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NZ Silver Fern 2006: Australians among the early entries.

Early in the planning for the New Zealand Silver Fern Rally, organisers were confident of attracting a number of international teams to compete in their 6-1/2 day 1500 km, South Island based, Marathon Car Rally event. When the early bird entry reservations for the October 7th - 14th event closed on January 31st, there were five teams from Australia among the over 50 entered.

Rally chairman, Hamilton’s Gary Smith said "these guys are making the most of the early bird incentives, of reduced fees, longer payment options and better starting positions". Amongst those Australian early birds, are some of the more exotic vehicles entered. Christchurch born, Cairns based driver, Jim Wallace will be using his ex-tarmac BMW M3, while Melbourne’s Graham Alexander will compete in the Datsun 260Z, in which he placed 5th overall in last years 2005 Classic East African Safari Rally. Jim’s business takes him to Christchurch for two month’s each year and he is looking forward to competing "back home" on some of the most scenic rally roads in the South Island.

Husband and wife team Steve and Rachael Coad (Melbourne) are bringing their Holden Torana XU1, which will, as Steve puts it "be in pristine condition for the New Zealand event, but not by choice". They competed in the 2005 Classic East African Safari, late last year, but were forced to withdraw when Rachael took ill. Their next event in the bright orange Torana was to have been in South America, but the car is currently held up on a ship somewhere between Africa and Australia, and it is unlikely to make the forward shipping for that event.

That events loss will be the NZ Silver Fern Rally’s gain. Also from Melbourne, Peter Riseborough and Kaye Kilsby will be bringing their Nissan Sunny while Robert Elliott and Neville Barton have yet to nominate their vehicle. A number of other Australian teams are currently working on logistics and budgets, in the hope that they are able to compete here.

NZ Silver Fern Rally organisers are also hopeful of attracting several European based teams down-under to the event. Regular entires for the event are open now and do not close until September. Details of the Early Bird Entry Reservations, event information and regular updates, are available on the Marathon Rally Car Club’s website [ ].

2006/02/13 I 20:11 CET I Editor:

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