Since 1977 the Mainland Rally Series has provided a South Island Championship for Southern Rally Teams. For 2014 the five round series has attracted a new sponsor with Clearwater Renovating & Decorating now the series main supporter.
With the extra backing this season the series aims to provide a new group of awards aimed at up and coming younger teams, while the front running teams will fight it out for the trophy first won by Alec Doig back in 1977. David Clearwater of Clearwater Renovating and Decorating commented “we have provided funding for the series this year with the aim of providing support for the younger teams”. Details of these awards will be announced soon.
The Mainland Rally series supported by Clearwater Renovating & Decorating kicks off with the Westland Rally based from Greymouth on the 15th March. Further rounds will be held as part of the Otago Rally, Rally of Canterbury, the Catlins Coast Rally and the final in South Canterbury in September.
Most of the who’s who of South Island Rallying have won the series in past years with current Mainland Champion Deane Buist having the most championship wins with four. John Silcock has had three Mainland Championships, Jeff Judd, Chris West and Derek Ayson all have two, while other well known names such as Brian Stokes and Trevor Crowe also have their names on the prized Mainland Series trophy.
Going into 2014 Christchurch’s Buist is expected to again run towards the front, but is undecided which car or cars he will use. He used two different 4WD Mitsubishi’s along with two different rear wheel drive BDA Escorts to win last year’s title “I don’t care what I drive as long as the car is competitive” commented Deane Buist. Timaru’s Darren Galbraith is making a return to competitive driving this season in a Mitsubishi Evo 6 and has already shown good speed in the car at recent sprint events, making Galbraith another favourite despite over ten years away from the driver’s seat. Others to watch for in 2014 include Nelson’s Richard Bateman, sponsor David Clearwater of Christchurch and Invercargill’s Carter Strang. Entries for the 2014 Mainland Rally Series supported by Clearwater Renovating and Decorating remain open.