While many assume the epay Silver Fern Rally is entirely for historic vehicles that is but one part of this fascinating event.
Naturally the historic component is an important part of the rally and the Historic Trophy is specifically for 2-wheel-drive cars that comply with various historic criteria as listed in the event regulations. However the New Zealand Silver Fern Challenge caters for 2-wheel-drive cars that comply with the Motorsport New Zealand Schedule A safety requirements with several classes falling within those guidelines.
In recent times a great variety of vehicles have tackled the Challenge and the very nature of that part of the event lends itself to many different 2-wheel-drive cars. A look at the entry list of any rally on both sides of the Tasman shows that there are many New Zealand and Australian cars that have been modified to meet their classic series which are eligible. So too later model 2-wheel-drive cars. Past entries include the Ford Fiesta R2 of Leigh and Josh Marston, the Honda Civic R of Dave Strong and Rob Scott and Craig Marshall’s Peugeot 206 Gti as well as numerous Toyota Corolla’s, Nissan Pulsar’s and the like. Already this year entries include a Suzuki Swift and one of the new Toyota FT86’s and organisers would dearly love to see a large, diverse and exciting line up in the Challenge to complement the historic part of the event as competitors embark on this marathon adventure.
2012 Challenge winner, Ed Mulligan of Australia, is a strong advocate of the event. “It is absolutely the best value for money. I wish it was held every year, no better still, every six months. They are the best roads in the world and the hospitality and mateship is amazing!” Mulligan has done a lot in his rallying career but his experience in the Challenge has certainly made a big impression.
Gary Smith, the Chairman of Directors of Silver Fern Rally Management Ltd, say’s, “it is commonly felt that our marathon event is an event for historic rally cars. I have to say that is a misconception. We welcome all 2-wheel-drive rally cars that meet Schedule A and this includes modern 2wd cars. It would be fantastic to see some of the modern cars competing against each other, even better with manufacturer support like the good old days.”
The time to enter is now as entries at the earlybird discounted rates end on 28 February.
Photograph: Dave Strong and Rob Scott in their 2-wheel-drive Honda Civic R during the 2012 epay Silver Fern Rally – Photo credit Kate Ridder
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 1250 kilometres of competitive Special Stages over eight days and 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, .
The rally enjoys support from epay, Malcove, Kiwimaps and Brita Safety.