On Saturday the 27th of September, driver Tyson Jemmett and navigator Ric Chalmers took on nearly two hundred kilometers of competitive stages around the Palmerston North and Taihape region.
The first challenge of the event was starting just after 4am and taking on two night stages. Jemmett said “I had never driven a night stage with big spot lights before so it was a new challenge. It was the first time Ric and I had rallied together and we had not completed recce so the first stage in the dark was always going to be exciting. I pushed hard and my driving was a tad messy at times but we finished the stage eleventh overall so I was quite happy”.
Jemmett went into the first service at Taihape the leading two wheel drive with an eighteen second lead on the Ford Fiesta of Max Bailey. Bailey immediately fought back with three very quick stage times and returned to the Taihape service park, this time with an eighteen second lead on Jemmett. The next three stages proved to be crucial for Jemmett with special stage seven being the longest stage of the rally at forty two kilometers. “I went into the stage knowing this might be my only opportunity to gain back time on Max so I put the grit between my teeth and went for it!” said Jemmett. Jemmett won the stage by over twenty seconds and set a new national two wheel drive stage record of nearly one minute quicker than the previous record set by Tony McConachy in a Toyota Starlet.
Jemmett went into the final three stages with a fifteen second lead on Bailey. Bailey took time out of Jemmett on stage nine and ten, placing eight and seventh overall respectively. The pair started the final twenty four kilometer stage separated by 0.2 seconds. “We knew we had to give it everything on the last stage if we had any hope of winning. The stage itself was challenging and felt longer than the forty two kilometer stage we completed earlier in the day. I left nothing in the reserve tank and we hit a bank twice but were lucky to get away with no major damage”
Jemmett finished the rally first for class B, first two wheel drive overall and tenth overall for the entire competition. The Daybreaker rally was the fourth and final round of the Central Region Championship where Jemmett finished first in class B, first novice driver and second overall behind the Honda powered Ford Escort of Anthony Jones. Jemmett was ecstatic with the result, “I can’t believe the result we achieved. Twelve months ago I had never raced on gravel and I would have never dreamed of being able to get tenth overall and the fastest two wheel drive in a national rally”.
The season isn’t over yet for Jemmett with the Tanoa Paihia Hotel Rally of the North this Saturday the 11th of October. Jemmett will be looking to finish the season on a high with another good result in the Xtreme Challenge and Top Half Series.
While Jemmett does not have any financial sponsors, he would like to thank the continued support from:
The Service Company, Endless Brakes NZ (Prosport Auto), Repco Greenlane, Waiau Pa Automotive Solutions and Rallytyres.co.nz.
You can follow Jemmett’s rally progress via updates on the TZR Facebook page.