Meanwhile ... in a land far, far away,
on the other side of the globe, where Orcs eat rocks and Elves live under ferns,
there did take place a battle of mechanical and ferociously mobile monsters.
Nothing to do with Hobbits, but all to do with Kiwis, it was of course the resumption (Covid delayed) of the annual Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand, a land of long and superb gravel roads ideal for special stage rallying. In fact it has the reputation of being the best historic special stage endurance rally in the world!
This year's event had attracted quite a few folks from 'home' with the English and Scottish pairing of James Ford and Neil Shanks winning the Silver Fern Historic Rally in the Evans Motorsport prepped Ford Escort Mk2. Neil usually partners John Wink in the Hyundai but is also CofC for the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages Rally.
In tenth place was Tony Jardine with Warwick Martin and I had to mention English based posh Tony because whenever he comes north of the border he always claims Scottish blood as he was raised in Edinburgh but there were also quite a few other 'home' crews from Wales and England in the mix.
The standard Entry Fee starts from NZ 9,500 dollars (£4900) plus the medical and H&S levy raises it to 12,650 dollars (£6,535) and it is 800 dollars (£413) for the Notes. On top of that you've got to get the car there and probably a service van with spares.
The big attraction of course is the event itself with 46 stages totalling some 931 kms (578 mls) in an 1889 km (1170 ml) road route lasting seven days. And the stages are pretty spectacular - one for the bucket list?
Silver Fern Historic Rally
1, James Ford/Neil Shanks (Ford Escort) 9hrs 00mins 23.9secs
2, Jeff Judd/Stephane Prevot (Ford Escort), +3m 19.5s
3, Ally MacKay/Michael Hendry (Ford Escort) +20m 40.8s
4, Allan Dippie/Paul Coghill (Porsche 911) +25m 18.0s
5, Simon Tysoe/Rocky Hudson (Ford Escort) +26m 28.5s
6, Keith Callinan/Ross Moody (Ford Escort) +50m 12.8s
7, Frank Tundo/Donna Elder (Ford Escort) +1 h 00m 03.1s
8, Phil Squires/Alun Cook (Ford Escort RS1800) +1h 02m 53.0s
9, Steve Cox/Laurie Brenssell (Toyota Starlet) +1h 17m 03.7s
10, Tony Jardine/Warwick Martin (Toyota Corolla) +1h 26m 27.1s
(( Thanks to 'Potshots Photography' and 'Silver Fern Rally' for the pics - Ford in the Mk2, MacKay in the Mk1 and Jardine in the Toyota ))