Thu, 9 Jul 2020 - International Rally of Whangarei cancelled for 2020

Facing continual border uncertainty at being able to run an international event for 2020, organisers Rally New Zealand have opted to cancel this year’s International Rally of Whangarei.

Originally scheduled to run 8 – 10 May as a combined FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) event, it was postponed just prior to New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown.

With much of the planning in place organisers were hopeful a new date could be set once border measures allowed for international travellers.

Chairman of the organising committee Mr Willard Martin said the decision was inevitable given the growing uncertainty around offshore travel.

“As optimistic as we all have been, including the supporting Whangarei District Council, it was clear any decision we made to run would be met with unknown challenges – particularly around the international border control,” he commented.

“Being an international event, a big reason the Whangarei District Council is so supportive is the coverage they get on the world stage and economic benefit from having offshore guests in the region.

“We hoped the Trans-Tasman bubble may have opened some opportunity to bring new people to the region however that is clearly a long way off from happening.”

A provisional date of 14 to 16 May 2021 has been set as a return to action on the roads around the Whangarei region.

Focus now shifts to the Rally New Zealand organised double-header event planned for November.

The City of Auckland Rally will be held on Saturday 14 November and include stages in the Kaipara Hills, Puhoi and Riverhead Forest before its conclusion at the purpose-built road ‘Jack’s Ridge’ in Whitford.

On Sunday 15 November Jack’s Ridge will be used as a standalone rally sprint.

Tue, 7 Jul 2020 - 2021 New Zealand Rally Championship calendar taking shape

The first four events of the 2021 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship have been confirmed and will be a replica of what was planned for the 2020 season.

The season will start with the Otago Rally on April 16-18 before heading north to the International Rally of Whangarei on May 14-16. Rally South Canterbury will run June 19 while Rally Hawke’s Bay will follow on July 24.

The fifth and/or sixth rounds of the championship will be confirmed at a later date once the international calendar, including whether the FIA World Rally Championship will return to New Zealand shores, is locked in place.

The four confirmed events were set to be the first four rounds of this year before the Covid-19 pandemic set in and a decision was made to postpone the 2020 season.

Championship coordinator Blair Bartels is delighted to lock in some dates this early in the year.

“We are really pleased to be able to give competitors and fans some certainty around next year’s calendar,” Bartels said.

“There was a lot of positive feedback about what the 2020 calendar looked like and that has helped shape the 2021 calendar. 

“We know there is a lot of anticipation already around next year’s championship and we are excited to be able to announce the first part of the championship to allow organisers and competitors to start detailed planning.

“It hurt not to have a championship in 2020 but it was the right decision for the sport and our local communities. We want to thank everyone in the rallying community for their ongoing support during this tough time.

” MotorSport New Zealand’s Acting CEO Elton Goonan was excited to see the calendar was already taking shape.

“It’s great that Rally New Zealand has been so proactive in getting the 2021 season lined up. The level of interest shown is really exciting to see and shows that the crews are as keen as ever to be involved in the 2021 New Zealand Rally Championship,” said Goonan.

“2020 was shaping up to be an incredible year until we were forced to postpone the championship so we’re very pleased to see that strength and momentum carry forward into 2021.”

As previously indicated long-time championship sponsor Brian Green Property Group will return as the naming right sponsor of the championship.

“We are extremely grateful for Greenie’s ongoing support of our championship,” Bartels added. “The sport is very lucky to have someone support it like Brian has and we want to acknowledge what he has done for rallying,” added Bartels

2021 Brian Green Property Group NZRC Calendar:

  • Otago Rally - April 16-18 
  • International Rally of Whangarei - May 14-16
  • Rally South Canterbury - June 19
  • Rally Hawke’s Bay - July 24
  • Round 5 (TBC)
  • Round 6 (TBC) ENDS/
Mon, 6 Jul 2020 - MotorSport New Zealand looks to future with new rally working group

A new rally working group involving Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon has been formed to support MotorSport New Zealand’s long-term plans for rally sport in this country.

The rally working group is the first of its kind within the structure of MotorSport New Zealand and will complement the activities already undertaken by MotorSport New Zealand’s Rally Advisory Commission which helps govern domestic rallying day-to-day. 

The five invited group members have been tasked with examining a range of initiatives to sustain and grow rallying in New Zealand. These include career development pathways for rally competitors and officials who wish to progress further in domestic and international competition, the increasing use of technology in rallying, financial aspects of event management for clubs and organisers, vehicle regulations and eligibility, and New Zealand’s position in the international rally scene.

Respected Rally Otago organiser Roger Oakley, of Dunedin, is the group’s coordinator. Group members include Cromwell-based Paddon who brings his wealth of international experience, Aucklander Blair Bartels who has been on the organising committee for the New Zealand Rally Championship since 2011, long-time competitor and Rally Advisory Commission member Tony McConachy, of Palmerston North, and Christchurch’s Rocky Hudson who is a rally driver, co-driver and licenced Competitor Relations Officer (CRO).

“New Zealand has a proud history of rallying dating back more than 50 years, and we want to continue to build on the momentum achieved over recent years with the New Zealand Rally Championship and the dozens of well-supported regional and club events that take place each year,” says Wayne Christie, President of MotorSport New Zealand.

“We’ve initiated the rally working group to help draw on a wider pool of experience and ideas to support the work of our Rally Advisory Commission which has overseen projects such as the successful introduction of the AP4 regulations.

“The goal is to bring together all these ideas and recommendations on how we can best position rallying in New Zealand for the next five years and beyond.”

Paddon says: “I’m incredibly passionate about motorsport and rallying in New Zealand. I have always said, it’s not just a sport for me, it’s my life. But motorsport in general is at crossroads all around the world. We need to be proactive and bring fresh thinking for the next 5-10 year timeframe. We need to see more younger people involved, but not just drivers. Organisers, engineers, volunteers etc. So that’s why growing the sport is so much more than just the cars and drivers, it’s about the whole picture. 

“The MotorSport New Zealand rally working group allows the five of us to collectively break down every aspect of the sport and see where opportunities exist. We have a unique chance in New Zealand to lead ideas and innovation so let’s start working now towards that.”

Christie adds: “With such a wide spectrum of tasks to review, we are looking for the rally working group to help us better understand the future opportunities and challenges for our vibrant rally community. The working group will consult with a wide range of stakeholders before reporting back to the MotorSport New Zealand board at the end of 2020.”

Competitors, officials, club organisers and other rally community stakeholders are invited to contribute their ideas, feedback and suggestions on the future of rallying in New Zealand by emailing the rally working group:

Mon, 6 Jul 2020 - Motorsport is back – and so is Targa event specialist Leigh Hopper

What a difference a year makes. Over the weekend just passed (July 04/05) tarmac rally specialist Leigh Hopper and co-driver Michael Goudie (Subaru Impreza WRX) dominated this year’s re-scheduled two-day Targa Hawke’s Bay tarmac motor rally event, winning nine out of the ten special stages to cross the finish line in Havelock North on Sunday afternoon with an advantage of over three minutes over second placed local pairing Ivan Knauf and Trevor Corbin, also in a Subaru Impreza WRX.

Local farmers Knauf and Corbin were the only pairing to take a stage win (albeit by just five seconds) off Hopper and Goudie - through the long (29.07km), fast Porangahau run from Wallingford to Wimbledon in the far south-east of the province just before the lunch time service stop at Dannevirke.

But Hopper made up that deficit – and more – with the only sub-15 minute run home through the final 36.7km stage of the day from Tod Rd on the outskirts of Waipawa and on down the roller-coaster run along Middle Road to the ceremonial finishing arch in downtown Havelock North.

Not only were Hopper and co-driver Goudie comfortably (28.7 seconds) quicker than stage runners-up, four-time former New Zealand gravel rally champion Bruce Herbert and his codriver Bevan Parker (Mitsubishi Evo), the winning pair managed to put over three-quarters of a minute (47.5s)  on Knauf and Corbin who ended up fourth quickest.

Which, of course was a very different outcome – for Hopper and Goudie anyway - in the three-day Targa Hawke’s Bay event last year. Then, the pair won 10 stages but ended up classified 38th of 41 official finishers thanks to an engine throttle body issue on the first day, then rolled out of the event for good on the final day.

The surprise early demise of two of his usual competitors (David Rogers and co-driver Shane Reynolds to a trip off-road in Rogers’ Mitsubishi Evo 10 and Jason Gill and his co-driver Malcom Read to a mechanical issue with Gill’ new VW Polo R, both in only the second stage) made Hopper and Goudie’s first day this year a little easier.

However, local pair Ivan Knauf and Trevor Corbin were quick to take up the challenge, ending up second behind the flying Hopper and Goudie in five of the ten stages to edge out Bruce Herbert and Bevan Parker for second place at the end of the first day by just over half a minute (0:36.2 seconds), and in the event overall by close to a minute (0.52.0 seconds).

In fourth place - at the end of both days as it turned out - was former Targa NZ winner Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant from Dunedin in the first of the 2WD cars home, a current model Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Dippie admitted at the lunch break on Saturday that he had been taking it easy in the single-digit temperatures and cold, slippery road surfaces on the morning stages but started to make up time as the winter sun beamed down in the afternoon ones, ending his day just 17 seconds behind the 4WD Mitsubishi of Herbert and Parker.

Dippie and Grant had another up and down run on the second day however, and by the time they got back to Havelock North the advantage Herbert and Parker had over them on Saturday night had increased to 52.2s.

There was very little, meanwhile, in it between the BMW pairings of Aucklanders Jeremy Friar and Katrina Renshaw (BMW 330ti), their Hamilton-based alter-egos Mike Tubbs and Brook Walden (BMW M2), and Christchurch-based interlopers Andrew Oakley and Steve Hutchings (Audi RS5).

Friar and Oakley actually dead-heated for fourth quickest time through the first stage of the day on Sunday morning  (the 20.4 km Waimarama one just outside Havelock North) and from that point on the Audi man was either quicker than either or both BMWs or splitting them to end up seventh overall, just over a minute behind fifth placed Friar and Renshaw but just 31.9 seconds shy of Tubbs and Walden in sixth. 

Impressing in eighth place meanwhile were the event’s first husband and wife pairing of Troy and Kyla Twomey in their contemporary (BMW-built) MINI Cooper S, while in ninth place was the first father/son combination of Havelock North locals Terry and Frank May in their BMW 330ci.

Keeping it in the family, meanwhile were another husband and wife pair, Chris and Francesca Lewis from Waiheke Island, rounding out the top ten in their Toyota GT86. 

Despite issues on the final day which saw him lose time on the penultimate stage, Christchurch man Tony Gosling and his co-driver Sarah Brennan managed to hang on in until the end and claim 11th place in Gosling’s Ford Escort RS1800.

There were some new faces on the top step of the Classic 2WD podium this time, with dynamic Nelson duo Bruce Farley and Glen Warner (BMW E30) rounding up the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 of Mark McCaughan and Lindsay Lyons on the final stage of the event to take Classic 2WD class honours.

Early on in the event it looked like the Mazda RX7 FD3 of Targa original Anton Tallott and co-driver David Connell had Class 2 (for cars 2001cc to 3400cc) wrapped up. However an issue in the final stage of the first day saw them slip back to third.

The battle for Class 1 honours (for classic 2WD cars up to 2000cc) was also anyone’s until late in the piece when early leaders Tim McIvor and co-driver Kerry Sloan (Ford Escort Mk 2) managed to regain the advantage over fellow Escort pair Steven and Shane Blackley 

The rescheduled Targa Hawke’s Bay tarmac motor rally was the first major New Zealand motorsport event run here since the COVID-19 Lockdown was lifted

The two-day event was originally scheduled to run over the May 16-17 weekend. 

Targa New Zealand events are organised by the Ultimate Rally Group with the support of sponsors, Chicane Racewear, Global Security, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Race4Life Trust, Racetech, TrackIt, Vital and Writeraze.

For more information go to or check out the Targa NZ page on Facebook.


Fri, 19 Jun 2020 - North Island rally calendar confirmed for remainder of 2020

Thanks to the efforts of motorsport officials and club volunteers, a series of club rallies are now scheduled to take place around the North Island during the remainder of 2020. 

Following the postponement of the 2020 New Zealand Rally Championship due to COVID-19, clubs up and down the country have worked together to ensure a series of high-quality events are ready for competitors to enjoy.

The calendar incorporates two test days, one in June and another in July, to help competitors get ready, as well as traditional multi-stage rallies and exciting shorter rallysprint formats in several North Island locations.

“We are really excited to be able to announce this series of North Island rally events,” said Elton Goonan, Acting CEO of MotorSport New Zealand.

“Rallying is an important part of our sport, particularly over the winter months and having these events, coupled with the recently announced South Island rally events, it provides a real shot in the arm for rallying and allows competitors to get back in motion. I’m looking forward to seeing these fields fill up quickly as the competitors support the organising clubs.

“I want to thank David Loughlin, our Rally Commission Chair, and all the clubs who have been working together over the past month for the betterment of the sport. I wish them all the best for a successful series of events.”

The North Island calendar compliments the eight-event calendar announced by South Island clubs in May.

2020 North Island Rally Calendar:

  • Jun 21      Rally Test Day - Rallydrive NZ Maramarua
  • Jul TBC    Rally Test Day - Te Matai Motorsport TECT Park
  • Aug 2        Maramarua Rallysprint - South Auckland Car Club
  • Aug 23      Hoddle Rd Rallysprint - Hamilton Car Club 
  • Sep 6        Maramarua Clubmans Rally - Pukekohe Car Club
  • Sep 20      Piakonui Rd Rallysprint - Thames Valley Car Club
  • Oct 18       Rally of the Bay - Motorsport Bay of Plenty
  • Oct 25       James Allen Rallysprint - South Auckland Car Club      
  • Nov 14       City of Auckland Rally - Rally New Zealand
  • Nov 15       Jack’s Ridge Rallysprint - Rally New Zealand 
  • Dec 6         Waikato Clubmans Rally - Hamilton Car Club   ENDS  
Wed, 17 Jun 2020 - City of Auckland Rally and Battle of Jack's Ridge announced

Rally New Zealand organisers have today announced two exciting new events, the City of Auckland Rally and the Battle of Jack’s Ridge to be staged in November.

The event will comprise the stages that were planned for the World Rally Championship event both north and east of the city.

The City of Auckland Rally will be held on Saturday 14 November and include stages in the Kaipara Hills, Puhoi and Riverhead Forest before its conclusion at the purpose-built road “Jack’s Ridge” in Whitford.

The Battle of Jack’s Ridge will be a standalone rally sprint on Sunday 15 November which will feature an open category rally sprint over a section of the 6.2km Jack’s Ridge stage.

“Clearly we had planned to spotlight these stages at the FIA World Rally Championship event in September,” said Rally New Zealand Chairman, Peter Johnston.

“We were so pleased with the route that was coming together for Rally New Zealand, and now we want to share the Auckland-based stages with rally drivers and our fans.  

“There are some incredible rally stages north and west of the city which are fan-friendly and on Auckland’s door step.”

The jewel in the crown is Jack’s Ridge, which has been purpose-built by well-known rally driver Andrew Hawkeswood. It is planned to be used as the power stage for Rally New Zealand.

“Jack’s Ridge is unlike anything seen before in the history of New Zealand rallying.  The stage is exciting and highly technical,  incredibly spectator friendly and is easily accessible for fans.”

“It’s something that’s been bubbling away for a little while, but the World Rally Championship returning was the perfect motivation to make it happen. Building Jack’s Ridge was all about using the lay of the land to create a stage that drivers would love combined with safe and prime spectating opportunities,” said Hawkeswood.

The two events follow on from the recent cancellation of Rally New Zealand from the 2020 World Rally Championship calendar, with organisers remaining optimistic that these iconic roads will feature in the 2021 WRC schedule.

We are taking this opportunity to shakedown Jack’s Ridge and the stages around Auckland to showcase our preparedness for hosting the 2021 WRC event” said Johnston.

“The FIA and WRC Promoter are aware that we have invested significantly into the return of Rally New Zealand.

“We believe when fans get the chance to check out Jack’s Ridge, they will get a sense of the excitement and magnitude of hosting the World Rally Championship which we hope will be included on the 2021 calendar.”

For more information see or or contact Merran Brockie-David.
Merran Brockie-David
Rally New Zealand
+64 21 2725596

Fri, 5 Jun 2020 - Paddon puts AP4 rally car drive up as prize for online rally competition

Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon has teamed up with gamer Kyle Robertson and designer Jack Hintz to create the Hyundai NZ global online rally series for challengers all over the world.

A drive in Paddon’s actual rally car, the Hyundai i20 AP4, plus a cash prize of $NZ 500 are up for grabs for the overall champion (with the test drive limited to a New Zealand or Australian participant.) A swag of other prizes like Paddon Rallysport merchandise and WinmaX brakes are ready for the teams’ champions, spot prizes and the WinmaX ‘best moment’ winner.

The four round series utilises the DiRT Rally 2.0 game which can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and personal computers. Starting at a virtual running of Rally USA on 12 June, the series heads to Europe for round two in late June with a two-leg virtual rally using rally stages in Finland and Poland. In July, the third event will be played in Spain and the series wraps up with a simulated running of Rally New Zealand in August. The series utilises R5 4WD cars and includes both an individual competition and a teams’ competition, with teams required to register by 10 June to be eligible. 

Paddon joins Robertson and Hintz as competitors in the online rally series.

“It’s been great to see online simulation racing grow in popularity in recent months,” says Paddon from Paddon Rallysport’s base at Highlands in Cromwell. “It’s a great way to interact with new and existing motorsport fans, and a particularly good way to get some new young people involved. 

“Together with Hyundai New Zealand, we thought there was a great opportunity to put together a small series where you can win a drive in our actual rally car – a world first for a rally game. Teaming up with Kyle and Jack, we have set up the Hyundai NZ global online rally series to make sure it’s enjoyable and rewarding for all players, no matter their level or part of the world.”

Of his own chances in the virtual rally competition, Paddon says: “Let’s just say I find driving a simulator harder than the real car, so plenty of people will be able to beat me! But it’s hugely enjoyable and I’m looking forward to it.”

Ashburton-based Kyle Robertson will compete in the teams’ competition with Jack Hintz and three other friends. 

“As an organiser and competitor, I’m excited about the series getting underway. Hayden, Jack and I have had a lot to work through in a short space of time, and I think adding teams’ championship brings an exciting new dimension to this kind of eSport. Jack and I have recruited a great team and we’ll be taking the fight to the Paddon Rallysport team! In earlier events, we’ve seen incredibly close stage times between our teams’ drivers and especially between me, Hayden and Jack. There’s definitely a battle for bragging rights ahead!”

Jack Hintz, of Inglewood, adds: “It has been amazing to see how sim racing has flourished during these tough times we have been facing. This has been an exciting project to work on with an incredible opportunity up for grabs thanks to Hayden, Hyundai New Zealand and his sponsors. I’m looking forward to seeing the Hyundai NZ global online rally series take off and us all enjoying some good fun racing in these coming months.”

The New Zealand companies who back Paddon Rallysport will gain considerable brand awareness through the ongoing social media coverage of the virtual rally series. Hyundai New Zealand feature as the ‘naming rights sponsor’ and Z Energy, Gravity Internet, YES Power and Bailey Caravans and Motorhomes feature as ‘event sponsors’. WinmaX has put up sets of brake pads as prizes and bonus points are to be awarded to the fastest three drivers on each event’s specified ‘Ben Nevis Station power stage’.

Gamers are invited to share their stories from each rally on the Hyundai NZ Global Rally Series Facebook page, and encouraged to use #PaddonRallyOnline when posting on social media.

Full details and points-tables for the Hyundai NZ Global Rally Series can be found on the Paddon Rallysport website


Thu, 4 Jun 2020 - Online Rally Indonesia bypasses COVID-19 red tape

As measures to control COVID-19 continue globally, rally competitors and gaming aficionados are able to indulge with the Online Rally Indonesia version being run this weekend 6-7 June 2020.
The third of five toward a virtual 2020 title; the Digital APRC has reignited past memories of gallant competition spanning the Asia-Pacific continent for up-coming competitors.
Indonesia deepens the diversity of conditions competitors of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship face and the itinerary set for this weekend’s virtual version will shadow the 2019 event.
While the originally scheduled running for the actual event is on the calendar for 25-26 July the online version will again test gamers and drivers at a new level.

Starting just before midnight Friday 5 June NZST (noon 5 June GMT) the first leg totals 50km of competition broken into six special stages. A brief service after every second stage gives competitors a chance to assess their car setup to suit the changeable conditions Indonesia regularly delivers. Competitors have until midnight Saturday (noon Saturday GMT) to finish the leg, with the Sunday leg again running from midnight to midnight.
A short second day of 32km covers four special stages with a service break mid-way. Varying conditions will again test competitor’s skill and experience at making suitable setup and tyre choices.
Driven by the FIA #RaceAtHome initiative the Digital APRC series has become blisteringly competitive. Currently led by Australia’s Luca Giacomin following two round wins, Japan’s Ranofka sits a close second while New Zealand’s Matt Summerfield hovers in the shadows, placed third.
Along with the event title and series points up for grabs, the APRC are providing prizemoney for the ‘Best Moment’ where submitted footage from competitors is judged on the Facebook page for the most comments.
Entry to the event and series is free with registration and competition from the event link
Series regulations and details can be found at

Recent Results
1New ZealandLeigh Hopper1:57:35.1
2New ZealandIvan Knauf+3:06.9
3New ZealandBruce Herbert+3:58.9
4New ZealandMartin Dippie+4:51.1
5New ZealandJeremy Friar+6:19.7
6New ZealandMike Tubbs+6:52.9
7New ZealandAndrew Oakley+7:24.8
8New ZealandTroy Twomey+11:05.5
9New ZealandTerry May+13:23.5
10New ZealandChristopher Lewis+14:17.7
11New ZealandTony Gosling+14:50.6
12New ZealandGraeme Drummond+14:59.6
13New ZealandBruce Farley+15:46.6
14New ZealandMark McCaughan+16:05.6
15New ZealandAnton Tallott+17:49.2
16New ZealandBob Boniface+18:29.7
17New ZealandTim McIver+19:13.2
18New ZealandSteven Blackley+20:17.8
19New ZealandJohn Thomson+21:01.3
20New ZealandMichael O'Donnell+21:21.4
2020 Points
1New ZealandJosh Marston30
2New ZealandJob Quantock26
3New ZealandMarcus Van Klink23
4New ZealandSean Haggarty20
5New ZealandGaret Thomas18
6New ZealandJohn Giltrap17
7New ZealandRobbie Stokes16
8New ZealandAndy Martin15
9New ZealandTony Gosling14
10New ZealandDave Ollis13
11New ZealandMark Parsons12
12New ZealandDavid Birkett11
13New ZealandBrian Green10
14New ZealandStephen Gill9
15New ZealandBrendon Wadsworth8
16New ZealandDean Schroder7
17New ZealandNick Marston6
18New ZealandCraig Cormack5
19New ZealandPaul Fraser4
20New ZealandHarri Judd3
1New ZealandIvan Knauf180
2New ZealandJeremy Friar172
3New ZealandMark McCaughan164
4New ZealandAndrew Oakley160
4New ZealandMike Tubbs160
6New ZealandLeigh Hopper156
7New ZealandTroy Twomey150
8New ZealandPatrick O'Donnell143
8New ZealandBob Boniface143
10New ZealandTerry May142
10New ZealandAnton Tallott142
12New ZealandDavid O'Neill131
13New ZealandDavid Rogers128
14New ZealandRobert Webster119
15New ZealandHaydn Mackenzie90
15New ZealandMartin Dippie90
15New ZealandAnthony Butler90
18New ZealandBruce Herbert82
19New ZealandBruce Farley80
19New ZealandTim McIver80