Rookie drivers to take on Rally of the North
- 26th September 2012, 10:08am
When the 2012 edition of Rally of the North gets underway in Paihia on October 13, amongst the field will be a few first-time rally drivers.
Amongst drivers lining up for their first rally will be Kerikeri resident Neil Simpson, driving his Toyota Corolla. Simpson joined the Northland Car Club a couple of years ago after years of following the sport, but after competing in multiple club hillclimbs, has chosen to make the step up to a full day rally for the first time.
“Doing a hillclimb only gives you a few short runs, in a rally it’s all day so there is heaps more seat time. Even when you aren’t doing special stages, there is making sure you turn up on time and navigation,” says Simpson, who already admits to striking a few pre-event nerves still almost three weeks from the event.
The format for the event sees more than 180km of flat out special stages with a comparatively low 260km of touring stages where competitors must obey all road rules. In a buck against recent trends, the event also sees service parks at the end of most stages, rather than one central service park, allowing service crews to also embrace the adventure of rallying. It is factors like this that event spokesman Simon Bell believes attracts both newcomers and experienced competitors alike.
“Rallying is all about an adventure and this event is a real adventure, not just for the competitors but the service crew as well,” says Bell, who will also compete in the event. “The stage mileage is quite high, but I think that adds to this event by making it a real challenge. By the time you get to the end, you know you’ve done a solid days work behind the wheel.”
“For whatever reason, this event also has a fantastic friendly atmosphere about it which is perhaps another reason, along with the fantastic roads of the far north, that new competitors choose to compete in our event.”
Rally of the North, which is supported by Tanoa Hotel in Paihia, runs on Saturday 13 October. Based from the tourist town of Paihia, the event covers four stages in the morning to the south-west before returning to the host city for a lunch-time service. A further four stages to the North of Paihia rounds out the afternoon before returning to the event finish, back in Paihia, after more than 10 hours on the road.
As well as support from Tanoa Hotel in Paihia, Rally of the North receives support from stage sponsors MRT Construction Ltd, Team Ralliart NZ, Rally Drive NZ and LJ Hooker Manurewa.
Press Release by BB Media
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