle
Silver Fern Rally on Ruakaka rd at Donneraile Park - Dennis Green and co driver Jill Greenland in a BMW E30

The New Zealand Silver Fern Motor Rally stages over Gisborne roads were a big hit with the race crews and supporters, and organisers the Ultimate Rally Group said they will be talking to the District Council about coming back.

The classic car rally came through here on Friday and Saturday and ended in Rotorua late on Saturday afternoon.

The “Historic” trophy was won by British rally driver Matthew Robinson and co-driver Sam Collis.

They crossed the finish line of the eight-day, 3571-kilometre marathon from Hamilton to Rotorua just over four minutes ahead of fellow Ford Escort Mk2 pair Roger Chilman and Max Freeman. All three top finishers in the “historic” section were British.

“The Gisborne stages were great,” said Gordon Legge, marketing co-ordinator for the Ultimate Rally Group.

“We had a little issue at Harry Barker Reserve when we arrived on Friday afternoon. There was cricket practice on.

“But everyone co-operated with everyone else and we made it work.”

Legge said the race crews really looked forward to the drive through the Motu district.

“That was always going to be the icing on the cake, and that’s absolutely how it turned out,” Legge said.

“It was fantastic — one of the highlights of the event.

“Another highlight was the community support around the Matawai lunch and vehicle service event put on by the local school. It was just outstanding.”

Legge said it was extra special for safety car driver Greg Paul, who now lives in Auckland.

“Greg was a pupil at Matawai Primary School.”

The rally went over six special stages in this area — over the Parikanapa, Ruakaka, Pehiri, Wharekopae, Whakarau and Motu roads.

Legge said Gisborne was “absolutely” on the rally programme for the future.

“In the next six months we will be coming to talk to Gisborne District Council about doing this again over the next two years.

“It won’t involve the Silver Fern Rally, but we will definitely be looking to bring other rallies through Gisborne.”

The Silver Fern Rally is normally held in the South Island. This was the first time it had been held in the North Island.

The winners started the last Silver Fern Rally, held in 2016, in a freshly built Fiat 131R replica.

“But the car lacked the reliability of the Escorts in the event,” Historic trophy winner Matthew Robinson said.

“So this time around we decided that if we couldn’t beat the Ford hordes we would join them.

“It’s such a long way to come for an event and for something to go wrong.

“So after the last one I decided that if I was to come back and do another it would be in a car that would get me to the end.”

Nine of the first 10 cars home in Rotorua on Saturday were Ford Escorts.

The first Kiwi crew home were Brent Rawstron and Ian McKee from Christchurch. They finished fourth in the first locally built and prepared Mk 2 Ford Escort.

Mike Goldsbury and Dan Wallis, of Hamilton, in a Toyota Corolla DX, won the “Challenge” section by just over a minute from Dave Strong and Rob Scott, of Auckland.

The New Zealand Silver Fern Motor Rally stages over Gisborne roads were a big hit with the race crews and supporters, and organisers the Ultimate Rally Group said they will be talking to the District Council about coming back.

The classic car rally came through here on Friday and Saturday and ended in Rotorua late on Saturday afternoon.

The “Historic” trophy was won by British rally driver Matthew Robinson and co-driver Sam Collis.

They crossed the finish line of the eight-day, 3571-kilometre marathon from Hamilton to Rotorua just over four minutes ahead of fellow Ford Escort Mk2 pair Roger Chilman and Max Freeman. All three top finishers in the “historic” section were British.

“The Gisborne stages were great,” said Gordon Legge, marketing co-ordinator for the Ultimate Rally Group.

“We had a little issue at Harry Barker Reserve when we arrived on Friday afternoon. There was cricket practice on.

“But everyone co-operated with everyone else and we made it work.”

Legge said the race crews really looked forward to the drive through the Motu district.

“That was always going to be the icing on the cake, and that’s absolutely how it turned out,” Legge said.

“It was fantastic — one of the highlights of the event.

“Another highlight was the community support around the Matawai lunch and vehicle service event put on by the local school. It was just outstanding.”

Legge said it was extra special for safety car driver Greg Paul, who now lives in Auckland.

“Greg was a pupil at Matawai Primary School.”

The rally went over six special stages in this area — over the Parikanapa, Ruakaka, Pehiri, Wharekopae, Whakarau and Motu roads.

Legge said Gisborne was “absolutely” on the rally programme for the future.

“In the next six months we will be coming to talk to Gisborne District Council about doing this again over the next two years.

“It won’t involve the Silver Fern Rally, but we will definitely be looking to bring other rallies through Gisborne.”

The Silver Fern Rally is normally held in the South Island. This was the first time it had been held in the North Island.

The winners started the last Silver Fern Rally, held in 2016, in a freshly built Fiat 131R replica.

“But the car lacked the reliability of the Escorts in the event,” Historic trophy winner Matthew Robinson said.

“So this time around we decided that if we couldn’t beat the Ford hordes we would join them.

“It’s such a long way to come for an event and for something to go wrong.

“So after the last one I decided that if I was to come back and do another it would be in a car that would get me to the end.”

Nine of the first 10 cars home in Rotorua on Saturday were Ford Escorts.

The first Kiwi crew home were Brent Rawstron and Ian McKee from Christchurch. They finished fourth in the first locally built and prepared Mk 2 Ford Escort.

Mike Goldsbury and Dan Wallis, of Hamilton, in a Toyota Corolla DX, won the “Challenge” section by just over a minute from Dave Strong and Rob Scott, of Auckland.

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