RALLY OF COROMANDEL
The NZ Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel 2018, with new sponsor Hyundai, took place on 18 August. With eight special stages (SS) over the day totalling 113km, there was no room for error, as there was limited time in which to make any repairs. Each stage was run twice, with the exception of the 309 Road, which was run three times before the cars headed back to their base in Whitianga for the Super Special stage. With Hayden Paddon never having won this event, he had something to prove. However, he almost lost out when he was hindered with turbo issues throughout the day. The day, and the championship, did go to him in the end when he managed to win by 18 seconds over Ben Hunt, who came home second and also secured second place in the championship with one round left.
Although there are numerous modern cars competing at the top level of the national championship, the categories are such that any age of rally car can compete. Thus, there were numerous Escorts, a Mitsubishi Starion, a Toyota Corolla DX, as well as a Hillman Avenger owned by Mike Vincent, the latter team lucky to come out unscathed when its car careered off the road and down a bank in SS3 — the 309 Road. The importance of reading all the pace notes came in useful, especially the instruction, “don’t go wide”.
Another of classic to be entered was a Vauxhall Viva HB GT driven and owned by Colin Tubb. Built by John Kershaw in 1991, it has been raced in various rallies and Targa events ever since. Its 2300cc singleoverhead camshaft (SOHC) motor produces approximately 150kw, and is said by Colin to have heaps of torque.
With just one car entered in the Historic class, Regan Ross only had to keep the Escort RS1800 on the road, which he did, while his co-driver, Samantha Gray, won the co-drivers championship for the class. Ross will have to wait until the final round next month to see if he can retain the Motogard trophy for the second consecutive year.
Matt Adams was another driver who managed to navigate the wet Coromandel roads nicely to pick up the Group A Challenge trophy yet again in the trusty Gallant VR4. He is now looking to move up a notch and has purchased an Evo IX RS with the intention of racing it at Raglan.
The Coromandel rally has some of the best roads in the country weaving and winding through the forestry and farmland, although this does make it difficult for the spectators (and cameramen!) to access. The next round in Raglan, on 13 October, should be more spectator-friendly and will utilize the worldfamous Whaanga Coast Road, as well as roads on the northern side of Raglan Harbour.