Rally roars into Oamaru

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Some of the best scenery in New Zealand and some fantastic roads perfect for the rally were key components in the Targa Rally coming through North Otago, says event director Peter Martin.

A total of 125 cars and 85 touring cars drove around North Otago roads yesterday as part of the rally and then called at Oamaru’s Victorian Precint.

Mr Martin said they were encouraging rally contestants to come back and visit.

“We had to make Oamaru part of the tour, it’s just such a beautiful town, we want to make sure that people will come back and visit it when they get the chance.”

A small passport type booklet has been made and given to all the contestants detailing what Oamaru has to offer – the Victorian Precinct, Steampunk HQ building and all the cafes and eateries in the area.

Mr Martin said most of the drivers were down this way for the first time and were enjoying the quality of roads in North Otago.

“They are fantastic roads down this way, which have made for some fantastic driving.”

Mr Martin said an enormous amount of work went into organising the rally and he was grateful for the support he had received from Oamaru.

“It’s really pleasing to see the work they’ve been doing to make sure the competitors enjoy their short time here, the weather has also been good so far.”

While it has not been decided, Mr Martin hasn’t ruled out the rally returning to North Otago.

“We needed a big occasion to come down here and the 20th anniversary was a great idea and we need people to spread the word to people who would be keen to participate as we need at least 100 drivers for it to be worthwhile.”

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust heritage coordinator Faye Ormandy said it was great to see such a big event in the area.

“It’s absolutely fantastic, it spreads the word and will hopefully help people return.”

Everyone in the precinct was told to be open while the cars were in the area to help show off the town.

Rally contestants had an hour for lunch in Oamaru yesterday with the first arriving from 12pm onwards, while the last cars arrived around 1:30pm. They returned for a 20 minute break later in the day.

Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn were leading the 4WD section in their Mitsubishi Evo 8 when the stages came to an end yesterday, while leading the modern 2WD drive classic were Gary and Amy Riches. Greg and Michael Goudie led the Metalman Classic.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

I SEE RED: Among cars being displayed during the stopover of the Targa Rally in Oamaru yesterday was this Ferrari which Oamaru motor body builder Rod Tempero (pictured) built himself.