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This year’s Rally of the North, which will be supported by Tanoa Hotels in Paihia, will honour some legends of the event while moving onto roads scarcely used since the turn of the millennium.

The event, which will run on October 13, will see legends of the sport honoured as each of the eight special stages had been named in recognition of the eight most recent winners of the event.

That will see the event kicking off with a 22km blast known as Herbert, after four-time national rally champion Bruce Herbert, before honouring 2003 winner Rex Vizible, Andrew Hawkeswood, the only two time winner under the current organisation with wins in 2004 and 2005, and 2006 event winner Stewart Taylor, all before lunch.

Those four stages will run south-west of Paihia, host city for the event, before returning to the tourist-friendly town for a lunch-time service. The afternoon sees yet more action this time to the north-west of the town, kicking off with Jones in recognition of Kingsley Jones, 2007 event winner.

2008 saw the event take a break but competitors won’t with stage six named Malley, after 2009 winner Patrick Malley, whose parents Dermott and Linzi are amongst the early entries for this year’s event, before the youngest winner on the list, at the time in 2010, Ben Jagger was just 20 years old when he added his name to the honours list along with naming rights to stage seven.

The final stage goes to defending Rally of the North champion, Dylan Turner, who will also sponsor the stage through his LJ Hooker Manurewa business. Other stage sponsors include Team Ralliart New Zealand (stage two, Vizible) and Kumho Tyres (Stage four, Taylor).

Simon Bell, spokesman for the event, explains the unique move to name stages after past winners.

“This event has an awesome history and following so we decided to recognize that and when you go through our list of winners that have been recognised with stage names, there are at least six national rally championships at various levels. But then if you further back, names like Neil Allport, Marty Roestenburg and Stumpy Holmes on the winners list all add to the fantastic history of this very popular event.”

“We’ve also changed the roads up a fair bit, just to give residents a bit of a break because without their consent, we wouldn’t have a rally. So instead of the route that we have used the last few years with stages travelling up as fair as Kaitaia, we have gone to some fairly new territory that hasn’t been used for close to ten years south of Paihia in the morning.

“While the stages in the afternoon are in more familiar territory north of Paihia, if they have been used recently we have changed the direction, which keeps the event fresh and stops newcomers being at a disadvantage. Although we have gone away from classics like Oramahoe, there’s a fantastic mix of stages that are sure to leave everyone smiling,” he adds.

Rally of the North, supported by Tanoa Hotel in Paihia, runs on Saturday 13 October based from Paihia. Crews will tackle a total of 185.9km of flat out racing on closed roads between leaving the start at 7am and returning for the finish just after 5.30pm.

Press Release by BB Media

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