Ranigora Rally Driver Matt Summerfield is honoured to have won the inaugural Royce Watson Memorial Rally, held near Hanmer over the weekend.
Watson was an icon amongst the South Island rallying scene but tragically passed away in an accident on the event last year in what was only the second fatal accident in New Zealand’s close to 50-year rallying history.
Teaming up with Michael Crawley for the event, Summerfield set the second fastest time on the short opening stage before making a charge on stage two, the longest of the event to set a time 28 seconds faster than the chasing field.
A consistent run of top three stage times across the rest of the morning saw Summerfield hold the advantage and he looked to extend that in stage five, a repeat of stage two. A collision with a tree would offer a few nervous moments, but the car survived and Summerfield was still able to record the equal fastest time.
Another string of top three times meant Summerfield was able to come home victorious by 34 seconds, the second outright rally win of his career to date.
“It’s still sinking in, just what it means to be the first person to win the event remembering Royce,” says Summerfield. “We really gave it a crack in stage two, it was really slippery and it paid off. Stage five was a repeat and I was going for the hero run, that didn’t quite work out, but to win is awesome.”
The Matt Summerfield Rallisport team now prepare for the final round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, the GoPro Daybreaker Rally in the Manawatu on September 27.
Matt Summerfield Rallisport would like to acknowledge their sponsors, without whom their 2014 campaign would not be possible: Castrol Edge, Autotech Services, NAC Insurance, North Canterbury Energy Centre, The Gearbox Company, Chatterton Builders, Gull Fuels, Liquorland, Ashby Engineering, I C Frith Insurance Brokers and No Limit Construction.
Press Release by BB Media