Photo credit : Rani Kelly
Photo credit : Rani Kelly

Meet the Driver – Derek Ayson

Derek Ayson
Derek Ayson

Name: Derek Ayson
Age: 42
Motosport Club: Eastern Southland Car Club
Motorsport class: Classic Rally
Current rally car: Nissan FJ20 powered Mk2 Ford Escort

At what age were you when you first got involved in motorsport?
18ish. Started doing autocrosses at a few Eastern Southland Car Club events in my first car, a DX Corolla.

Who was your biggest influence in rallying when growing up?
Two local drivers, Ian Begg and Barry Robinson who lived just over the hill from our farm. When Barry and Ian left the area, I think the neighbours thought that would be the last of the noisey rally cars in the district….. but they were wrong…!! lol

What was your very first rally car?
First rally was Timaru in 1998 ndriving a 1500cc rear drive Toyota Starlet (and finished last)

What has been the most fun rally car you have owned?
Current one!!

What is the ultimate special stage / rally for you?
Otago Rally – Kuri Bush is the best stage ever!! Plus Cannibal Bay at the Catlins Rally is pretty cool!

What is your rally highlight to date?
Winning 2 national rally titiles in both 2WD and 4WD plus competing at the Otago International Classic Rally with a number of past World Champions and International drivers is pretty special. Also, competing in Ed Mulligans BMW at the Border Ranges Rally in Australia last year would have be a highlight of my rally career as well.

What vehicle format would you recommend for young drivers entering motorsport. Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive and why?
An underpowered rear wheel drive car is more natural to start off in and to learn it’s capabilities and maximise corner speed before progressing to more power and/or 4WD

What advice could you give an up-and-coming driver looking for sponsorship?
Be professional, positive, always give it your best and not give up, as you never know what potential sponsor might be watching your progress.

In your opinion who was the best rally driver of all time and why?
Ari Vatanen. A true legend, and a very genuine guy to have met and competed with.

Other than rally what other things / work are you involved in?
Ex farmer, and currently a Technical Field Rep for CRT/Farmlands Co-Operative based in Gore.

What do you like to do to relax when not rallying?
Family time, and catching blue cod on Foveaux Strait on calm summers day is pretty hard to beat!

Do you have any other talents that would surprise people(are you a budding artist / musician etc)?
Represented South Otago at smallbore rifle shooting for 20 consecutive years, and have been known to bang on the drums occasionally.

What’s your goal for 2014?
To convince Mike Verdoner to let me do some laps in his Super Saloon car at the speedway!

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