Champion co-driver enters Catlins Coast Rally

The first entry received for this year’s Catlins Coast Rally due to be held on Saturday 8 August was that of former champion co-driver, Garry Cowan.

Cowan fashioned an outstanding record as a co-driver over many years at the very highest levels, winning the New Zealand Rally Championship co-driver title in both 2004 and 2005. He sat beside many of New Zealand’s best, including Stu Warren, Brian Stokes, Stumpy Holmes, Chris West and Reece Jones among others. He actually won first time out in the co-drivers seat alongside Warren. He also competed in World Rally Championship events including the Rally of Great Britain and the Tour De Corse Rallye De France, while he was also a co-driver for Rhys Millen in America and contested various Asia-Pacific Championship events. He was also part of the first kiwi crew home in the Rally Of New Zealand on one occasion. “I’m still good mates with everyone I drove with, we keep in touch. The overseas stuff was pretty cool,” says Cowan.

Cowan is a Southlander, formerly of Riverton and then Invercargill. About eleven years ago he relocated to Canterbury, the home of partner Fiona. While he made his mark in rallying as a co-driver he will be behind the wheel at Catlins. “I used to have my own car but I spent more time off the road than on it. That was when I started co-driving.”

However he is back behind the wheel nowadays and it is all about fun. “After the NZ Rally Championship years and the drama, now it is purely for fun. It doesn’t matter where we come although of course you like to do well. I just want to compete with no stress. Catlins is a rally I have always wanted to do and Roger Laird (of the Eastern Southland Car Club who organise the event) has always been good to us. It will be quite cool to head south and see a lot of people I haven’t seen for a long time.”

The car Cowan brings to the event is also very special. “It was built by Toyota New Zealand for Paul Adams. It was then sold to Ross Meekings who made it famous. It had a couple of deep south owners and I think I am the longest standing owner having had it for between 6-8 years. I’ve really only used it for sprints and local rallies here in Canterbury.”

This year’s Catlins Coast Rally begins at Owaka Motors at 9am on Saturday 8 August and traverses nine Special Stages before the finish at the Riverside Reserve in Balclutha at 3.41pm. The event is Round 4 of the Clearwater Painting Mainland Rally Championship and Round 2 of the Laird Motorsport Southern Rally Series. .

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