Having to pull out of the 2015 Blakely Pacific Ltd Spring Rally after just the first stage has not dampened Greg Murphy’s newly acquired enthusiasm for rallying.
The Kiwi motorsport legend along with co-driver Mark Leonard limped out of the first stage in their historic rally car and withdrew from the final round of the 2015 Mainland Series held on Saturday in the Kakahu Forest in the Geraldine district in South Canterbury.
“We had an altercation with something stronger than the car and did some serious damage,” commented Murphy. “We were too fast coming downhill to a tight corner with not enough grip and hit a rock face.”
The pair managed to finish the stage but made the decision not to continue due the damage incurred.
“It was a short day in that respect; an error on my part. There had been quite a bit of rain overnight which lead to slippery conditions. Some parts of the road were hard, and then others in the trees were soft with dirt turning to mud.
“It’s particularly disappointing for our Stadium Motorsport car not to finish.”
The event was hosted by the South Canterbury Car Club and is the type of rally on which WRC driver Hayden Paddon first cut his teeth. First run in 1977, this year’s event was the final round of the popular Mainland Series and featured a title show-down between eventual winner Richard Bateman/Sharisse Gucket (Mitsubishi Lancer) and second placed Deane Buist/Stewart Robbie (Ford Escort).
Reflecting on the day and only his third gravel rally outing, Murphy has not been deterred by the crash.
“Absolutely not, we have been in this situation plenty of times before. It’s disappointing when so many people have been so supportive.. We were having a blast, enjoying the experience and will definitely be back.”
Murphy’s involvement in the Blakely Pacific Ltd Spring Rally has been made possible by the support of rally enthusiast Tony Gosling, Stadium Finance, Penny Homes and Peter Sturgent.