1970’s and 80’s British Rally Championship contender, Willie Rutherford (now based in Akaroa near Christchurch), will make a return to rallying when he starts in the NZ Silver Fern International Marathon Rally in October, where he will drive the Gilmour built, ex Brent Rawstron Porsche 911.
Now a resident kiwi, Rutherford was part of the service team for David Sutton and Stig Blomqvist on the 2006 Silver Fern event, and saw the opportunity to get back into the classic side of rallying and was recently able to purchase the Rawstron Porsche.
Speaking for his home, Rutherford confirmed: “I haven’t competed since 1986, and after getting the bug again on the last Silver Fern, I thought I would start with a nice simple car on an easy little (!!) event to see if I could still remember how to drive! I’m really looking forward to it.”
Rutherford’s left hand drive Porsche won on its last outing in the hands of Finland’s Passi Hagstrum – this year’s Dunlop Classic Otago, and before that Brent Rawstron drove the car to 5th overall on the 2006 Silver Fern Rally.
Rutherford competed extensively in the late 1970’s and 80’s in England driving a variety of cars in British and European events, including using a Porsche 911 in Belgium.
During 1978 and 79 his Kenord Motorsport business ran the Mazda Motor Sport Team, and he drove a highly modified 13-B Rotary powered rear wheel drive Mazda 323.
Then in 1980 Mazda built a 626 which Rutherford used in a number of rallies, including the Polish, Manx and British RAC Internationals. 1981 saw him at the wheel of an ex Henri Toivonen Ford Escort MKII RS1800 for the Mintex International, some European events and the British RAC.
1985 and it was an RED team run Ford Cosworth 4x4 prototype, which took him to wins in the Granite City, Yorkshire and Cumbria Rally’s.
Rutherford’s last year of competition was 1986, again with RED, and saw him pilot a powerful Group B MG Metro 6R4 in the Sanyo team colours to runner up in the British National Championship.
The 2008 NZ Silver Fern International Marathon Rally, held over 8 day’s in New Zealand’s South Island, is the longest duration motor-sport event currently being held in NZ, and takes its roots from the Silver Fern and Heatway Rallies of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
The October 16th - 23rd 2008 event, will take competitors south from Christchurch to Queenstown, Dunedin, and Invercargill, back to Dunedin, Timaru and Christchurch before finishing at the new Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim.
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