The club rally in the Hanmer Forest was a celebration of the club’s 30th anniversary. Congratulations to Dermot Martin on his maiden rally win. Deane Buist put up a valiant effort in his Escort in the slippery conditions to come home 2nd and Barry Varcoe had a good start to his stint with an Evo by claiming 3rd. It was an interesting event with overnight rain and snow making conditions picturesque (especially the ‘winter wonderland’ up on the top road) but treacherous. The roads were pretty well destroyed by the third pass over them.
Gary Adcock had a good run in the impressive TR7 V8, in fourth ahead of Glenn Buist in the BDA. Chris Hughes was going well but had a bit of a slower run through stage 3 and nearly fell into the clutches of Blair Logan in the FX-GT who was top 1600cc runner, ahead of Andrew Sim in a similar car. Leigh and Nick Marston in the WRX STi started the event well on the pace but dropped off a bit throughout the day, niggling problems with the car persisting. Matt King in the WRX and Ryan Berry in the ex-Kieran Hall Mazda 323 GTX had a battle going with King taking the last spot in the overall top 10 and King also took the Rookie award. Hayden Spatcher drove well into 12th spot, followed by Allan Gibson with Tracey Mann in the co-driver’s seat of the AE86. Top 1300cc runner was Bruce France with daughter Rachel calling the lefts and rights in 14th overall. Greg Tollis in the VR4 was followed very closely by Murray and Hannah Lancaster in the RWD 323. Paul Jansen had a steady run in the WRX, his co-pilot for the event Denise Chandler all the way from Arrowtown. John Weir in the well performing Accord was four seconds clear of Pete Abernethy who continues to drive well in the Starlet.
Dave Fletcher was second in the small cars with the wee Suzuki sounding pretty good on the stages. Graham Wilson had fuel filter problems but still managed to come home on the 1300cc podium. Shane Thornley was smiling as usual, having fun skidding in the mud in the Starlet, as were Andrew and Craig Allan in the RWD Lancer in their first rally. Paul and Daniel Cox were in the event to finish and that’s what they did, as did Hayden and Raymond Manson in the Leone 4WD. Rex Ford in the 180B was going great but had a bit of a slower run through stage 5 and dropped a couple of places. Cameron Moore put the AE86 in the trees in SS2 and came back with a vengeance setting some great times on the following tests. Darryl Campbell had a bit of a shocker in SS1 and played catchup for the rest of the event. Greg Teece did well to keep the Pulsar on the road for his first rally although gearbox problems meant he couldn’t take to the Autocross course. The Autocross was won by Andrew Sim with those tractor tyres that proved so successful at the Lobrun Autocross earlier in the year (and a fair amount of car control in the very slippery conditions didn’t go amiss either!). There was a fair turnout of spectators at the Autocross even in the rain and cold.
Commiserations are due to Kieran Hall from Nelson in the Evo 5 who retired from the lead with an electrical problem. Hayden Paddon got stuck off the road (with the car in a tad of a precarious position!), and Regan Ross retired with gearbox problems. Groove McCallum had clutch failure and in the most spectacular accident of the event Gary Hawkes and Nic Mulholland were lucky to walk away given the imprint the tree that stopped the car made on the roof of the Escort. Josh Marston had a steering arm ball joint fail in the newly re-shelled Starlet. Tony Foster, with Stephen Petersen in the co-pilot’s seat for a change, put the Corolla on it’s side early on and Matt Jansen had fuel problems and so didn’t take to SS4. Barry Gibb suffered gearbox issues and missed a few stages. Merv Hatcher had his newly built Starion out for an extended test and completed four stages before retiring. Jamie Powell had exhaust issues and chose to withdraw.
The prizegiving was again a well attended event with a packed house at the Hot Springs Hotel. The very nice meals and drinks were coming thick and fast, with everyone getting into the friendly fun atmosphere. It was a good night out.
Here’s the rally results:
A huge thanks goes to all the organisations and people who made the rally a great event. Carter Holt Harvey, NZ Private Fire, Agnew Brothers Upholstery, Tait Communications and of course the Hot Springs Hotel. To Andrea Summerfield, Les Summerfield, Leigh Marston, Susan Marston, Dave McCahon, and all the other organisers, marshals, stage crews and helpers, thank-you very much.