Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield has become the first driver to take victory in three consecutive years at the iconic Ashley Forest Rallysprint after a hard fought battle across the two day event.
Summerfield headed to the event, which operates on a knock-out format over a 1.7 kilometre gravel hillclimb, looking to not only defend the title he had won over the past two years, but also join the exclusive club of drivers that have set a sub-minute time around the iconic course.
It would be a busy weekend for Summerfield, who would not only campaign his Castrol Edge Subaru in the rally car class, but also the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Mirage in the unlimited class, the same car he won the Tauranga Clubmans Rally in.
Things started well for the 24-year old when he set the early pace and was the first driver to get under the magic minute in the third qualifying run, before backing it up with a 58 second pass to sit second overnight.
Coming back for the day of elimination runs, Summerfield battled hard across the pressure runs of the day that saw the field slashed in half each pass. After becoming involved in a titanic battle for the top spot, Summerfield was able to post a winning time of 56.72 seconds in the top two run off driving the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Mirage. A sub minute time in the Castrol Edge Subaru saw him also take out the Rally Car Class of the event.
“I’m rapt, I really wanted to break the minute this year and we absolutely smashed it which is awesome,” said Summerfield. “It was a great battle with Sloan (Cox) all weekend and hard luck to him, but to win three in a row is something pretty special on my home event.”
Matt Summerfield Rallisport would like to acknowledge their sponsors, without whom their 2016 campaign would not be possible: Castrol Edge, Autotech Services, Brita Safety, Clearwater Painting, North Canterbury Energy Centre, The Gearbox Company, I C Frith Insurance Brokers, Chatterton Builders, Liquorland Rangiora, Good Street Dental and No Limit Construction.
Press Release by BB Media