the first Otago Sports Car Club entry to finish, as well as the Alexandra Auto Electrical Class B trophy for two-wheel-drive cars (1301–1600cc). Regan Ross and Marcus van Klink of Kaikoura in their Ford Escort were sixth. In seventh it was 2015 New Zealand Rally champion Ben Hunt and Dylan Thomson in their Subaru Impreza.
Eighth place overall went to Barry Mills and Mark Allington in their Hillman Avenger, who were the first South Otago crew home and the winners of the Kerry O’donohue Memorial Trophy.
Ninth went to Canterbury’s David Clearwater and Stephen Lloyd in their Mitsubishi Evo IV, and 10th to the father and daughter team of David and Emma Quantock of Kaiapoi in their Mitsubishi Evo VII.
Steven Thomson and his crew from Mosgiel made a big effort to get his damaged Datsun Sunny coupé repaired in time for the rally and were rewarded with the Balclutha Auto Electrics Class A (0–1300cc) trophy.
Ben Hunt of Auckland won the Valley Coachlines Class D trophy for four-wheel-drive cars, and Murray Marshall of Kartangata won the Ritchies Holdings Transport Holding Class E for pre ’96 four-wheel-drive cars in his Subaru Impreza, coming twelfth overall. Current ESCC champion Brendon Mitchell of Winton, with Nigel Lawson, won the Flashclad Class F for 0–1700cc Classics in their Datsun 1600. Regan Ross and Marcus van Klink took the MV Motors Class G trophy for Classics 1701cc and over in their Ford Escort.
But not everyone did so well, despite the wake-up call delivered in the briefing for this year’s Catlins rally and executive committee member Craig Jessop’s tongue-in-cheek comment, “Watch out for the ice in stage two and probably all other stages!” The conditions were bound to take a toll, and Christchurch driver Dean Buist, seeded fourth, crashed his Ford Escort on ice in the last stage, while Shaun Mcmillan of Christchurch dropped out with mechanical trouble in his Subaru, also in the final stage.
What a rally for the ESCC, celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year. With a field just short of 90, including a large line-up of classic cars, this year’s rally was also notable for the high number of novices starting. Next year’s celebrates 50 years of rallying in New Zealand, with the South Island leg to start in Picton and travel down to Invercargill then back to Dunedin in time for the Otago Rally.
Indeed, this is big year for motor sport in the south, with both the ESCC and the Southland Sports Car Club celebrating 60 years.