While there may be a perception that it is difficult to travel from afar to contest a marathon event such as the epay Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand nothing could be further from the truth.
Rally organisers are committed to enticing international entries to the event and accordingly they do everything they can to smooth the way for all competitors including the internationals. This includes the provision of information on shipping and accommodation while they are also compiling complete packages to make it easy to be a part of this great event. Cars are available to lease for the rally while locals can provide service crews and support vehicles to prospective competitors who need only fly in and fly out if they wish. Once in New Zealand competitors also find that kiwis that they encounter are friendly and helpful.
Competitors that have done it before have seen that it is not all that difficult. In short it is easy!
Ed Mulligan of Australia who won the Challenge in 2012 in a leased car is hugely enthusiastic about the event. “It’s the easiest and the best way to do it. I just take my helmet and my race suit, jump on a plane to New Zealand and I am doing it!”
Mulligan’s countrymen Keith and Mary Anne Callinan have done every Silver Fern Rally since 2006 and they too love the event. “The roads are awesome, the organisation incredible and the costs per competitive kilometre equal huge value. Kiwi competitors and their service crews are all about keeping overseas competitors in the event and will stop at nothing to make sure you start the next morning. The organisers take all the usual dramas of competing overseas away. GT Logistics ship your car and the event organisers do all the NZ road requirements prior to scrutineering.”
Peter Egerton and Alun Cook from the UK used Phil from GT International Logistics in 2010 and 2012 and found their management of the full shipping and handling service second to none. “In 2012 we dealt with John of Southern World Travel who looked after our team’s accommodation superbly. All the hotels were well priced and close to the rally halts.”
Another UK crew Jake Scannell and Nina Thompson were surprised how easy it was to compete in their first ever international event in NZ back in 2008. “We opted to hire a car from ALLTRAX in Nelson. They provided a complete solution (fly and drive rallying) at a very reasonable cost in 2008 and 2010. Whilst we haven’t ever shipped our own car out to New Zealand we have shipped one back to Southampton, which was relatively simple, with other competitors like Grant Shand and Iain Freestone giving us advice on their shipping experiences out to NZ. When you look at the stage miles as a whole, it still works out cheaper than like for like rallying in the UK, including flights and accommodation, car hire and shipping.”
This year’s epay Silver Fern Rally starts on Saturday 8 November and the time to enter is now as entries at the earlybird discounted rates end on 28 February.
Photograph: Keith and Mary Anne Callinan in the car they had freighted in from Australia for the 2012 epay Silver Fern Rally – please credit Geoff 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.