It was back in 2011 that Rally Hawke’s Bay was part of the New Zealand Rally Championship. This week on Look Back in History Sunday, we turn back ten years to the fifth and final round of the 2011 NZ Rally Championship which saw Masterton husband and wife pairing, Richard and Sara Mason (main picture), comfortably winning the two-day Tomoana Warehousing Rally Hawke’s Bay to secure the Subaru team’s third New Zealand rally championship title.
Heading into the final day and seven Special Stages (totalling 135.63km), it was Dean Sumner (Mitsubishi Evo 9) leading only to drop down the field after puncturing on the third stage. That let Mason into the lead, despite having incurred damage when he clipped a post in his BNT Subaru.
In the end, Mason finished the final stage 1 minute 32.8 seconds ahead of Havelock North’s Stewart Taylor with Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour third, a further 48.3 seconds back. Sumner clawed back to fourth for the rally with Feilding’s Geof Argyle fifth and Auckland’s Glenn Inkster sixth.
The win also put a seal on Mason’s overall New Zealand Gold Star rally championship title, finishing on 533 points, 111 ahead of runner-up Gilmour. Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon finished third for the season on 384 points, despite not contesting the final round.
Winning today’s final stage was a bitter-sweet for Gilmour, whose Vantage Subaru STI suffered fuel pump failure early in the day. Dropping from her overnight third placed standing, attrition allowed her to climb back on to both the event and championship podium at Napier’s Clive Square this afternoon.
In the battle for two-wheel-drive honours, Nelson’s Ben Hunt reversed the overnight advantage held by Kaipoi’s Marcus van Klink. Hunt brought his Ford Fiesta ST home ahead of the historic category Mazda RX7 to secure both the 2WD championship and junior rally championship titles.
Crawling to the finish in 29th position overall was enough for Birkenhead’s Rob Wylie to secure his second overall title in the historic class. Driving the former championship winning Tony Teesdale Nissan 240RS, just finishing was critical to Wylie’s chances at putting enough points between him and runner-up Gary Smith from Hamilton.
Other category winners include Geof Argyle, who took the open-class 4WD title unopposed while New Plymouth’s Neil Marshall won the rookie honours. Subaru affirmed their supremacy in the manufacturer standings, finishing on 525 points, 178 ahead of rival Mitsubishi and 319 ahead of Ford.
Results: 2011 Tomoana Warehousing Rally Hawke’s Bay overall – top-ten
1/ 1, Richard Mason/Sara Mason, Masterton, Subaru STI, 2:14:43.9
2/ 25, Stewart Taylor/Warwick Searle, Havelock North, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, +1:32.8
3/ 3, Emma Gilmour/Glenn Macneall, Subaru STI, Dunedin, +2:21.1
4/ 4, Dean Sumner/Paul Fallon, Rotorua, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX, +2:57.4
5/ 26, Geof Argyle/Joelle Eyre, Feilding, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII, +3:01.6
6/ 7, Glenn Inkster/Glenn Goldring, Howick, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX, +3:18.5
7/ 10, Matt Jansen/Jason Farmer, Christchurch, Subaru STI, +4:30.8
8/ 28, Grant Blackberry/Malcolm Peden, Hastings, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO V, +8:30.4
9/ 12, Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen, Palmerston North, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, +10:24.3
10/ 27, Kingsley Jones/Len Fisher, Auckland, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII, +10:26.7
2011 Gold Star overall New Zealand Rally Championship – top three
1/ Richard Mason, Masterton, 533
2/ Emma Gilmour, Dunedin, 422
3/ Hayden Paddon, Geraldine, 384