Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield has battled tough weather conditions and a new car to take a popular victory at the iconic Ashley Forest Rallysprint, something the 22-year old claims as a dream come true.
Born and bred in Rangiora, the town on the edge of the Ashley Forest, Summerfield has long dreamed of victory on the event he has grown up watching and the opportunity this year to share the Mistubishi Cordia V8 with three times winner Steve Murphy represented his best chance to realise that dream.
While the majority of his team were back at the Autotech services workshop finishing an engine rebuild on the Castrol Edge Subaru that was also entered, Summerfield got to grips with the brutal Cordia, setting the seventh fastest time on the opening run, then the third fastest time on the second run before topping the charts on Saturday’s final run.
Sunday’s final qualifying run saw a busy Summerfield not only set the fastest time in the Cordia, but also fifth fastest time in the Subaru. As the elimination runs progressed, Summerfield would bring the Subaru home in a creditable sixth overall, but his pace in the Cordia was awesome. As the field was trimmed to 32, 16, eight, four and then two, Summerfield was consistently the fastest in the wet conditions and, withstanding the pressure of the elimination nature of the event, took the victory ahead of car owner Murphy.
“This is absolutely a dream come true, if you have a look at the names on the winners list it really is a list of superstars from the past,” said Summerfield. “I really can’t thank Steve and his team enough for letting me drive the car. It is such a fantastic car to drive, I have to have another go in it, I’m hooked!”
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