Stokes Deserved Winner Of The Week Long Rally
14th October - immediate release
Drama In The Last Stages But Stokes Deserved Winner Of The Week Long Silver Fern Marathon Rally
Canterbury's Brian Stokes and Grant Marra have come out on top after seven days of intense rallying which has seen all the seasons the weather could throw at competitors, along with many and varied road conditions, as well as a minor problem with their car.
But while Stokes was on his winning way drama's were unfolding behind him in the very last stages of the event with second placed Stig Blomqvist breaking a throttle cable and having to drive the last stage using the key to turn the engine off and on.
And behind him Joe McAndrew, who passed Blomqvist stopped on the roadside fixing his car, almost didn't finish himself when the gearbox failed in the very last stage. Blomqvist managed to keep ahead of McAndrew but by only 1 minute and 40 seconds at the end.
Many thought Stokes high powered Ford RS Cosworth would not last the distance, and all credit goes to driver, co-driver and team. He has been fast and consistent right throughout the event, winning most of the special stages.
Stokes has been a great ambassador for the event, from when he first entered, even giving his time helping organisers by visiting some of the residents on the roads used for the event, and the smile at the finish ramp today.
Stokes told the crowd gathered for the finish ramp in Blenheim's Seymour Square "This event has been something else for us, it's been the week of my life, competing for this long in this car has been brilliant. The small band of organisers deserve a huge vote of thanks, and I sincerely hope this event is staged again - I'll be there. But first I need to go home and milk the cows to pay the bills - a lot of milking I think."
59 competitors and cars are expected to be classified finishers from the 69 who started the event, which organising chairman Gary Smith said "has astounded us, these guys have got behind the idea of the event, and made it work, some of these chaps have worked all night to get cars ready to re-start each day again."
The overwhelming response to the question Do you want to do this again has been yes, tell us when?
Of the 59 finishers, 25 have completed all the stages with out any major problems. The field included many classic and 2 wheel drive vehicles like Ford Escorts, Mazda RX3's, Vauxhall Chevettes, Honda and Toyota's even an MGB GT, and a Holden Monaro.
PROVISIONAL OVERALL TOP 10 PLACINGS AT END OF RALLY
Place/CarNo/Driver/Co-driver Town Car
Overall Time/diff .
1st 4 Brian Stokes/ Grant Marra Waikuku Escort RS Cosworth 11:15:31
2 1 Stig Blomqvist/ Ana Goni Sweden / Venezuela Ford Escort RS1800 11:28:43
3 2 Joe McAndrew/ Murray Cole Wellington Honda Integra Type R 11:31:18
4 58 Robert Murray/ Stu Jenkinson Palmerston North Mazda RX7 11:49:22
5 45 Brent Rawstron/Ian McKee Christchurch Porsche 911 11:56:07
6 20 Dave Strong/Brent Thompson Auckland Honda Civic Type R 11:58:39
7 8 Grant Shand/Jeff Judd UK/NZ Ford Escort RS1800 12:00:43
8 28 Garry Adcock/ Mark Dalton Nelson Triumph TR8 12:12:36
9 53 Bruce & Cathryn Henty Whangerai Ford Escort RS2000 12:16:11
10 36 John Kershaw/Jane Buckman Auckland Vauxhall Chevette HSR 12:18:16
Final placing's and all information is available from www.silverfernrally.co.nz
Event organisers would like to acknowledge the assistance of sponsors, Scenic Circle Hotels, Budget Rentals, Team Talk Mobile, Variety - the Children's Charity, Kea Campers New Zealand, and BP Ultimate.