Lock in Saturday, 7 October 2023 for a very special Wyndham Rally which will remember iconic rally driver Barry Robinson.
Robinson, who passed away in March 2022, was a South Island rally legend who led the 1983 New Zealand Rally Championship into the final round only to suffer an engine failure which cost him the title and left him the championship runner-up.
He won the Otago Rally in 1981, 82, 83 and 91 and the Southland Rally in 1983 and 95. He also won a Canterbury Rally and was a fan favourite at the Ashley Forest Rallysprint through his exploits in Vauxhall Chevette’s over the years. Locally he won the Wyndham Rally multiple times including a hat trick in 1988, 1989 and 1990 as well as the inaugural Catlins Coast Rally in 1991 with his daughter Anna alongside in the co-driver seat for that event. Robinson farmed in the Mokoreta area near Wyndham during the height of his rallying career.
The Eastern Southland Car Club will organise the event. The club has run many such events over the years including their first Catlins Forest Rally on 10th August 1977 which was its fourth Rally after the first three Gore-based events. The Wyndham Rallies were early Clubman-type events, closed to allow only members of the club running the event plus neighbouring clubs. The last Wyndham Rally was held in 1998.
Rally Secretary, Roger Laird says, “we are back, and delighted to have the support of MLT as our naming sponsor plus that of Rayonier NZ, the Southland District Council, Gore District Council and the landowners on the rally route to put this event together. There is already a huge amount of interest in the event and entries are coming in. Past competitors from the Wyndham Rally are keen to come back and do it again and the event has given a lot of people the motivation to get their rally cars out of sheds.”
The rally will be centred on the township of Wyndham, 45 kilometres east of Invercargill and 25km south of Gore. It will start at the MLT Three Rivers Hotel in Redan Street, Wyndham at 9.30 am on Saturday 7 October from where competitors will embark on five Special Stages consisting of 126km of magic, gravel special stages with no stage repeated throughout the day.
The first stage, Wyndham Valley, is over 17.49 km and is followed by a stage of similar length, the 17.02 Mt Herbert stage. Cars then return to Wyndham for a Service Park before the 28.12km third stage in Waikawa Valley followed by the longest stage of the event, Quarry Hills over 43.06km. The cars head back to Wyndham for another Service Park before the final stage at Tuturau over 20.79km.
The rally then ends where it began, at the MLT Three Rivers Hotel in Wyndham after 126km of Special Stage competition linked by 110km of touring stage mileage.
With the start and finish plus two Service Parks in Wyndham, the township will be a real focal point of the event.
The event prizegiving will take place in Gore at the MLT Croydon Lodge with the winning crew awarded the Barry Robinson Memorial Trophy. The rally also carries points toward the Eastern Southland Car Club Rally Championship.
Header Image: Barry Robinson in his Vauxhall Chevette in the Slopedown Forest during the 1983 Wyndham Rally – Supplied