Holder rising up the rally ranks

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DAVID Holder is quickly rising through the ranks of New Zealand Rally driving, but the 27-year-old has not forgotten his Southland roots.
He grew up on a farm near Invercargill, and it was there he got his taste for rally driving.
‘‘Driving was a natural part of life on the farm. I used to crash into fence posts to start with, much to dad’s disgust.’’
He bought a Toyota Levin which had been written off, did it up, and spent one year competing at club level before moving north to Tauranga about six years ago to compete on the national circuit.
‘‘Most guys would spend more time at the club level I guess… I am pretty driven.’’
Holder secured the overall New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) title last month after he and co-driver Jason Farmer, of Hamilton, won the one-day rally in Gisborne — the fourth of five NZRC rounds for the season.
‘‘It was good to get it done, especially with a round to spare.’’
Holder said he still considered himself a Southlander, and Southland businesses including Jason Gorton Building Ltd, McKerchar Industries and Thurlow Building and Construction were still contributing to his campaign.
‘‘I would still prefer to be based in Invercargill, but there are more opportunities up this way.’’
Holder’s career on the national circuit started strong when he won the New Zealand two-wheel drive championship in his Toyota and the title of Rookie Driver of the Year in 2012, and National Junior Champion title two years later.
He faced the first major road block of his career when he crashed in the first race of the series in Whangarei last year.
‘‘I went 180km around a corner, got too wide and there was another corner coming up I didn’t make.
‘‘The only problem with coming up through the ranks so quickly is you make a few mistakes.’’
He and Farmer were unhurt, save some bruising, but the car was destroyed and they were left on the sidelines trying to find the finance to fix the car, he said.
The crash did not shake his confidence, but the huge challenge of getting up and running again caused him to contemplate his future in the sport, he said.
‘‘I’m never worried about my safety. The cars are pretty safe. I am more concerned about how much it is going to cost to fix the car.’’
THE high-speed crash last year could have been the end of former Southlander David Holder’s rallying dreams.
But thanks to support from the rallying community, he and his co-driver Jason Farmer got back into the competition, ending last season in third place and Holder’s rallying career was back on track.
An engineer by trade, Holder’s ambition is to one day compete in the World Championship.
Last year he quit his job to focus on the sport.
‘‘I made the call with [mentor, WRC driver] Hayden [Paddon] to quit my day job and throw everything at it and take the next step.’’
He now worked in an automotive workshop and as a parttime support worker for a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.
His wife Adina is the main bread winner for the family while he pursues his goals.
‘‘[Adina] likes the idea of travelling around the world with the kids, and me doing international events. [We] are focused on what we want to achieve.’’
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