Hamilton father and son team, Gary and Troy Smith, have moved into the lead of both Historic Challenge Trophy sections, following the latest round of the 2011 Brian Green Properties NZ Rally Championship, held last weekend in the Wairarapa.
Driving his Ford Escort RS1800, Gary has jumped two places, overtaking previous series leader Marcus van Klink (Christchurch – Mazda RX7) and second placed Rob Wylie (Auckland – Nissan 240RS), while Troy also moves into the lead of the co-drivers championship.
Rally Wairarapa also saw the running of the Malcolm Stewart Memorial Rally, and the conclusion of an inter-island “Classic Challenge” which saw the Smith’s finish a close second on points to Hastings driver Ron Davey in another Ford Escort.

The Smith’s Rally team has again proven consistency pays off, and despite being beaten overall for the weekend by Davey, it was a third and a second combined with the second overall weekend points, that has seen them rise to the top.

The weekend wasn’t with-out its problems as the Smith’s Caltex Avalon / Te Rapa sponsored Ford Escort nudged a bank and bent a steering arm, losing valuable time.

Smith said “we just misjudged a corner, it looked clear across, unfortunately a low bank jumped out at us and we bent the wheel back, I thought we were going to roll, fortunately we didn’t and it was near the end of a stage just before service.”

“This rallying is a team effort, and thanks to my other son Adrian, who is the teams service manager, it was repaired within the time allowed and we were able continue” Smith added.

Van Klink is proving to be the fastest driver in the series, however a broken axle at the start of the 6th stage of the Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa meant he scored no points on day one, or overall, for the two day event.
So Smith leads the drivers series on 299 points, with Wylie close behind on 296 and van Klink 3rd on 251. Davey is 4th on 229, while Timaru Escort driver Carl Rabbidge is 5th on 164, followed by Ray Wilson’s Audi Quattro on 90.

Smith said following the event “this is my first ever championship lead as a driver, so we just need to keep the momentum going at the next round of the series” the International Rally of Whangarei in July.

Photo by Geoff Ridder


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