NZ Rally Championship – Rnd 6 (Masterton)
Christchurch rally driver Hamish Anderson secured his first national rally championship title last weekend when a podium finish at the season finale in Masterton netted him victory the New Zealand Open Two-wheel drive series.
Heading into the final round, Anderson was odds-on favourite to win but an engine water leek developed during the rally which had the rookie driver nervously waiting to reach the finish line.
But for Anderson and co-driver Sarah Brennan, the championship victory was even more sweeter after the pair were involved in a fund-raising drive to the make the final round.
The pair accepted donations from family, friends and local businesses to make the trek from Christchurch to Masterton after an early season crash in their Toyota Levin left the pair struggling for funds.
“All the people who donated funds to us got the opportunity to sign a message on the rally car and we proudly carried those messages of support,” said Anderson.
“To accomplish what we set out to at the start of the season against quite a few odds was a satisfying result. We couldn’t have done it without all this support so I dedicate this title to our loyal family, friends and supporters,” he added.
Rally Wairarapa started slowly for the pair after thick dust in the first stage made driving difficult but it was a slow water leek that caused the most concern.
“After Stage 2 we noticed the car was loosing anti-freeze but we couldn’t find the source of the leek. All we culd do was to keep topping the car’s engine up with water and hope we made it to the finish.”
Not only did Anderson win the Open Two-wheel drive title, Brennan also won the co-drivers title in her first season of national competition.
“We were a couple of novices at the start of the season and Sarah has done an outstanding job,” said Anderson.
“Sarah had never done reconnaissance on a rally before, or called out safety notes on an event, so she has done a fantastic job all year and richly deserves her title.”
The pair are hoping to defend their title in the same car next season.
The Anderson rally team are supported by Goodyear, Rally Tyres NZ Ltd, Mammoth Web, Autolign, Dunlop and P J Repairs.