Mason begins fightback at Rally Hawkes Bay
- 25th July 2008, 8:44am
"Finding a bank in the wrong place" just one kilometre from the end of the longest stage of the previous round at Whangarei, has set the scene for yet another Richard & Sara Mason fightback at the fourth round of the New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC] - Rally Hawkes Bay - this weekend - July 26 & 27.
The 2005 & 2006 Champion has been competing in the NZRC for the last seven years and ironically for the sixth season in a row he finds his BNT Mason Motorsport Team with a zero points score at one of the rounds.
"That bank at Whangarei has certainly made the mid-season break far busier than we could have ever imagined, or wanted of course," said Sara. "Obtaining the replacement parts and moving the car around the lower North Island to get the work done has sure been pretty frantic at times. It's definitely been a 'Blessing in Disguise' that there was this gap [amount of time] between these two rounds..."
"It's taken a real extended team effort, right from Greg Horne at BNT with his ongoing support and mentoring, Subaru of New Zealand and we just can't speak highly enough of Grant Marris and his guys at Porirua Motor Body Repairs who have been absolutely awesome. The quality of their workmanship is just brilliant and it looks like a brand new car again," said a very appreciative Richard.
As if the work required to repair and rebuild their bright yellow Impreza wasn't enough, the Masterton-based team have also created another WRX virtually out of nothing, so Richard and Dwight [Dwight Scott of ScottSpeed Performance Engines] could continue their Development and Testing Programme unabated at the Waitomo Rally.
"Of course being without the car during this period looked like really mucking us up, but the Boys built a 'Bug Eye' [a version 7 Impreza] from a bare bodyshell in next to no time. Waitomo went very well, in 'ideal' atrocious weather conditions, and we got the chance to give our 'new' yellow one a run at a club hillclimb last weekend.
"So now it's really all up to us and a return to Wairoa on Saturday to take on some of the best Drivers' Stages in the championship. That Cricklewood [stage] really is one of my absolute favourites - and this year we get to do it twice!"
The Masons have an unprecedented success rate at this round. The first two of Richard's 13 NZRC wins were at Hawkes Bay - in 2002 & 2003. Sara won it for the first time in 2005 and then missed a repeat by just 0.4 of a second (the final stage being cancelled) in 2006. They were non-starters in 2007 as they were away at a round of the China Rally Championship.
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