At six foot six, young rally driver David Holder is used to standing above the crowd, and he can continue holding his head high after overcoming day 1 problems to clock up a strong performance at round 2 of the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) held in the Wairarapa over the weekend.

Partnered with his older brother James as co-driver, David is competing in his debut season of the championship that consists of five races held around the country. The brothers' car is a standard 1600cc Toyota Levin, however the little Toyota has safety equipment added, along with modified suspension and gearbox to help it survive the rigours of rallying.

Heading down to Rally Wairarapa with high hopes, the dramas started early for the Holder brothers with their service vehicle overheating and blowing its engine halfway to their destination.

“It was hardly the best start to the rally for us to be fair,” said David. “Luckily for us one of our competitors, Phil Campbell, kindly towed the rally car the rest of the way, and a family friend loaned us a car and trailer for our gear. We are extremely grateful to them.”

Putting the pre-event trials aside, the Holder brothers set off into the rally stages early Saturday morning and emerged after the first two stages as second two wheel drive (2wd) in the National Championship, and sitting first in class B (the smaller engine class) for the rally overall.

However trouble reared its head again in the third stage of the day. While navigating through a twisty stretch of road, the team came around a corner to be greeted by a large rock that had emerged through the road surface, right on the racing line.

“We hit the rock pretty hard and our wheel shattered instantly!” exclaimed James. “We pretty much couldn’t do anything to avoid it, the tyre went flat straight away so we had to stop to change it.”

After losing a lot of time, the brothers’ aim for the event changed to ensuring they nursed the little Toyota through to the end of the day servicing zone.

“We ended up bending a suspension arm, which meant the front wheel of the car wouldn’t move up and down, so it was a bit of a mission to get the car to the end safely!” said David. “We entered the end of day service area with a good plan in place to get the car fixed in time however we quickly ended up busier than we imagined!”

While changing the suspension arm, the team found that the CV joint had almost completely blown and a rear hub needed replacing. Frantically fixing it under torch light, they clocked out of the service area just one minute late after a mammoth effort from the crew.

Day 2 dawned afresh and after a makeshift wheel alignment using a measuring tape, David and James headed out onto the gravel roads aiming for a nice clean run to the finish.

“Apart from a small spin on SS12 we had a sweet day”, said James. “We’d lost so much time on day 1 that there was no point trying to be rock stars and win every stage, but we kept trucking along and were happy to get to that finish ramp this time!”

In the run to the finish the brothers' set some solid stage times, consistently mixing it with the top 2wd drivers, and dominating the class B ranks along the way. Ending the rally as 1st in class B and top of the Open 2wd class was a good result, placing David in a strong championship position in the NZRC. He is currently leading the points in both the Rookie and Open 2wd classes.

“We’re stoked overall! The service crew did a great job, we kept our heads together and got the car to the end. This rally has been a bit of an adventure to be fair! It was a pretty good feeling spraying that champagne on the podium!”

Holder Brothers Racing would like to thank the following companies for their ongoing support:

Attentive Design, Mount Wheel Alignment and Service Center, Bay Panelbeaters, Mount Repco, Speedy Signs,  Mount EDL, Sew Hot Monograms, Kayne Barrie Motorsport, Monit Rally Computers and also Rising Stars Scholarship supporters, Gull Fuel, Dunlop Tyres and Rally New Zealand.

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