New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words and pho­tos: Steve Ritchie

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.

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