Drivers braced for Gore Rally

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

There’s nothing like success, though it can cause problems – good problems, but problems nonetheless.

Take the Gore Rally, revived by the Eastern Southland Car Club to mark the club’s 50th anniversary in 2006, and which proved a raging success with drivers, officials and the local community.

So what’s the problem? Well the Eastern Southland club already had a successful rally that was popular with drivers, officials and the local community – the long-established Catlins Coast Rally on the spectaculasr east ocast of Souhtland. That left the club with two events.

The solution has been to run the events on alternate years. The club returned to the Catlins last year and this year goes to Eastern Southland and West Otago for another Gore Rally on Saturday, August 2. It’s the final South Island round, of the NZ Truth Rally Xtreme Qualifying Series.

It’s also round three of the Palmside New Zealand Mainland Rally Championship and the third and final round of the Laird Motorsport Southern Rally Series.

Paul Nicoll of Nelson heads the Rally Xtreme Championship and Cantabrians Jeff Judd and Deane Buist head the Mainland Series points.

Meanwhile the Southern Rally Series is poised for a great finale. Paul Cross leads by five points from fellow Gore driver Andrew Graves. Early leader Duncan McCrostie of Kaitangata is now third, one point ahead of Dunedin’s Mike Wellington.

The first car will leave from outside Gore’s Scenic Circle Croydon Hotel at 8am on August 2, and competitors will tackle nine special stages before the first car returns to the hotel at 5pm that evening. The 146 kilometres of special stages take competitors into areas such as Pukerau, Conical Hills, Rankleburn, Tapanui, Dusky Forest and back to a stage not used for 14 years, Beaumont.

The Gore Rally has a long and colourful history. It was the first special stage rally south of Christchurch when first the event was held in 1975 and it continued virtually every year until 1996. On occasion the club has held two major rallies each season – the Gore event plus the Wyndham Rally. 

The last winner, in 2006, was Derek Ayson of Clinton, in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4.

Pictured is the Beaumont stage under snow just a short time ago (photo by Laird Motorsport).