Chasing possum's trail

A successful weekend of racing has seen Tauranga drivers’ notch up one second-placing and two third-positions in their classes in the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally.

In only his second race in the Extreme Rally Series all season, Ben Thomasen finished third-place, giving him sixth fastest time of all drivers competing in the South Auckland rally on the day.

In the 2WD series Tauranga drivers Phil Campbell and Dave Holder finished second and third respectively, while Rotorua driver Sloan Cox grabbed everyone’s attention by finishing third place overall in the South Auckland rally.

Phil continues to lead the 2WD series despite being beaten by arch-rival Josh Marston, who he has been see-sawing with, in placings, all season. With only one race remaining in the six-event New Zealand Rally Championship series – Rally Wairarapa on October 5 – Phil is leading by three points.

Ben, who has been forced to miss most rallies because of clashes racing his Polaris ATV in the Offroad series, is pleased with his result which is his best national rallying performance to date. But he believes he can still do better yet.

“Even though it was only a third it was still my best result in the rally car.

“If I hadn’t have been so slow in the morning, I would like to think I could have been up another two or three places overall.”

Ben’s encouraging performance has him determined to commit to competing in a full Rally Extreme series, but he knows it will take a juggle to balance with the demands of his off-road racing.

“It is very difficult [competing in the two series]. But we’ve shown in the weekend we’ve got the speed – and if we do a bit more driving I’m sure we’ll go up to another level again.”

This weekend Ben and Phil are teaming up to race the Taupo 1000 Offroad Race in Ben’s ATV, sharing the driving duties in the two-day 1000km marathon race.

The Possum Bourne Rally was won by husband-and-wife team Richard and Sara Mason of Masterton, with the couple’s winning margin of 2min07sec over Nelsons Ben Hunt and Tony Rawstorn in second place. Despite a poor result for Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon (finishing fourth), he still holds the series lead with 100 points, ahead of Richard Mason on 95 and Ben Hunt on 91.


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