Check out more photos in the gallery.
What an awesome day in the mud! Fun was had by all. What a fantastic road. Check out the results below. Well done to our winners Matt Jansen 1st Overall, Taylor Jansen 1st Class A 0-1300cc, Josh Marston 1st Class B 1301-1600cc, Ross Teesdale 1st Class C 2WD 1601+ and Richard Baddock Class D 4WD.
Rain can’t dampen the enthusiasm at Ram Paddock Rd
The consistent heavy rain that was beginning to flood Christchurch did not stop 30 keen competitors from tackling the Autosport Clubs Ram Paddock Rd Sprint in the foothills of North Canterbury, The field again included Canterbury’s top contenders in the National Rally Championship with Matt Jansen, Matt Summerfield and Josh Marston all taking part, as did Richard Baddock who has made his debut in the NZ Champs this year.
The field also included some returning drivers who have been away having families for the past 15 years or more, with David Fahey debuting his newly built Mk1 Escort and Nigel Tyson excited to have his Corolla finally ready for a skid.
The rain was not letting up as the first cars tackled the 7km sprint road that includes a bunch of high speed brows and corners at the start and is followed by some twisty hill country with great views and some big drops, then opens up again towards the finish. Already out was Michael Tall who had the rear diff seize on his Evo 4 in the ‘Indian file’ observation run.
Matt Jansen’s first run in his late model Impreza didn’t register and when he did his re-run he set a blistering time of 3minutes 55. Matt Summerfield was next fastest first up, some 17 seconds back followed by Blair Logan another 6 seconds back in his Evo 4. Marston became another victim of ‘Pine Tree Corner’ in run one, putting the R2 Fiesta through a fence and over a bank, but was lucky to miss all the pine trees, with the total of damage being one wing mirror and a few minor scratches from the fence. He would be towed back on to the road and back in action for run two.
Early leaders in the classes included Gary Cowan leading the 1600 cc class in his AE86, Jansen’s younger brother Taylor delivering amazing pace from his Datsun 1200 in the 1300 cc class and Ross Teesdale who survived an off that ended in a spin to lead the open 2WD class in his double boosted AE86.
The road was getting slipperier as the competitors took on the second run. Matt Jansen went two seconds slower, Logan went quicker to get with in 4 seconds of Jansen, while Summerfield’s Impreza sounded a little off song and he dropped to third. Meanwhile Marston had the Fiesta up to pace and took over the lead in the 1600 cc class from Cowan, while David Fahey got his Mk1 Escort up to third in his first drive in 20 years. Taylor Jansen was 12th outright in his 1300 Datsun, while Barry Deuart chased hard in his 120Y. Ross Teesdale continued to lead the Open 2WD class despite knocking the wheel alignment out of wack in run one, but had James Hewlett just 2 seconds behind in his BDA.
With the gravel gone from the racing line and rain continuing to fall there were doubts that anyone would go quicker in the final run. Logan did, knocking another second off and getting down to 4.01, to be fastest in run 3. Matt Jansen achieved 4.06 but already had his 3.55 on the board and Summerfield’s engine survived another run to record 4.12. That gave Jansen another event win ahead of Logan, with Summerfield third.
Taylor Jansen did an incredible job to easily win the 1300cc class ahead of Barry Deuart who had thrown his 120Y at the course with great aggression in an attempt to keep up with the Jansen, but took second. Third of the under 1300’s was Autosport Club President Graham Wilson. Josh Marston’s pace in the 1600 cc R2 Fiesta was also very impressive, obviously not put off by his lucky escape earlier in the day, Marston brought it home well inside the top 10 to win the class ahead of Gary Cowan. Fahey held third ahead of Josh Mitchell’s Starlet, while Nigel Tyson took fifth just ahead of the seal track car Starlet of Keith Anderson who was making his debut on gravel.
In the over 1600cc 2WD class James Hewlett pulled out the stops dropping 4 seconds in his last run to try to take the class, but Ross Teesdale also went quicker in run 3 to take the class win by just over one second. Another good effort by Stephen Leopold in his Lexus V8 Auto Mk2 Escort saw him take third in class, while Richard Towse took his Sunny to fourth ahead on Debra Kibble who made her first visit to the venue. While not featuring at the top of the results, young Robert Doig threw his down on power Corolla at wild angles much to the delight of the few brave spectators and took sixth in class.
With the top 3 overall not eligible for class places, Richard Baddock won the 4WD class in his Impreza, followed by Phil Sloan in another Impreza and Jason McConnell in his GTIR Pulsar.
Other points to note include the effort of Debra Kibble who had made the trip up especially to take Amy Hudson for a ride in her Classic Lancer Turbo. Amy Hudson, the daughter of Rally Stalwarts Rocky and Lisa, had counted down the years, months and days until her 12th birthday when she could finally go for a ride, and ‘aunty’ Debra did not disappoint her. Also long time NZ Championship navigator Bede O’Connor came all the way from Westport to have a drive in Bruce Asher’s Impreza and took a sensible approach in one of his first ever turns behind the wheel. Trevor Crowe debuted his new Impreza Ute at the event, but parked it up early with handling issues.
All the competitors were very thankful for the efforts of the officials and marshals who again braved the rain to allow them to have a skid. Also big thanks go to Chris Herdman who organised the event, and Graham Wilson who works tirelessly to make things happen, and Tony Witheridge who is always vital to making our events run.
Words by Ross Teesdale – Club Captain
Blast from the Past: H Holt & S Blanchard in their Cortina GT on Ram Paddock Rd during the 1973 Shell Triple Hundred Rally. Check out more great early NZ rally photos at www.theroaringseason.com