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Local Dedication At Rally Wairarapa

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

6 July -- Living at the southern end of the North Island often means a lot of travel to get your fix of motorsport, be it spectating or competing. Therefore, when a major event appears on your doorstep you usually take the opportunity with both hands.

That certainly has been true for the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa for many years. Especially when it was the combined efforts of car clubs from Wellington, Kapiti, the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa that revived this event and turned it into one of the best in the national championship. The fact is that competitors from both sides of the Rimutaka hill consider this to be their home rally.

Once again it is the "locals" that are supporting the event, right through from the top to the bottom.

Odds on favourite to win the event outright is the Masterton Flyer, as he has become known. Richard Mason has won the event every time, except last year, and is now locked in a battle to regain the national championship from Geraldine's Hayden Paddon. Mason has to win his home event and take maximum points in order to have any chance to get back the national title he lost two years ago.

Moving further down the field, Aaron Cook is the defending Kiwi 2 class NZ Champion. This builder from Titahi Bay has had a limited season this year, but is bringing out the trusty Honda Jazz to prove that he can still mix it with the best. Aaron won his class at this event last year and will again be hard to beat.

The Hutt Valley is well represented with a number of competitors taking up the challenge.

Adam Bligh moving up from regional competition last year, to the second tier of national competition this year and has the potential to do very well though. Especially after claiming third at the Daybreaker Rally in the Manawatu last year.

Piran Pigneguy is a friend of Adam and is chasing glory in the Central Region Rally Series. However the rivalry between the two is still intense and it is likely they will both be swapping times all day.

Another moving up to the second tier of national competition is Campbell Wilson. A talented driver in regional sprints and rallysprints, this is his first time in the higher ranks.

Tony Burrows and Richard Billington are both businessmen from Wellington. Tony is registered in the Central Region Rally Series and after solid results earlier in the year, he is looking to improve his standing in the points. For Richard, this is one event he always comes out to compete in. He selects the sprint events he wants to compete in, but Rally Wairarapa is always the major event he can't miss.

From Levin, Chris Clarke has a distinctive set of wheels. His distinctive Nissan Ute is a welcome respite from the continual parade of Mitsubishis and Subarus that dominate the rally scene these days. His philosophy is to have as much fun as possible, and despite being towards the back of the field, he certainly achieves that aim.

Competing in their first rally ever are Hutt Valley based Victor Yuen and Alex Baker. That means they will start from the back of the field, but that doesn't matter to them. Having competed at every local sprint they could find, they see this as their ideal opportunity to move up to rallying. However they are now having to show the complete dedication all competitors have. Victor heavily crashed their Toyota Carolla two weeks ago at a gravel sprint near Levin. That hasn't dampened their determination though and they are currently working frantically to ensure they have a car ready to compete at the rally. They won't let the small matter of fixing a bent car stop them.

This event certainly brings out the "locals", and inevitably brings out the best in them.

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