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Silver Fern rally winner intent on repeat

Media release: Friday 7 November 2014, on behalf of Jeff Judd.

Winners of the 2010 Silver Fern Rally Historic Challenge, Christchurch pairing Jeff Judd and co-driver/car preparer Mark Smith are gunning for a repeat title from the gruelling eight day journey of South Island’s iconic rural roads.

Comprising 1150 kilometres of competitive tests the epay Silver Fern Rally traverses through the heart of mainland New Zealand – from the Marlborough region to the moviescape terrain used by The Hobbit trilogy.

Judd and Smith will campaign the same 1982 Ford Escort RS1800 used in 2010. A late entry to the event, Judd says the decision was a case of fitting in around work/life commitments while refuelling his passion for rally.
The event see’s the pair start amidst competition parallel to his early hero’s and former competitors Rod Millen and Mike Marshall.

An endurance event Judd says the competition he faces pushes the boundary of balancing speed and the conservative nature needed to finish.

“There is so much experience in the field – many with national titles. So they’re fast and know how to keep a car on the road. It’s just a case of being faster for 1150 kilometres – and finishing. Their competitive nature means everyone wants to win so it’s a case of balancing up being quick enough to be in the lead bunch and having reserve up your sleeve to ensure you, your co-driver, car and team can finish hoping the others strike a problem,” says Judd.

This year’s entry list includes teams from Kenya, the UK, Scotland, Ireland as well as Australia.

Held bi-annually Judd says competitors in the event are statistically on the back foot. Fellow Cantabrian’s Brian Stokes won in 2006 while the late Andrew Grundy (with Smith as the co-driver) won in 2008, Judd in 2010, and Deane Buist in 2012.

“Each one of them are close mates even though cancer took Andrew (Grundy) a couple of years ago. But you could argue there is something in the Canterbury water.

To be fair the challenge of the changing road style across the event puts everyone on a pretty even standing. There is something in there that suits everyone’s preference and as we don’t use pace notes it’s about reading the road ahead.

“Experience and past results aside we pushed too hard last time we had the car out and rolled at the Taylor’s Pass rallysprint held near Blenheim. So this time a little less jandal should bring our baby home. Deja vu 2010 we hope.”

Each car travels with daily traffic to the start of each of the 49 ‘special stages’, before entering the closed road at a pre-determined time. The time set traversing each special stage accumulates during the week with the team accruing the lowest elapsed time is declared the winner.

“Taking time to indulge a passion and drive roads through some of New Zealand’s most iconic scenic regions is pretty invigorating,” adds Judd. “And after eight long days – seven of them driving as hard as you can, it really takes it out of you and the team. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to finish, but finishing first is the best feeling of all.

“And to get us there it takes a team of both crew and backers: My long-time supporter, BNT is back on board and Vantage Aluminium is helping. I have known Craig Vincent of Vantage Aluminium for a while and I have been using their product in my home build. My own business Magnum Compliance is in of course and Import Parts Specialists plus Quality Tyres. John Jones Steel has been a terrific supporter in the past and they are also getting in behind us again as is the Waimate Pharmacy and VINZ."

Judd and his team travel from Christchurch to Picton early Friday to complete pre-event documentation before the car goes on show alongside the competition from10:30am Saturday morning in the town’s High Street. The first car departs at12:30pm.


Background on the journey:
The epay Silver Fern Rally 2014 will start from Picton on Saturday 8 November 2014. That night competitors will stay in Blenheim before crossing the island the following day to overnight in Westport on Sunday night. Competitors will then head back across the island on Monday to spend the following evening in Christchurch. Timaru, Dunedin and Invercargill are the destinations for the next three nights before the rally travels into the magnificent southern lakes area with a Friday night stopover in Wanaka. The rally ends on Saturday 15 November in Queenstown.

The epay Silver Fern Rally 2014 consists of the New Zealand Silver Fern Historic Trophy for 2-wheel-drive cars that comply with various historic criteria as listed in the event regulations and the New Zealand Silver Fern Challenge which caters for 2-wheel-drive cars that comply with the Motorsport New Zealand Schedule A safety requirements. Within each of those sections there are various classes.

The rally will cover 1150 kilometres of competitive distance, broken in to 49 ‘special stages’. Held over eight days organisers are promising some new stages and new locations along with some roads that have been used previously but in differing configurations. The epay Silver Fern Rally provides competitors with a fantastic rally experience amidst some awe inspiring scenery.

For further information:

Event website:

© Scoop Media

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