A hard earned victory at last weekend’s GoPro Daybreaker Rally has seen five times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason set a raft of new records in the 40 year history of the New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC].
Richard has extended his record count of NZRC round victories to 28 and Sara has now reached 25, making her the most successful NZRC co-driver ever.
The Masterton Flyers won an unprecedented 5 of the 6 rounds that made up this year’s Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship – driven by VINZ, a feat previously set by triple champion Joe McAndrew when he won 5 of the 7 round championship in 1994. They also won this year’s series in the fastest ever time – with two rounds to spare and en route to this year’s title the Masons brought up a half century of stage wins – 51 of the 62 they completed.
And the records are not just exclusive to the crew, as their bright yellow BNT Subaru has now become the most successful car in the NZRC with 12 wins – one more than the Subaru Legacy Joe McAndrew used in the 1990’s. Coincidentally both cars were originally built by Prodrive, who built and ran cars as the Subaru World Rally Team in the World Rally Championship in the 1990’s and 2000’s.
The records may have been achieved last weekend, but this round’s victory was hard earned as, following a dominant morning that saw the BNT Subaru out to a commanding 65 second lead with just 2 stages and 33 kilometres to run, a broken left rear shock absorber meant ‘drive to survive’ became the absolute priority.
16 of those seconds were sacrificed as Richard spent the 8k stage working out how best to keep the car on the road, and after some critical road side adjustments to the car’s left rear tyre pressure and suspension setup to it’s other corners, they set off into to gnarly 24 kilometre long Ridge Road stage fiercely determined to claim victory.
And so it proved, despite a few “interesting” moments the BNT Subaru emerged from the stage unscathed, having given up only 6 seconds to take the win by 43 seconds.
“The car was driving us rather than us driving it,” said Richard, “It was a real handful, but we managed to keep it all together and it’s awesome for all the BNT Mason Motorsport Team and our supporters that we have been able to round off such a brilliant season on a high.”
An extract from Sara’s post yesterday on her Facebook page describes the situation perfectly:
Thank You Richard Mason – you are an incredibly talented driver who shares my absolute passion to win – how you drove that last stage with no left rear shock absorber losing minimal time really made me realise how amazing you are! Having such faith in your ability means focusing on doing my job as well as I can becomes easy.
BNT Mason Motorsport are very proud to again have the support of BNT, Dunlop, B.W.O’Brien, ScottSpeed Performance Engines, Geartech, MCA Suspension, Hopper Construction, Race Brakes, Randall & Associates, Quality Foods and Tom’s Autos, without whose invaluable assistance they would not be able to be celebrating a decade at the top of NZ rallying.