One Month to go until Possum Returns
One Month to go until Possum Returns
In one month’s time the Franklin and North Waikato Districts set the scene for the return of a legend of the road and an icon of New Zealand sporting history.
The Possum Bourne Memorial Rally has taken place for nine years and the 2013 event will mark a decade since the inspirational icon’s tragic passing. Run by Pukekohe Car Club for the duration of the events history, this year the rally is incorporated as a unique stage in the New Zealand Rally Championship which this weekend visits Canterbury in the fourth stage of its 2013 campaign.
Possum Bourne Memorial Rally Clerk of Course Stuart Barnett says “there’s a special feeling around this year’s event, and with the support of Rally New Zealand both spectators and competitors can expect the aura of Possum to engulf the region for a weekend of celebration, remembrance, inspiration and some exceptional rallying.”
What’s very special about this year’s event is that it involves not only gravel rallying, but three special tarmac stages over the one-day rally also. Split into two competitions – dual surface and tarmac, the floodgates have been opened for an unconventional field of exceptional vehicles and drivers gunning at their chance to fight it out in the memory of Possum.
Entries in the invitation only field of tarmac drivers include Pukekohe’s own Carl Ruiterman, who will showcase his multi-purpose ex-Possum Bourne Motorsport 650 HP Subaru WRX as seen by many as one of the later model vehicles included in Rod Millen’s infamous Lead foot Festival.
Popular Targa Road Rally names Glenn Inkster and Clark Proctor also join the highly exciting tarmac field with later model and high power vehicles, the tarmac component of the rally will also feature the iconic classic vehicles seen rarely on the track from Steve Wilcox, David Rogers and female driver Carol Liston.
Expressions of interest for entries in both the tarmac only rally are still being taken via the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally website – www.pbmrally.co.nz
Starting in Possums home town, the Rally will start from King Street in Pukekohe on Saturday 7th of September at 7am. No stranger to the smell of petrol or idling engines, before leaving town the field of competitors will drive by the town’s recently unveiled Possum Bourne Memorial statue, where local fans and spectators can be assured of an energetic and up-close interaction with the field.
Speaking on behalf of the organising committee Stuart says “This rally is an opportunity for not only the rally community, but our local community in reliving the memory of Possum and all of the energy he brought with him. To drivers Possum was a friend and mentor, to our community Possum is an icon and the person who’s put not only New Zealand but our region on the map globally.”
Placing a large emphasis on the ability for fans to engage in celebrations this year, the rally will provide several exciting spectator points where both the tarmac and gravel stages of the rally can be safely experienced by many.
Rally New Zealand Chairman Peter Johnston says “September’s Possum Bourne Memorial Rally will be a fantastic opportunity for everyone young old, new and not so new to the sport to experience the excitement of what rallying involves, and that’s much, much more than just driving. With such strong roots in this part of the country, we hope everyone gets out and takes a look at how encompassing this form of motorsport really is. We know that ourselves, but the invitation is open to everybody and the more people we can include in this year’s show, the better.”
“People who make the effort to take a look at any of the stages this year will be treated to some purely magnificent driving, from a diverse pool of talent which we have here fostered right here in our own back yard” says Johnston. Anyone who comes out on the 7th of September will surely appreciate the adventure they’ll be exposed to, and the amazing field of teams and vehicles which span the course of rallying history in style.”
If you’re not keen to venture into the forest for the rally’s high speed gravel stages, the tarmac stages will take place around Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, and on the parks 2.7km circuit at approximately 2pm on the 7th of September.
For the final stage of this year’s Possum Bourne Memorial rally, and in one last soiree to Possum’s memory for 2013 all competitors will head to Pukekohe Park Raceway for the ‘Super Special Stage’ at 5pm, where a drivers will give it their last shot at achieving their best times for the day, and the 2013 Possum Bourne Memorial title.
At all stages, including Hampton Downs Motorsport and Pukekohe Park Raceway there will be no charge for spectators, and fans are welcomed to join with teams and locals in supporting the drivers track-side at all public viewing locations.
To close the event in style, an honorary function will be held at Pukekohe Park Raceway and will include Possum Memorabilia, supper, the screening of a specially produced documentary on Possum, speeches from previous crew members and Possum’s family and a cash bar. This event will be open to the public, and tickets to this function are able to be purchased from Pukekohe Car Club for $35 per head.
Along with names in the tarmac only field, onlookers will be treated to seeing the famous faces of New Zealand Rally Championship competitors in the dual surface stages battle for vital championship points. Drivers such as Hayden Paddon fresh back from WRC Finland, Richard Mason, Chris West and Neil Allport are all names which spectators will be able to watch on in awe of - many of which competed alongside, and were inspired by Possum himself during his lifetime in rally.
For more information on this year’s Possum Bourne Memorial Rally please visit www.pbmrally.co.nz.