Christchurch’s Jeff Judd has won the 2017 Royce Watson Memorial Hanmer Rally held over 10 Special Stages in the Hanmer Forest in North Canterbury on Saturday.
Although he didn’t win a stage, Judd’s consistent top ten times driving an older 1993 Subaru gave him a 15.2 second winning margin over Dylan Turner (Audi S3 AP4+).
“I’m thrilled that we have won the rally as Hanmer has a special meaning,” commented Judd. “Royce (Watson) had some close friendships with many in our team so it means a lot to have got this result from the weekend.
It was the AP4 class cars of Turner and Josh Marston (Holden Barina AP4) that set the pace, winning all ten stages between them. Marston, who won six stages, should have taken overall victory but clutch problems in stage five cost him and co-driver Mark Leonard over a 1min 30seconds and the win.
Turner, who won four stages, also had his share of problems finishing 12 in the third stage, losing 32 seconds on Marston who was leading at that point in the rally, and handing second place to Judd.
Meanwhile, Judd kept finishing each stage consistently in the top ten while setting the top second or third fastest times in six stages.
“We had surprisingly good conditions even though the weather forecast was bad, and it had rained the day before,” commented Judd. “The roads were good and not too slippery except for a few places where there was a clay surface.”
The rally was the sixth round of the Stadium Finance Mainland Series. Heading into the round it was Deane Buist (Ford Escort) on 107 points with a 12 point lead over Judd with Matt Summerfield (Subaru) a further four points behind, followed by David Quantock (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) on 80 and Richard Bateman on 71 points.
Buist, who finished fourth overall still leads the series with a reduced margin of five points to Judd.
With one round remaining in three weeks’ time, the South Canterbury Rally in Geraldine will see both Judd and Buist fighting for the 2017 title.
Hanmer Rally Results (Top 10)
1 J. Judd / G. Marra (2) 40:14.9
2 D. Turner / S. Brennan (3) +15.2
3 M. Tall / M. Richards (4) +24.2
4 D. Buist / K. Celeste (7) +37.7
5 J. Marston / M. Leonard (5) +38.3
6 M. Penrose / T. Penrose (11) +51.2
7 D. Quantock / E. Quantock (8) +57.3
8 G. Thomas / G. Thomas (10) +1:26.4
9 K. Anderson / M. Crook (12) +1:27.8
10 M. Summerfield / M. Crawley (1) +1:50.9