Fitting tribute to NZ Rally legend announced

Jun 27, 2013   //   by Chris Kitzen   //   News  //  No Comments


Off the back of the V8Supercars return to Pukekohe, another proud form of New Zealand Motorsport is preparing for a return to its historic stomping ground in commemoration of a very special life which has helped shape the profile of Rally for New Zealand.

This year the New Zealand Rally Championship, in conjunction with Pukekohe Car Club is well underway with plans for a fitting tribute to none other than NZ rallying legend Possum Bourne in the aptly named Possum Bourne Memorial Rally.

2013 marks the 10 year anniversary of Possum’s passing and come September 7 – the second-to-last round of the 2013 New Zealand Rally Championship, Pukekohe and Rally fans across the country will unite in creating a celebration of rally which will remember Possum and then race in his memory, unified in an ongoing passion for the adrenaline-pumping sport.

Bourne was an iconic figure within New Zealand Rallying, his charismatic personality and driving talent seeing him forge a great career with manufacturers Subaru that led to three Asia-Pacific Rally Championships, seven Australian Rally Championships and a New Zealand Rally Championship, all while inspiring the next generation of top Kiwi drivers, including 2011 Production World Rally Champion, Hayden Paddon.
The special one-day Rally this year will include exhilarating tarmac stages attracting a more diverse platform of rally competitors than usual – not only because of the inclusion tarmac competition allows, also because two of these special bonus stages will be held at the revamped Pukekohe Park Raceway showcasing it’s diversity in catering to all forms of Motorsport in NZ.
Gravel stages of the rally will be held in the iconic Maramarua Forest, where Bourne launched his Rally Career followed with a special tarmac stage at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
A key component of the rally is the part played by Pukekohe Car Club who run the event on behalf of the New Zealand Rally Championship. Being a iconic member of the Pukekohe Car Club, after a tragic road accident claimed Possum’s life in 2003, the club created the ‘Possum Bourne Memorial Rally Sprint’ which ran for two years until 2006 when the inaugural Possum Bourne Memorial Rally was staged around the world famous gravel roads of Port Waikato.
Since 2006, the event has frequently run as part of the Clubman’s field in the New Zealand Rally Championship during World Rally Championship visits to New Zealand.
“This year is special to everyone who had a connection to Possum, not just in a sporting capacity but it’s also special for his home town of Pukekohe. We’re really keen to make this event something that the whole community can be involved with, celebrating the memory of just how much a special guy Possum is to this country” says New Zealand Rally Championship Director Peter Johnston.
An excess of 10 special stages are crammed into one day of action packed rallying with a new mixed stage format which means this will be some of the most exciting viewing for old and new rally fans alike.
President of Pukekohe Car Club Chris Kitzen says “we’re very excited for what this event will offer not only competitors but to spectators also. The majority of stages will be easily accessible to public – and being a stone’s throw away from Auckland and Hamilton it’s the perfect opportunity for people to come and see how Possum used to do it, and how he put NZ on the map in world rallying, which he’s still so famous for.”
In a special focus this year on promoting the reinvigoration of Possum’s memory the Rally will not only be on participants – after the close of all stages on Saturday a ticketed public event will take place at Pukekohe Park Raceway to capture the essence of Possum’s spirit and bring together the celebration of his life. The celebrations will include special involvement from Possum’s family – wife Peggy and children Taylor, Spencer, and Jazlin.
“It’s an honour to be involved in the special celebrations this year, we’re so grateful for the effort that Pukekohe Car Club and the New Zealand Rally Championship put into keeping Possum’s memory alive. We’re glad we will be contributing, and we know it’s something Possum would be extremely humbled by” says Peggy Bourne when asked about the Bourne family’s involvement in September’s event.
With the inclusion of the rally’s special tarmac stages competitor numbers are expected to attract a field of around 100 talented drivers from around New Zealand and around the world – visitor numbers to the region for this special event are expected to be in the thousands and will be viewed globally from around the world by millions thanks to coverage provided from the New Zealand Rally Championship, sponsors, competing teams and visiting media.
Entries for the rally will open in the second half of this year, for more information please visit or
Image: New Zealand Rally Championship
For more information please contact:
Peter Johnston
New Zealand Rally Championship Director
Ph: 00 64 21 950 250

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