Numerous New Zealanders contest Rally New Zealand 2010 alongside the world’s best drivers in May, and many of the locals will be competing in the Smartwood by Alpwood Possum Bourne Memorial Rally field, which runs behind the main Rally New Zealand field.
 
Organised by the Pukekohe Car Club, the Smartwood by Alpwood Possum Bourne Memorial Rally honours one of New Zealand’s greatest rally drivers, the late Peter ‘Possum’ Bourne. The club ran the rally for the first time in 2006; in 2007 it linked up with Rally New Zealand with the entrants contesting just one day of the WRC event. Competitors drive cars from the “clubman’s” category, a mix of older, but still competitive models.
 
In 2010, the Possum Bourne entrants have two options – to run all three days of Rally New Zealand or just one day event on Saturday 8 May. The one-day winner is awarded the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally Trophy. The past winners are Chris West (2009), Glenn Smith (2008), Ryan Burley (2007), and Mark Tapper (2006).
 
Chris Kitzen, Possum Bourne Memorial Rally chairman, says it’s exciting to be able to offer competitors the new option in 2010.
 
“Now the average club competitor can get out there and pit his time against the world’s best to see what they can do over the same stage, regardless of what they’re driving. Entry is open to any vehicle that meets the required MotorSport New Zealand safety and regulatory conditions for driving on our roads,” says Kitzen.
 
The three-day rally is counted as a round of the Vantage Aluminium New Zealand Rally Championship for competitors in the open 4WD class, such former NZRC champion Geof Argyle, from Feilding, with co-driver Phillip Deakin in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO.
 
The one-day trophy event is also counted as an NZRC round for two hotly-contested classes: Kiwi 2 and Historic Challenge Trophy. In addition some competitors are collecting points for round one of the Top Half Rally Series. Kiwi 2 competitors to note are young Rangiora driver Matt Summerfield in the diesel-powered Skoda Fabia and long-time two-wheel-drive competitor Reg Cook, from Clevedon, in his Nissan Micra.
 
The 37-strong entry list includes numerous older, retro Mazdas and Fords which are tipped to relive their halcyon era of world rally competition.
 
Well-known rallying personality Stumpy Holmes, of Waiuku, is one in a classic Mk II Ford Escort, although Holmes’ version is powered by a modern Ford engine.
 
This year Holmes has created a unique opportunity for three rally fans to experience all three days of Possum Bourne Memorial Rally from his co-driver’s seat.
 
Holmes, a former New Zealand class rally champion, is inviting rally fans to enter a competition being run on Radio Sport to be his co-driver for one of the three days of the Smartwood by Alpwood Possum Bourne Memorial Rally when he’s competing on the same stages as all the WRC and other Rally New Zealand competitors.
 
Interested candidates need to fill out an online competition form via the Radio Sport website (http://www.radiosport.co.nz/Competitions/Detail.aspx?id=2566), answering relevant questions to validate their knowledge before they can win the chance to co-drive for one of New Zealand’s most recognised rally drivers.
 
The three successful contestants then have to sit and pass the official MotorSport New Zealand competition licence before Holmes can allow them to fasten the seatbelts.
 
”We have a lot of spectators who have watched for a long time and probably wanted to get involved, so I thought what an opportunity to do an event with someone who is an enthusiast and make that dream come true,” says Holmes, who regularly competed against the late Possum Bourne.
 
“I won’t be mucking around – I’ll be putting it on for the crowd, backing it in to the corners and enjoying myself. So we’re not going to be first in the rally, but first to have fun.”
 
“I have nine years of experience over these roads and have a good memory of them. I just want the person to sit there and enjoy a whole day of going sideways in a Mk2 Escort with someone who has a reputation of having fun. But I’ll also to drive to get the finish.”
 
Competitors interested in entering the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally should visit the Competitors page of the Rally New Zealand website, http://www.rallynz.org.nz/competitors, to find the entry form and supplementary regulations. Late entries are accepted until 26 April.

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