Mon, Nov 20, 2023 4:19 PM

Marston masters Taylor Pass


Peter Jones

Christchurch driver Josh Marston in his Barina AP4 showed his mastery of Marlborough’s backroads with victory in the annual Fairweather’s Taylor Pass Rallysprint.

The Marlborough Car Club event was staged on November 11, the second round of the Nelson Marlborough Westland Rallysprint Series.

Twenty-nine cars started the event, with drivers coming from as far afield as Ashburton. Cars ranged from Marston’s Barina to DJ Musk’s Citroen GSA.

The course started at Beneagle Station, continued over the summit into the Awatere Valley for a distance of 10km, then the drivers raced back. The event comprised three runs, with the best time in each direction added together for fastest time and overall results.

A couple of early incidents highlighted the perils of misjudging road conditions. On the first run south Christchurch driver Jeremy Beaton, in an Evo 1, put his car on its side just before the summit. On the run back to Beneagle, Nelson’s Mantez Singh-Thandi, driving an MX 5, hit the inside bank and then rolled off the road. Both crews were uninjured.

Meanwhile, Marston quickly put the pressure on the rest of the drivers, his closest pursuer being local Richard Bateman in his Evo 9, who ultimately came up short by nine seconds.

The other battle was in the 1600cc class with Christchurch driver Carl Celeste (Corolla) putting in some top times in the last run to edge local Jason Clark (Starlet) by three seconds.

Local driver Tane Malcolm in his Impreza withdraw after the first run with gear box issues, while Beaton, who was able to continue after his first run incident, came adrift on the last run, rolling his car on the hair pin at the base of the summit and ending his participation.

It is an interesting battle heading to the final round at Murchison on December 2, with four drivers on the same points. They include local David Gee in his Impreza, Wayne Muckle (Evo 3) from Ashburton, Deane Buist (Trueno) and Jacob Bennett (Impreza), both from Christchurch.


Overall: 1 Josh Marston; 2 Richard Bateman; 3 Wayne Muckle.

4WD class: 1 David Gee; 2 Jacob Bennett; 3 Nick Marston.

C Class 1601 + over: 1 Deane Buist; 2 Andrew Sim; 3 Neville Kidd.

B Class 1301-1600cc: 1 Carl Celeste; 2 Jason Clark; 3 Brendan Wadsworth.

A Class 0-1300cc: 1 Paul Roughan; 2 DJ Musk.

E Class Classic: 1 Craig Barlow; 2 Vahur Ots; 3 Ben Musk.

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