The Lone Star Rally of Canterbury will bring the Brian Green Property Group NZ Rally Championship to Christchurch and North Canterbury on Saturday 31st May and Sunday 1st June. With new backing from The Lone Star Café and Bar group, along with their sidekicks at Joes Garage, the rally promises top level action as New Zealand’s best Rally Teams tackle the first two Okuku Forest stages in the dark on Saturday night, then race along many of North Canterbury’s best gravel public roads on Sunday, finishing the high speed action with another run over the two forest stages Sunday afternoon.
The Rally starts at The Palms shopping mall in Shirley on Saturday afternoon 31 May. All the cars will be on display at The Palms from 3.30pm, and you will be able to meet the drivers during a poster signing session from 3.45. The first car leaves The Palms at 4.45pm. The Rally finishes at The Palms at 4.20pm on Sunday 1st June, providing another chance for you to get up close to the cars and drivers.
Masterton’s Richard Mason leads the NZ Championship (NZRC) after the first two rounds and starts as favourite here too. However there are a whole bunch of other teams that hope to beat Mason. Three local teams who hope to do that include Christchurch’s Matt Jansen who finished third at this event last year and also scored third at the recent Otago round of the championship. He will be hoping he can get to the top at his home round. Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield is currently second in the championship, and while his car is not as sophisticated as those of Mason and Jansen, consistent fast times have provided good results so far this year for Summerfield. Kaiapoi’s Richard Baddock has impressed everyone with how quickly he has learnt the sport, he went great here last year, now in his second season he will be another to watch in 2014.
There will be all sorts of new rally cars to keep an eye on, including Andrew Hawkeswood’s Mazda 2 which is built using a new ‘space-frame’ formula. The car proved fast and agile at its recent Otago debut, and Hawkeswood is well known for his spectacular ‘win it or bin it’ style. Our top female Rally driver, Emma Gilmore will return with her Suzuki Swift Maxi, she was also quick and consistent at Otago. A couple of young guys in Subaru’s in Ben Hunt and Lance Williams can be expected to be on the pace. Hunt placed second here last year while Williams has been very impressive running with the top guns of the sport in his first NZRC season this year. David Holder is another new guy doing well, and with training from Kiwi WRC driver Hayden Paddon, Holder will hope he can get his Mitsubishi first across the finish line at the Palms.
There will be over 50 teams taking on the challenge of the 2014 Lone Star Rally of Canterbury and you can be sure there will be action throughout the field. Spectator maps will help you find the best place to watch the live action, they will be available at The Palms, Christchurch Lone Star’s and Joe’s Garage along with other supporting businesses. It is 100% free of charge for you to get amongst the action at the 2014 Lone Star Rally of Canterbury.
By Ross Teesdale