Special trophy for Classic Winner at Rally Whangarei
Rally New Zealand will create a very special link to the past for Classic Rally competitors at the 2016 International Rally of Whangarei. The Classic category winning team will be presented annually with the original Rally New Zealand Motogard Trophy.
The Motogard trophy was presented to the winner of Rally New Zealand from 1978 through to 1982 and is engraved with several famous names from world rallying including Finnish World Rally Champions Hannu Mikkola and Timo Salonen, the late Swedish World Champion Bjorn Waldegard , 1978 Rally New Zealand winner Englishman Russell Brookes, and the Kiwi pair of Jim Donald and Kevin Lancaster who secured victory in 1981.
Event Chairman Willard Martin says the International Rally of Whangarei wanted to do something special to recognise the classic entrants at the event and the Motogard trophy provided the perfect fit.
“Rally New Zealand has a rich heritage in this country and that is demonstrated by the number of classic rally cars that compete today. Drivers and fans have great memories of cars and drivers from the 1970’s and 80’s. To be able to link that era with today by presenting the Classic winner this trophy bearing names of the rally stars who made that period famous is something very special,” comments Martin.
Cars eligible for the Motogard trophy will be any classic rallycar entered in the National section of the International Rally of Whangarei including those registered for the New Zealand Rally Championship, with the trophy to be awarded on an annual rotating basis to the highest placed Classic in the Rally New Zealand run International event. “We are hoping to see a great entry of classic cars at the event representing a very special era of rallying history. There are some fantastic classic rally cars around New Zealand including BDA Escorts, Mazda Rotaries and even a few Group B style cars.”
The Classic division will be just one of the draw cards at the 2016 International Rally of Whangarei which will again host the opening round of the 2016 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.
“We will have the latest new generation rally machinery battling for international glory right through to the spectacular classic rally cars that now have this great trophy at stake, so spectators are in for a real show,” states Martin.
The 2016 International Rally of Whangarei will be based at the Toll Stadium in Whangarei and commences with two runs of a night time Super Special Stage in the centre of Whangarei on Friday 29th April. A further 14 special stages on fast cambered gravel roads will be completed covering 270 kilometres of competitive driving before the victory celebrations take place on Sunday afternoon 1st May.
Past and present: Michelle Mouton from France in the works Audi Quattro during the 1982 Motogard Rally New Zealand and Kaiapoi’s Marcus Van Klink’s Mazda RX7, Classic Category winner 2015 International Rally of Whangarei. Photos: Geoff Ridder.