Young Mount Maunganui driver David Holder will complete his first season in the New Zealand Rally Championship driving a new car at the season finale, in Gisborne later this month.
Earlier events have seen Holder, 23, driving a 1996 model Toyota Corolla Levin and he has already clinched the NZRC Rookie and Open 2WD titles as well as setting some impressively quick stage times against more modern and powerful cars.
For the Gisborne Rally on August 25-26, Holder will drive a Ford Fiesta ST Group N car.
The Fiesta drive has been offered to Holder by Stadium Cars from Christchurch and the car has a proven pedigree, having been driven by former Rally NZ scholarship winner Stephen Barker, as well as Josh Marston and, in the recent Rally of New Zealand, by British Production WRC driver Louise Cook.
Last Saturday, Holder was lapping a short forest loop in the TECT All Terrain Park and getting valuable mileage in the Fiesta, during a thank you day for his teams sponsors and supporters.
"I should get about 80km of driving today," said Holder, in a break between runs.
"The Fiesta is smooth and it seems easy to drive. It feels light and easy to turn and it's faster than my Corolla.
"The suspension is a lot better; the Corolla bottoms out quite a bit."
Originally from Invercargill, Holder moved to Mount Maunganui in late-2011. His motorsport career comprises 10 rally starts and no background in karting or other forms of motorsport.
But Holder's combination of talent and limited experience has gained some valuable recognition when he was selected as the young driver to be mentored by New Zealand's Production WRC champion Hayden Paddon.
"It has been awesome. Hayden has been really good at keeping in touch and helping me," said Holder.
"One of the big things I've had to learn this year has been the pace notes. I'm not quite writing my own yet but it's one of the things that Hayden has already been a big help with.
"Hayden comes back in New Zealand soon and I'll get to spend some time with him before Gisborne."
Holder says the two-day Gisborne Rally will be treated as a learning experience.
"The main thing is to get experience with the Fiesta at Gisborne. I have to be realistic about competing against guys who have been driving these cars for three years," he said.
Holder's goal is to contest the 2013 NZ Rally Championship in a Fiesta while putting a programme together to compete in the WRC Academy series in 2014.
"After Gisborne, we go into sponsorship hunting mode. It's another area where Hayden has so much experience to share and being associated with his name will also help," said Holder.
The Gisborne Rally is a two-day event on August 25-26 with stages mainly to south and west of Gisborne on the Saturday before heading north towards Tolaga Bay for the Sunday stages.
Quad bike champs
Leading quad bike racers from around New Zealand will compete at the North Island ATV Champs near Te Puke on August 18-19.
The Motorcycling NZ recognised title is being raced at the Pirini Motorbike Park at 935 Pongakawa Bush Rd, one of a small number of venues designed specifically for quad bike racing. The 1.8km natural terrain track has a dirt and clay surface with man-made jumps and some prime spectator viewing.
About 80 riders are expected to enter the North Island Champs with racing in 11 classes, including 8-11-year-old 100cc mini riders, four junior classes and three senior grades plus Women's and Veterans' (40+) categories.
Most attention will focus on the Premier 450cc and Open 0-750cc classes which feature the fastest of the four-wheel machines.
Each title is raced over a seven-round format with four races on Saturday and three more on Sunday.
Trail loop to openAfter a weather postponement last weekend the Tauranga Motorcycle Club will make another attempt at opening its new 7.5km trail ride loop at the TECT All Terrain Park this Sunday.
Rider sign-on is from 8am with a mayoral opening ceremony at 9.15am and the trail ride begins at 9.45am. Entry fees are $20 for adults, $15 for juniors and $10 for mini riders.
The 3m wide trail has been prepared for riders of all ability levels and is the first stage in the development of a multi-purpose motorcycle facility in the TECT Park.
Tarmac road rally
Local car club competitors are in action this Sunday contesting a tarmac hillclimb event which will use a 2km section of Ohauiti Rd.
The venue has been used previously as a gravel event and as part of rally special stages but has recently been tarsealed. Practice runs will start at 10am with three official timed runs deciding the result.
Rotorua's Michael Phillips and Cameron Vaughan were the unbeaten senior class winners at the opening round of the new Central MX series raced at the Rotorua Motorcycle Club's Horohoro track on Sunday.
Honda racer Phillips who is contesting the Australian MX Nationals won all three MX1 races while Vaughan (Yamaha) swept the MX2 category.
In the junior grades, the Chase brothers of Taupo achieved a double with Cohen Chase winning the junior 125cc/250cc class and Wyatt Chase was the big-wheel 85cc/150cc class winner.
The four-round Central MX series continues at Tokoroa on September 2.