One of New Zealand’s most experienced rally competitors, Jeff Judd, is ready to take on New Zealand’s only marathon rally, the Silver Fern Rally, when it gets underway on November 14.

Judd is highly respected around New Zealand as both a driver and co-driver, with achievements including contesting the Production World Rally Championship last year as co-driver to Mark Tapper.

The Christchurch Driver, along with co-driver Mark Smith, will contest the week-long rally in a Ford Escort RS1800 built to full classic specifications. The car has a strong history, winning the 1998 edition of the prestigious Otago Classic Rally as well as the 1999 Club Rally championship, which was later known as Rally Xtreme. After a crash at a classic race meeting in 2000, the car has been re-shelled across the last ten years and is ready for the demands of the Silver Fern.

Judd has been seeded second amongst an international field, just behind South African driver Geoff Bell in a similar car and is widely regarded as New Zealand’s best hope to win the Jim Clark Trophy for the first ‘period’ classic car home.

The Silver Fern Rally has run on three previous occasions with Judd having competed each time. After co-driving in 1990 and again in 2006 for Englishman Grant Shand, Judd got behind the wheel in 2008 in a similar car and was inside the top three on each of the five trouble-free days, however problems on the other three days meant the end result was 23rd overall.

The epay Silver Fern Rally gets underway on November 14, running for seven days with six stages on each day. Day one sees crews start the rally in Christchurch with a loop before returning for an overnight halt. The following day, crews will travel onto Timaru one night, then further south to Dunedin on day three.

Day Four, which loops around Dunedin, has the longest distance of any day and two of the three longest stages of the event at 100.75km and 50.49 for a day total of nearly 250 competitive kilometres. Day five sees the crews head south to Invercargill, then north to Alexandra on Day six. The seventh and final day will lead the remaining teams to the Queenstown finish and the crews who get there will have traveled 1059km of special stages as well as 1850km of touring stages, where all road rules must be obeyed.

Judd’s 2010 Silver Fern campaign is backed by John Jones Steel, BNT, Fuchs Lubricants, VINZ Testing Stations, Waimate Pharmacy, Magnum Compliance Services, Balclutha Nissan, Canterbury Stoneguards, Import Part Specialists, Silvester V8 Performance, Garden City Helicopters and Windscreens Nationwide.

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