Wed, 5 Aug 2020 - Paddon appearance a treat for rally spectators  

Spectators at this year’s Catlins Coast Rally on Saturday will get a rare treat as Hayden Paddon makes an appearance at the event at the wheel of his Hyundai i20 AP4.  

Paddon is the only kiwi driver to ever win a World Rally Championship event having won 2016 Rally Argentina. He was the 2011 Production World Rally Champion and has won the New Zealand Rally Championship four times, in 2008, 2009, 2013 and in 2018. He currently resides in Cromwell where he operates Paddon Rallysport.  

Paddon will be running as a lead car in the event, not actually competing as he treats the day as a test day. He will run with notes which none of the competitors in the event will have as Catlins is a blind rally.  

“There have been no rallies for quite a while,” explains Paddon, “so it is a test session and time in the seat. I was last at Catlins fifteen years ago and it will be nice to do it,” he says. “The Eastern Southland Car Club have been helpful in allowing me to do it. I haven’t done a blind rally for about fifteen years either so there was not much point testing without notes.”  

Paddon will be running pretty hard over the stages though. “We want to test a few things and try a few things and to get the best out of these cars you have to push them. We need to get the best information we can from the test so we have to replicate rally conditions.”  

Paddon did Catlins in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and has great memories of the 2005 event in particular. “We had a good rally and a good battle with Derek Ayson who was the man to beat. We beat him on the first Special Stage which we enjoyed as his ex-girlfriend used to live on the stage so he knew it well. He had the last laugh though. We blew the clutch on Stage 5.”  

While there has not been any rallying of late Paddon is exceptionally busy. I have a lot of projects on the go he says. “We have the EV rally car that we are working on, we have several motorsport events coming up and we are working on a few more customer vehicles. There is a nice variety of hillclimbs, rallies and races coming up and we are cherry picking what we will be doing. We are making up lost ground.”  

What does Paddon remember about Catlins? “My memory is a bit vague on it now, but I remember the roads were nice and flowing. There were some fast stages and I enjoy them. I am sure my test will serve as a good reminder.”   The rally will commence at 10.00am on Saturday 8 August from Campbell Street, adjacent to Owaka Motors in Owaka and will feature approximately 153 km of high-speed Special Stages before concluding back in Owaka just after 3.30pm that afternoon. Servicing will be held throughout the event in Owaka.  

The Eastern Southland Car Club is delighted to have the support of the Clutha Licensing Trust through their Rosebank Lodge Balclutha establishment, plus  Southroads, Owaka Motors, Yuasa Batteries and Stadium Finance. The club is also especially grateful to Rayonier Matariki Forests, the Clutha District Council and the McNab Family for their assistance with the event.  

Lindsay Beer   On behalf of the Eastern Southland Car Club   021 351 499  

Wed, 5 Aug 2020 - Marston come south for Mainland Rally Series tilt 

The cancellation of the New Zealand Rally Championship for 2020 due to Covid-19 looks to have had an upside for the 20th Catlins Coast Rally this Saturday (8 August).  

Josh Marston, a leading competitor at National level with finishes of third and second in the 2018 and 2019 New Zealand Rally Championship respectively, will bring his MRF Tyres/Rubber Developments Ltd Holden Barina AP4 south for the event as he changes his focus to this year’s Mainland Rally Series of which Catlins is Round 2.  

Marston took both his and Holden’s first NZ Rally Championship win in Rally Canterbury in 2018, 19 years after his father Leigh won the same event. ”Winning Canterbury was a real highlight,” he says. Other career highlights include topping the Motorsport NZ Elite Motorsport Academy in 2009 pipping the likes of Simon and Mitch Evans and winning the NZRC 2-wheel-drive class in 2013. Another is co-driving with his father in the Silver Fern Rally and winning their class on two occasions – a different class each time.  

“2020 has been frustrating,” says Marston, “but you do have to remember that in the bigger picture, sport is not critical. We had made our biggest gain in development of the car in the off season and had good pace at Westland (before lockdown). Things were going really well, we had good development and my driving of the car was improving. It is a very different car to drive.”  

“What happened after that is unfortunate but we are very fortunate we are able to get out and compete again. The Mainland Series is our target this year, it is just a bummer it has been shortened.”  

Since that impressive start to the year back in March, Marston has “not done a single thing since. “I haven’t competed in over four months,” he says.  

Marston’s last start at Catlins was about fifteen years ago in a Toyota Starlet. “I haven’t been there since then so I will go down to have a fun weekend and score some points. I will set a pace and stick to it.”  

One of the best of the locals, Andrew Graves of Gore, has co-driven with Marston at National Championship level and rates his driving highly. However, Marston says with Catlins being a blind rally he doesn’t remember the roads from all those years ago. I do know a lot of corners are named after drivers that went off after blind crests,” he says. While Graves is keen to go head to head with Marston, Josh says “Andrew Google is better than Google Maps” and we will let Andrew, who is a talented driver, set the pace out front and just enjoy our event.”  

The rally will commence at 10.00am on Saturday 8 August from Campbell Street, adjacent to Owaka Motors in Owaka and will feature approximately 153 km of high-speed Special Stages before concluding back in Owaka just after 3.30pm that afternoon. Servicing will be held throughout the event in Owaka.  

The Eastern Southland Car Club is delighted to have the support of the Clutha Licensing Trust through their Rosebank Lodge Balclutha establishment, plus  Southroads, Owaka Motors, Yuasa Batteries and Stadium Finance. The club is also especially grateful to Rayonier Matariki Forests, the Clutha District Council and the McNab Family for their assistance with the event.  

Lindsay Beer   On behalf of the Catlins Coast Rally   021 351 499  

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 - Summerfield keen to give Catlins a nudge

This year’s Catlins Coast Rally which takes place on Saturday 8 August will see one of the best fields in the history of the event as many of New Zealand’s top drivers line up for the 20th Anniversary of the rally.  

One such driver is Matt Summerfield of Christchurch who will drive his Mitsubishi Mirage AP4 in the event. Summerfield has been at the pointy end of the New Zealand Rally Championship for many years with a best result of second overall in 2017 and has seldom been out of the top four since 2014.  

Summerfield has done the Catlins event several times before and was in contention last year, battling with Andrew Graves until he went off the road in his Subaru in Stage 4 of the event.  

“I would love another battle with “Duggie” (Graves), but he is fast down there. It would be good to get one over him at home, we will have a nudge at it in the Mirage.”  

Like many in this year’s event Summerfield says, “it’s a bit odd. We have never had such a big break during the season. It is pretty exciting, Catlins will be my first big rally of the year. The West Coast in March was a shakedown.”   Summerfield has entered three sprints since the sport got up and running again. “I did Circle Hill in Otago, it was good to get some miles and get used to the car again, it is relatively new and it takes quite a while to get used to it.”   Summerfield says he loves the Catlins Coast Rally. “It is a nice rally to do. Cannibal Bay is a favourite – it is good fun.”

With the New Zealand Rally Championship cancelled for 2020, Summerfield says he is keen to do well in the Mainland Rally Series. “It would be nice to get something for the mantlepiece,” he says.  

The rally will commence at 10.00am on Saturday 8 August adjacent to Owaka Motors and will feature approximately 153 km of high-speed Special Stages at Puaho, Catlins Valley, McNab’s Farm, Tawanui, Cannibal Bay and Romahapa.   The event will conclude at Owaka at 3.40pm that afternoon.  

The Eastern Southland Car Club is delighted to have the support of the Clutha Licensing Trust through their Rosebank Lodge Balclutha establishment, plus  Southroads, Owaka Motors, Yuasa Batteries and Stadium Finance. The club is also especially grateful to Rayonier Matariki Forests, the Clutha District Council and the McNab Family for their assistance with the event.  

Lindsay Beer   Publicity Officer   Catlins Coast Rally   021 351 499   

Sat, 1 Aug 2020 - Fifty years of rallying for Rabbidge

Carl Rabbidge of Timaru has done it all in New Zealand motorsport. Racing, rallying, officiating – you name it. His first rally was the 1970 Silver Fern Rally and now in 2020 he will celebrate fifty years of rallying as the Catlins Coast Rally celebrates its own twenty-year milestone on Saturday 8 August.  

Rabbidge can’t recall the exact date of the 1970 Silver Fern but he says if Catlins isn’t 50 years to the day it is very, very close.   In the ensuing fifty years since his first rally Rabbidge has driven, co-driven, service crewed and been an official. “It’s been a bit if fun,” he says with a hint of understatement.  

He says there are various things you remember from over the years. “That first event is one of them”, but one he really singles out is the 1973 Heatway International Rally. “It was inspirational. No one who competed in it will ever forget it. It covered both the North and South Island and number one son, Andrew - his co-driver at Catlins, was born in the middle of it.”  

“It was a bit of a surprise, he was two weeks early,” explains Rabbidge. “With no cellphone communication in those days we were on the Interisland Ferry ready to leave Lyttelton. They held the sailing up for twenty minutes to find me and tell me. I fell off the road the next morning. I caught Reg Cook at the end of a stage and he went round the corner and I didn’t.” With Andrew arriving in the middle of one of the biggest international rallies ever seen in this country, it is little wonder that he got involved in the sport. “Dad was very keen on motorsport,’ says Carl. “He was a foundation member of the Marlborough Car Club when we lived up there when I was a kid. I followed on and enjoyed it. I was never going to be a world class cricketer or an All Black but I could do this. My wife Eileen has been involved too. She has been a big part of the South Canterbury Car Club with events. The kids followed on and now the grandsons are too.”  

Carl has seen many changes in fifty years. “Back then it was all about endurance, now it is a sprint. The technology in vehicles has obviously got better too. They are a bloody sight quicker nowadays but that is the growth of the sport as it should be.”  

There is no doubting that pleasure of winning. “We won the first NZ Group One  Championship, in 1976 with the Mazda RX3 and that was special, as was winning our class in the 1975 Rally NZ with our Twin Cam Escort and later winning the Mainland Series back to back in 1981-82 with the RS2000 and the Datsun. Competing in the Philippines was another adventure plus I had a total new experience when I spent many years co-driving for the Owen Brothers.”  

“It is the calibre of people you meet too. It is bloody special. I have not met anyone in the sport that I stayed pissed off with for long.”  

So, fifty years on Rabbidge lines up for Catlins. “I have done a few Catlins but my first time through there was the 1976 International Rally. I used many variations of some of the stages when I was organising the NZ Silver Fern Rally years later.      

I have quite an affinity for the area. My mother was born in Tahakopa and lived in Maclennan. I was born in Wyndham, my grandfather had a farm which is still in the family at Glenham. For some years Ian Begg, Barry Robinson and I were amongst the head of the field in South Island rallying and all were from Wyndham even if we did leave early. Barry and I share a common Great Aunt and Uncle and in Glenham, Rabbidge Road and Robinson Road run side by side off Stouts Rd.”  

What does he think of the Catlins Coast Rally? “It is excellent, brilliant. It should be on the programme for everyone. So should South Canterbury and Otago too for that matter. If you haven’t done the Catlins Coast Rally you haven’t done rallying in New Zealand.”  

The rally will commence at 10.00am on Saturday 8 August adjacent to Owaka Motors and will feature approximately 153 km of high-speed Special Stages at Puaho, Catlins Valley, McNab’s Farm, Tawanui, Cannibal Bay and Romahapa.  

The event will conclude at Owaka at 3,40pm that afternoon.  

The Eastern Southland Car Club is delighted to have the support of the Clutha Licensing Trust through their Rosebank Lodge Balclutha establishment, plus  Southroads, Owaka Motors, Yuasa Batteries and Stadium Finance. The club is also especially grateful to Rayonier Matariki Forests, the Clutha District Council and the McNab Family for their assistance with the event.  

Lindsay Beer  

Publicity Officer   Catlins Coast Rally   021 351 499   

Tue, 28 Jul 2020 - Reigning New Zealand champion to compete at Catlins

New Zealand Rally Champion, Ben Hunt of Auckland, will take to the roads of the Catlins when the twentieth anniversary Catlins Coast Rally takes place on Saturday 8 August.  

This is the second time Hunt has come to Catlins as the reigning New Zealand Champion. After he won his first national title in 2015, he competed at Catlins the following year in a Subaru Impreza H6 loaned to him by Jeff Judd, finishing seventh in a year plagued by icy, snowy, conditions.  

Hunt has fashioned an outstanding record at the pinnacle of New Zealand rallying since his last Catlins appearance. He had a horror run in the 2016 NZRC but since then he has finished third in 2017 and second in 2018 before winning the title again last year. Other successes in a stellar career include winning the inaugural Rally NZ Rising Stars Scholarship in 2009 plus the Junior National Rally Championship and the 2-wheel-drive National Rally Championship early in his career.  

The opportunity to defend his national crown this year was stymied by Covid-19 when the 2020 NZ Rally Championship was cancelled. “It is a definite shame,” says Hunt, “but you can’t change what’s happening in the world, safety is more important than skids! We put a lot of effort into the Subaru for this year but we haven’t taken it out. We will do some testing for next year at some stage though.”  

Without his national programme there was an opportunity to return to Catlins and Hunt will do so as the reigning New Zealand Rally Champion in another Jeff Judd Subaru Impreza H6, a 6 cylinder, normally aspirated, 4-wheel-drive car. “They are a cool little package,” says Hunt. “It takes me back a bit to nimble cars. They are not the most powerful but they are a lot of fun. Of course, I am originally from the South Island hailing from Nelson so it is cool to go back to the South Island. I can’t wait.”  

Hunt says his 2016 Catlins experience was “awesome.” “That year’s Catlins Rally was characterised by snow and ice but Hunt says it did not bother him. “Around the St Arnaud, Lake Rotoiti area we are used to snow and ice. It was a lot of fun. It was like night rallying – a different element. That’s why we go rallying. It is not a tarmac track. We experience everything. That is part of the attraction. The roads in the Catlins are amazing. In 2016 it was snowy and icy in the hills in the morning and in the afternoon near the coast it was beautiful. I have always wanted to go back. The cancellation of the New Zealand Championship gave me the opportunity.”

 ‘I’m coming down with a bunch of mates who love rallying plus Craig Hewlett (part of Hunt’s crew) is down there. We will have skids, have fun and have a beer afterwards. The Eastern Southland Car Club helped me get there in 2016 and it is a fantastic event, I am really looking forward to it.”  

The rally will commence at 10.00am on Saturday 8 August adjacent to Owaka Motors and will feature approximately 153 km of high-speed Special Stages at Puaho, Catlins Valley, McNab’s Farm, Tawanui, Cannibal Bay and Romahapa.  

The event will conclude at Owaka at 3.40pm that afternoon.  

The Eastern Southland Car Club is delighted to have the support of the Clutha Licensing Trust through their Rosebank Lodge Balclutha establishment, plus  Southroads, Owaka Motors, Yuasa Batteries and Stadium Finance. The club is also especially grateful to Rayonier Matariki Forests, the Clutha District Council and the McNab Family for their assistance with the event.  

Lindsay Beer   Publicity Officer   Catlins Coast Rally   021 351 499   

Fri, 24 Jul 2020 - Jack’s Ridge event gets thumbs up

A handful of local rally drivers got a sneak test of the new purpose-built Jack’s Ridge stage in South Auckland earlier this week.  

Pukekohe’s Dylan Turner (Audi AP4), Papakura’s Kingsley Jones (Skoda R5), Cambridge’s Anthony Jones (Millington powered Escort) and Brookby’s Jack Hawkeswood (Mazda AP4) – for whom the stage is named after – got to drive the new stage on former New Zealand Rally Champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s property near Brookby School.  

Hawkeswood constructed the 7km-long stage on his property with the thought of using it as a special stage in the World Rally Championship’s Rally New Zealand, which was set to return in September before Covid-19 forced its postponement.  

In conjunction with Rally New Zealand the stage will now be used in November’s City of Auckland Rally – a one day event using the roads in Whitford, Riverhead and in the Kaipara region north of Auckland and will then play home to a one-day rally sprint based entirely on the Hawkeswood property the following day.  

It will attract the best drivers in New Zealand with WRC star Hayden Paddon committing to taking part in his Hyundai.  

Under the eye of Rally New Zealand officials and some special dignitaries the drivers spent a couple hours shaking down the stage on Monday.  

After their runs the drivers were noticeably impressed.   “It is awesome – absolutely awesome,” Jones told Counties Sports Hub. “It has some really grouse corners and some big commitment jumps, which I’m not quite there yet.  

“It will take a bit of getting used to but we will try and get some secret testing up here, have a play and see if we can sort that out.”  

The location offers plenty of undulation; there are tight corners, fast sections and some spectacular jumps that will test the very best drivers out.  

Jones acknowledges the drivers that tackle those jumps the best will be the guys to beat.  

“It is commitment to jumps – you have to learn where to place the car,” he explained. “Depending on how ballsy you are – some people just don’t care and take everything flat – but when you are driving a car like this [an imported Skoda Fabia R5]; it is everything I own. It makes it a little harder to get out and do that.  

“I just need to get it right in my head and I am happy to take 20 goes rather than one to commit.”  

Spectators will love the location as well – it is as close to the Auckland population as is possible and offers spectacular views of the stage as well as the Auckland city and harbour landscape in the background.  

The City of Auckland Rally will take place on Saturday November 14 with the Battle of Jack’s Ridge set for Sunday November 15.  

Sat, 18 Jul 2020 - Roestenburg returns

When this year’s Catlins Coast Rally entry form was posted online late one night, within the hour the first entry arrived – that of Marty Roestenburg and Pat Norris of Auckland in their 1300cc Toyota Starlet. Roestenburg laughed when he found out, “we won’t be fastest on the road in the Starlet so we had to be the fastest somewhere,” although he added “it is in such a wonderful part of the country and I have really missed rallying so what better excuse do you need?”

The Starlet, owned by co-driver Norris, is the same car that Roestenburg and Norris took to a New Zealand Rally title in 1988 and sixth overall in the Rally New Zealand that year. “We got a FIA B seeding after that, the only 1300cc car to ever achieve it,” says Roestenburg.   After that the Starlet passed through several pairs of hands. “At one stage the chassis was stolen and stripped, but it has come back to Pat and been re-shelled and put back to its original Group A configuration. It is no hot rod but it is not over stressed and it is reliable.”   “After driving more powerful cars such as EVO’s people ask what is it like going back to the Starlet but I don’t see it as going back, it is more about going full circle,” says Marty. “The car has neat handling although the straights are longer and the hills steeper than in an EVO,” he jokes, “but it is fun.”

“Pat and I started competing together again about 18 months ago. I couldn’t say no to a mate. In the 80’s he was a mentor to me and helped me with goal setting and planning.” Marty says, “I had forgotten how much fun it was to skid around corners and it has been great to catch up with rally whanau and recount the stories of years ago.”

“The aim is to finish the event and not bang us or the car up. We are not coming to win trophies or break records. It is all about having fun.”.  

Over the years Roestenburg has enjoyed plenty of success – multiple New Zealand Hillclimb Championships, National Autocross titles, a National ClubSport title plus he has rallied in Australia and New Caledonia and also competed in an Andrew Hawkeswood carbon fibre EVO at the iconic Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado. “As the New Zealand Hillclimb Champion it was mecca. It was the Burt Munro film that inspired me. If he could do what he did at 65, I needed to put away my book of excuses.”  

He also competed at the Race To The Sky and Ashley Forest Rallysprint on several occasions – “we had a third and a couple of fourths at Race To The Sky and I had one win in the EVO and one in the H6 twin turbo WRX at Ashley Forest.”   “I’ve tried all forms of motorsport but I loved rallying. It is the most demanding, the most challenging. There are no run-off areas.”  

“After Pikes Peak we started our family. I tried shooting, diving, deep water fishing, but as good as they were, I could not fill the void.”   The rally will commence at 10.00am on Saturday 8 August adjacent to Owaka Motors and will feature approximately 153 km of high-speed Special Stages at Puaho, Catlins Valley, McNab’s Farm, Tawanui, Cannibal Bay and Romahapa with the first car due at the finish in Owaka at 3.40pm.  

The Eastern Southland Car Club is delighted to have the support of the Clutha Licensing Trust through their Rosebank Lodge Balclutha establishment, plus  Southroads, Owaka Motors, Yuasa Batteries and Stadium Finance. The club is also especially grateful to Rayonier Matariki Forests, the Clutha District Council and the McNab Family for their assistance with the event.  

Lindsay Beer  

Publicity Officer  

Catlins Coast Rally   021 351 499   

Thu, 9 Jul 2020 - International Rally of Whangarei cancelled for 2020

Facing continual border uncertainty at being able to run an international event for 2020, organisers Rally New Zealand have opted to cancel this year’s International Rally of Whangarei.

Originally scheduled to run 8 – 10 May as a combined FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) event, it was postponed just prior to New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown.

With much of the planning in place organisers were hopeful a new date could be set once border measures allowed for international travellers.

Chairman of the organising committee Mr Willard Martin said the decision was inevitable given the growing uncertainty around offshore travel.

“As optimistic as we all have been, including the supporting Whangarei District Council, it was clear any decision we made to run would be met with unknown challenges – particularly around the international border control,” he commented.

“Being an international event, a big reason the Whangarei District Council is so supportive is the coverage they get on the world stage and economic benefit from having offshore guests in the region.

“We hoped the Trans-Tasman bubble may have opened some opportunity to bring new people to the region however that is clearly a long way off from happening.”

A provisional date of 14 to 16 May 2021 has been set as a return to action on the roads around the Whangarei region.

Focus now shifts to the Rally New Zealand organised double-header event planned for November.

The City of Auckland Rally will be held on Saturday 14 November and include stages in the Kaipara Hills, Puhoi and Riverhead Forest before its conclusion at the purpose-built road ‘Jack’s Ridge’ in Whitford.

On Sunday 15 November Jack’s Ridge will be used as a standalone rally sprint.

2020 Points
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandJosh Marston30
2New ZealandJob Quantock26
3New ZealandMarcus Van Klink23
4New ZealandSean Haggarty20
5New ZealandGaret Thomas18
6New ZealandJohn Giltrap17
7New ZealandRobbie Stokes16
8New ZealandAndy Martin15
9New ZealandTony Gosling14
10New ZealandDave Ollis13
11New ZealandMark Parsons12
12New ZealandDavid Birkett11
13New ZealandBrian Green10
14New ZealandStephen Gill9
15New ZealandBrendon Wadsworth8
16New ZealandDean Schroder7
17New ZealandNick Marston6
18New ZealandCraig Cormack5
19New ZealandPaul Fraser4
20New ZealandHarri Judd3
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandIvan Knauf180
2New ZealandJeremy Friar172
3New ZealandMark McCaughan164
4New ZealandAndrew Oakley160
4New ZealandMike Tubbs160
6New ZealandLeigh Hopper156
7New ZealandTroy Twomey150
8New ZealandPatrick O'Donnell143
8New ZealandBob Boniface143
10New ZealandTerry May142
10New ZealandAnton Tallott142
12New ZealandDavid O'Neill131
13New ZealandDavid Rogers128
14New ZealandRobert Webster119
15New ZealandHaydn Mackenzie90
15New ZealandMartin Dippie90
15New ZealandAnthony Butler90
18New ZealandBruce Herbert82
19New ZealandBruce Farley80
19New ZealandTim McIver80