Rally Wairarapa Celebrates 40 Years
Rally Wairarapa Celebrates 40 Years
2014 sees Rally Wairarapa and Wairarapa Car Club celebrating 40 years of special stage motorsport in the Wairarapa and Tararua regions.
1974 saw 80 cars compete in the Ngaumu Clubmans Rally, which was won, by the then up and coming, Rod Millen. Since then there have been a variety of events, from club status with 20 cars, through to hosting rounds of the national rally championship with as many as 120 entries.
Although rally events weren’t held every year, this has been more than made up for where a dedicated team held two or even three rallies in a year. Those years usually consisted of a major national championship event, followed with a smaller club rally aimed at new competitors getting into the sport.
As a result Peter Cameron has compiled a list of 42 rallies in his brief history of events over the last 40 years, with this year’s event being the 43rd. And Peter has more than a passing interest in these events. He was the Clerk of Course for 14 of them.
“We thank Peter for his excellent contribution to recording this history”, says Rally Wairarapa Chairman John Clunie. “It is something to be proud of and our shared history is something we embrace. That is part of the reason we established the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally as part of our event”.
This is also echoed by Wairarapa Car Club President John Esler. “Our club has a history we are very proud of. And it isn’t just in rallies, but also at club level. We continue hold a number of sprints and hillclimbs each year, which is where you learn the skills needed to step up to the bigger events”.
In that time there have been many well known competitors and national champions who have won. Rod Millen, as mentioned above went onto to many great things, but the likes of Colin Taylor, Paul Adams, Bruce Herbert, Tony Teesdale, Neil Allport, Joe McAndrew, and Hayden Paddon all feature. One of note is Brian Green, who won in 1979, and he still continues to compete today, not to mention being the title sponsor of the current New Zealand Rally Championship.
However the locals haven’t missed out either. Tom Mason won the mini rally in 1981 and went on to win another 3 events during the early 80s. Fast forward to 2004 and son Richard starts what is to be a record breaking run. 7 wins in total so far, with 4 in a row from 2004 to 2007.
This year again sees Mason junior as the hot favourite to take line honours. With a cracking start to his 2014 national championship campaign, he has won both the Whangarei and Otago rallies, including by an outstanding 4 minutes 11 second margin at Otago.
However he won’t be able to back off on his home roads. A number of flash new motors are set to take the stage. Andrew Hawkeswood won here in 2008 and he returns, this time in his recently completed 4wd Mazda 2. Meanwhile there will be the fighting Peugeots of Alex Kelsey and Patrick Malley. The Kelsey special a home built bullet, while the Malley machine is a direct import, based on a WRC2 design.
Whatever happens, the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa is certain to continue its tradition of thrilling the fans and the competitors. Rally maps, regulations and event information for the 2014 edition of this fine event are now available on the web site. www.rallywairarapa.co.nz.
• Round 4 of 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship - powered by Vinz
• Round 2 of Geartech Central Region Rally Series
• Round 2 of the Classic Challenge Trophy
• 9 Special Stages
• 163km of competitive Special Stages