Rally Gisborne for 2015 has come to a finish. For the team and I it has been a major step towards our title aspirations, we were successful on only our 2nd trip into the region to come away with the rally and power stage victory. The event was unfortunately shortened down to just 4 gravel stages on the Saturday which barely sounds like enough to call it a rally but believe me it was up there as one of the most demanding days of endurance we have faced as a team this year, the shortest stage of the day measured in at 24 km with the longest 48km.
Overnight rain in the region cleared up as we left the start line on Saturday, typically a small amount of rain is a good thing while rallying it keeps the dust down and gives the road a small amount of added grip giving more drive out of corners. The Gisborne region plays it differently the first stage of the day the road felt like a completely different stage from the one I had just driven over the day before in recee, A fast downhill section now offered less grip than the previous day and had the potential to catch competitors out.
We set a good time in stage one giving us a lead over the field heading into the Motu stage. This was the first time threw there for me, was I about to join the club of those who its treated nicely or one of those who has been bitten. I drove to a good steady rhythm while the road was in good condition. Just after the half way mark the road had its first of 3 surface changes driving on bedrock, The chance of a puncture in here was very real so we pulled back to make sure we preserved the car to have a good push again from the final surface change. We came out of the stage with a competitive time. Unfortunately the conditions didn’t favour having a go at Colin McRae’s stage record but we now have set the fastest time by a NZ crew threw there.
The power stage in Whakarau has to be up there as one of the top drivers stages in New Zealand, Corners flow really nicely into each other and being able to link them up carrying plenty of speed was the key. We won the stage picking up the maximum bonus points.
The Final stage for us was all about preserving the lead we had managed to build up during the day, Near the end of the stage we came across a little pig we slowed while he decided what he was up to, it was lucky for him we were racing any other day he would have ended up in the roasting dish.
All that was left was the drive back into Gisborne to the final time control and finish ceremony, After the final clock in it was a relief to finish a long day of racing the 4 stages had taken 1hour 48 mins to complete and we had finished up with an overall win.
It was good to have fellow Subaru driver Lance Williams come home in 2nd place. Our results from the weekend has moved us in the right direction for the Championship our lead has increased to 42 points after Phil Campbell who was unfortunately sidelined early on in the rally.
We have a 2 month gap until we head to Coromandal for round 5 of the Brian Green Properties NZ Rally Championship make sure you keep up with the team on Facebook for photos and updates between events. And if you get a chance pop along to the CRC Speedshow as we are hoping to have the car there doing a demo in the live arena, I will also be in the Celebrity Go Kart Race again which i am looking forward too as it was a huge amount of fun last year.
Also I would like to thank Chris Smith for suppling us with alot of the imagery for this update and the wicked footage that Cam Vernon and Chris put together for us over the weekend. If Anyone missed the Videos you can check out our motorsport page