Taking the long road to the Catlins Coast Rally

The 1995 Subaru GC8 H6 in action in the recent South Canterbury Rally with Mark Parsons at the wheel. Parsons will compete at next month's Catlins Coast Rally. Photo: Kevin Corin

THE Catlins Coast Rally, organised by the Eastern Southland Car Club, each year attracts some exciting entries from far and wide.

Included in this year’s rally is Mark Parsons, of Drury, south of Auckland.

His journey to the event, which takes place on Saturday, August 11, started in 1990 when he tackled the 21st Anniversary Silver Fern Rally in a Holden Monaro.

“It was a lot of fun and my first experience of South Island roads. I wanted to come back and study them in more detail and now I am back,” Parsons said.

A 2006 appearance at Otago in the car Parsons was synonymous with, a V8-powered Triumph TR7, which whet the appetite further.

This year he has leased a car from Jeff Judd, of Magnum Motorsport, and has tackled several South Island events.

“Rallying to me is an adventure from the time you leave home until you return. That is how it was in the 70s and 80s, but we have lost that in the North Island. South Island rallying and events like Catlins are growing and going from strength to strength.”

Parsons’ co-driver for Catlins and his next event at Hanmer is long-time mate, co-driver, mechanical preparer and sponsor Mal Clark, of Bygone Autos.

The pair have driven and co-driven for each other for many years.

Parsons has a wealth of motorsport experience, much of it at the wheel of big, powerful, exciting cars. He started out co-driving in 1971 and his first drive came in 1975 on his 21st birthday when he tackled the Woodhill Rally in a Holden Monaro.

“They are great cars, I learnt a lot,” he said.

affiliate tracking urlHow to Run Faster , Increase Your Running Speed and Endurance