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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Silver Fern Rally: Four past national champions signed up.

With the New Zealand´s Silver Fern Rally’s 1500 km October event, still eight months away, organisers have received a welcome confidence boost, with more than 50 teams having lodged their early-bird entry reservations, by the January 31st deadline.

A pleased event chairman, Hamilton’s Gary Smith said, "Our early-bird entry reservation incentives, of reduced fees, longer payment options and better starting positions have obviously appealed to these teams". Smith expects many more to enter "now that they can see who the competition is". Regular entires for the event don’t close until September. Among those early bird entry reservations received, are four past New Zealand National Rally Champions in Paul Adams, Blair Robson, Joe McAndrew, and Brian Stokes.

35 years ago, the winner of the 1970 Silver Fern Rally, then driving a BMW 2002, was Albany’s Paul Adams. Adams went on to win the NZ Rally Championship series in 1979 driving a MKII Ford Escort RS 1800. Adams says he is looking forward to the rally, but has yet to nominate the vehicle he will use for the October 7th - 14th event.

During the late 1970’s Aucklander Blair Robson was part of the highly successful Masport Escort Team, winning two National Championship crowns, firstly in 1974 (in the inaugural series) in a MKI Ford Escort RS1600 then in 1978 in a MKII Ford Escort RS1800.

Wellington’s Joe McAndrew is a triple NZ Champion, with wins in 1993, 1994 and 1996, all in Subaru Legacy 4 wheel drives. Lately McAndrew successes are in International Marathon Rallies, winning the 2004 London to Sydney event outright, driving a Honda Integra Type R. In May McAndrew is off to South America to compete in another Marathon Rally. McAndrew says "he has chosen the same 2 litre front wheel drive car to use in the NZ Silver Fern Rally here in October, because of its proven endurance and reliability on some of the worlds longest Marathon Rallies".

Kaiapoi’s Brian Stokes used Ford’s to win his two National Championship’s, firstly a MKII Escort RS1800 in 1985, and then a Sierra XR 4x4 in 1988, Stokes says he is "undecided at this time what type of car to choose in an attempt to win the event", but is looking forward to renewing some old rally rivalry.

Interestingly most of the early-bird competitors have chosen older style "classic" type vehicles in keeping with the event’s theme of "bringing back the days of old when rallying was an adventure, with a fun social side attached". These vehicles include 12 Ford Escort’s, a Capri, and various Toyota’s, Mazda’s, Datsun’s, and Vauxhall’s.

Full details of the Early Bird Entry Reservations, event details and regular updates, are available on the Marathon Rally Car Club’s website [ ].

2006/02/07 I 12:26 CET I Editor: smith

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