The Eastern Southland Car Club’s Rankleburn Rally in West Otago takes place this Saturday, 5 October.
The event, organised by the Eastern Southland Car Club, is supported once again by MLT / Heartland Hotels and Ernslaw One Limited.
The rally consists of four special stages commencing with a competitor briefing at 10.00am on Saturday 5 October.
The event will be based at Telford Tops Road in the Rankleburn Forest, West Otago, approximately one hour from Gore and 35 minutes from Balclutha and will be signposted from State Highway 1.
Top seed Carter Strang of Wallacetown enjoys the event having finished in the top three twice before. He rates Rankleburn as a challenge. “There are endless corners and some slippery bits. You can be running on a dry road and the next thing you are on a clay track. You have to keep your brain ticking.”
The rally has attracted Mark Parsons and Amy Keighley south from Auckland. Parsons has been a regular at the Catlins Rally the last two years while Keighley’s first season of rallying was in the 2018 NZ Rally Championship where she finished third in the Category 2 FIA 2-wheel drive class. She will lease a Jeff Judd prepared Subaru Impreza H6 for the event, a normally aspirated 4-wheel-drive car, her first outing in a four-wheel drive machine.
Malcolm Read arrives at the rally to co-drive for third seed Tony Gosling as one of New Zealand’s busiest rally co-drivers at the moment.
He recently did five events in six weeks with five different drivers in different parts of the world. He comes to Rankleburn as it is an event he has never done. “I like to take the chance to do everything I can in New Zealand. It is nice to do one at home.”
Nigel King of Rakahouka in Southland last drove at the 2001 Catlins Coast Rally but on Saturday he makes his rallying return eighteen years on at the age of 47 years old. King has been sharing a Toyota Starlet in sprints and hillclimbs with son Brayden over the past couple years. Brayden has also done three rally’s in the car but when he said he would not do Rankleburn Nigel decided to bring the car out and “get it dirty.”
In a nice touch, Jordyn White, the son of Nigel’s regular co-driver from years ago Andrew Whyte, will be the co-driver at Rankleburn.
By Lindsay Beer