Richard and Sara Mason 

    2005, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2014 New Zealand Rally Champions 

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BNT MASON MOTORSPORT WIN


 RECORD FIFTH NEW ZEALAND


RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP -


AND IN RECORD TIME

 

 

 

Four wins from four starts mean that four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason are now FIVE times champions, after a record breaking win at last weekend’s Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa.

 

Richard now stands alone as the most successful driver in the 38 year history of the New Zealand Rally Championship with 5 titles - 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012 and now 2014 – one more than Manawatu’s Bruce Herbert (2000-2003). He has also racked up 27 round wins, 5 more than 3-times champion Neil Allport (1986, 1989 and 1992).

 

Sara has won 4 Co-driver titles and this latest win now moves her equal with Bob Haldane (1985 – 1997) on 24 round wins.

 

The Masterton Flyers four consecutive round wins this year means they have won the 2014 Brian Green Property New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, in a clean sweep and with two rounds to spare – both new records in their own right as neither have ever been done before.

 

Richard was quick to dedicate BNT Mason Motorsport’s achievements to his friend, mentor and sponsor, Greg Horne. “It was the dying wish of our long term supporter and sponsor Greg Horne who passed earlier this year, that we would take a fifth championship, and we’ve done it for him.

 

“And to wrap up the title so early in the series after such a dominant year, and at home in front of all our family, friends and supporters, really is the icing on the cake.”

 

It’s not just what the Masons have achieved last weekend, but how they have achieved it, that is also record-breaking.

 

They have now won the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa round of the NZRC a record 8 times in the 10 years it has been in the championship.

 

They produced another clinical performance that started by winning the first stage by a whopping 50 seconds over the 34 kilometre long Coonoor test near Pongoroa, and then backed that up by winning the eight remaining stages to become the only crew to win all stages of a one day round.

 

And their winning margin of 2 minutes 44.6 seconds on a one day round extends the previous record they already held when they won last year’s Possum Bourne Memorial Rally by 2 minutes 7.7 seconds.

 

Their stellar season and total dominance is graphically illustrated by their Special Stage Winning Strike Rate which stands at an incredible 85%. So far the four rounds have been run over 45 special stages and the Masons have won 38 of them.

 

“It’s taken a heap of effort to get the BNT Subaru to this level of performance, but it is definitely awesome to drive and long may it continue….

 

“Sara is at the top of her game calling the [pace] notes and managing the team and what can you say about Dwight [Dwight Scott from ScottSpeed Performance Engines] because these five titles are just as much a testimony to his expertise with our engines as they are to what we do when I get behind the wheel..

 

“Dayle from Tom’s Autos has done an awesome job preparing the BNT Subaru this year and the resulting reliability is a direct indication of his meticulous attention to detail.

 

“And to all the brilliant bunch who make up our BNT Mason Motorsport Team: Your commitment and dedication is appreciated SO MUCH - We just couldn’t do it without you – Thank You All most sincerely.”   

 

The 2014 Brian Green Property New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, now takes a break for two months before resuming on the weekend of August 22 – 24 for Round Five, the all new Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel, which will be based in the tourist town of Whitianga.

NEW TUI BILLBOARD: BNT


 MASON MOTORSPORT


EXPECTED TO CRUISE

 

THROUGH NZRC RALLY


WAIRARAPA

 

 

Three wins from three starts mean that four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason can win the 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship - driven by Vinz [NZRC] at this weekend’s Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa.

 

The Masterton Flyers now hold a massive 68 point lead at the halfway mark in the championship, a lead which is so large that there are only 4 other drivers left – of the 30 registered – who still have a mathematical chance of taking the title.

 

So as the NZRC returns to the North Island for the three remaining rounds where a maximum 90 points are on offer, the Masons need just 16 of those 90 to achieve their goal of winning a record 5th New Zealand Rally Championship.

 

A third pIace at Wairarapa and 5th fastest through the event’s Power Stage would be enough to shut out the opposition with two rounds to spare – yet another NZRC record for New Zealand’s leading rallying couple.

 

It would therefore be quite reasonable to expect the Masons to ease their pace and cruise through the 9 stage, 163 kilometre rally to ensure those placings are achieved.

 

However when they steer their bright yellow BNT Subaru away from the Rally Start at the iconic TUI Brewery early on Saturday morning, rest assured ‘YEAH RIGHT’ would be their reaction to that sort of question, as having fun, going fast and winning rallies is what most motivates the Masons.

 

“There’s no doubt we go to every rally wanting to win,” said Richard, “and even though our awesome start to the season means we are within touching distance of taking out our 5th [NZRC] title, there would be nothing better than winning the championship by winning our home rally - for the 8th time - in front of all our family, friends and supporters.”

 

“Likewise, Sara is only one round win away from equalling Bob Haldane’s record for [NZRC] Co-drivers of 24, and no-one has ever won the championship with a clean sweep, so that would be rather cool..”

 

Following the ever popular BNT Mason Motorsport Colouring Competition and the Rally Welcome - including the Start Order Draw for the Top Five - at the Copthorne Solway Park Resort and Hotel at 6pm on Friday evening, the 70 car field will start from the Tui Brewery HQ at Mangatainoka from 7am. They then head to the 9 classic high speed special stages around Pongaroa, Castle Hill, and Masterton, before the finish back at Solway Park from 5pm.

BNT MASON MOTORSPORT


MAKE IT THREE FROM THREE


 WITH VICTORY

 

AT NZRC RALLY CANTERBURY

 

 

Four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason continued their domination of the 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship -driven by Vinz [NZRC] with a third straight victory at last weekend’s Lone Star Rally of Canterbury.

 

In another measured, clinical display that ranged from driving to survive the treacherous muddy and icy conditions of the two opening night stages, to putting the hammer down first thing the next morning and surging into a lead that they controlled through to the finish.

 

“We said before the rally ‘with what is forecast for down here this weekend, a steady risk-free approach could well be the way to go and under the circumstances, could still even result in the maximum return…,” said Richard. “And that is exactly the way things turned out.”

 

“The Saturday night stages were interesting, as the changes in grip levels were totally random, going from amazingly good to non-existent in just a few metres..and often in the middle of corners. We decided during recce that getting safely through the night unscathed was paramount, so we reverted to a steady-as-she-goes approach to ensure we lived to fight another day.. That decision really paid off as the slippery downhill run over the last part of stage 2 claimed several crews and apparently caused moments for most.”

 

“The cold, clear weather throughout the rally meant that even at midday on Sunday, parts of the roads were still frozen and come 3pm for the rerun through the forest, the surface was white in a lot of places. So driving at a measured pace that was enough to keep the opposition at bay was definitely the way to go.”

 

“Thanks to the great work at service time by Dwight, Simon, Cade, and Robert, and all the help from the rest of the BNT Mason Motorsport Team, particularly having to operate outside on Saturday night in such very cold conditions, the BNT Subaru ran without any real issues.”

 

The Masterton Flyers now hold a whopping 68 point lead at the halfway mark in the championship. A lead which is so large that there are only 4 other drivers left – of the 29 registered – who still have a mathematical chance of taking the title.

 

So as the NZRC for 2014 returns to the North Island for the last three rounds, the Masons need 16 more points – out of a maximum possible 90 – to achieve their goal of winning a record 5th New Zealand Rally Championship.

 

“Our ‘home’ rally [the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa] is next at the end of this month,” said Richard, “so now we are in such a strong position it would be awesome to get those 16 points in Masterton and win the championship in front of all our family, friends and supporters – just like we did when we won our second title in 2006…”

 

BNT MASON MOTORSPORT REPEAT WINNING PERFORMANCE AT NZRC RALLY OTAGO

 

 

Following last month’s victory at Whangarei - the opening round of the 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by Vinz - four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason have repeated that performance last weekend at the other end of the country at round 2 - the DriveSouth Rally of Otago.

 

In a totally dominant performance the Masterton Flyers won all but one of the 14 high-speed special stages over the daunting crests and brows for which Rally Otago is renowned.

 

“The rain at the [Ceremonial] Start on Friday night confirmed for us that running first on the road was the right choice,” said Richard. “So we set about controlling the rally from the front. We did that and with the BNT Subaru running really well, we always felt comfortable.”

 

The Masons rammed home the advantage already gained after stage 2 by winning the monster 50k Manuka Hill stage – completed in a time of 23 minutes 30.8 seconds at an average speed of 126.6 kilometres per hour - by a whopping 43 seconds. So after just those first 3 stages they led the rest of the chasing pack by almost a minute and a half.

 

With such a healthy lead the Masons were able to drive for the rest of the rally without taking any undue risks. Even so they still won all 7 stages on Day One, including setting a new record on the tarmac Super Special Stage in the centre of Dunedin.

 

Sunday’s Leg 2 was more of the same with another string of fastest stage times posted. A comfortable win on the rollicking rollercoaster that is the 15 kilometres of Kuri Bush was rewarded with 5 NZRC Power Stage points. This was immediately followed by new stage records for both the tricky MacIntosh Road and the iconic Waipori Gorge as their lead extended with every passing kilometre.

 

That was until halfway through the gnarly 41k of Berwick Forest when the BNT Subaru picked up a right front puncture. With 20k still to run the Masons immediately stopped and changed the flat tyre and were underway again inside 3 minutes. With the demise of their nearest competitor – Emma Gilmour – earlier in that same stage, they actually only lost 2 seconds to the new second placed car, but had dropped to 6th – and most importantly out of the NZRC points - for the day..

 

So Stage 13 was “Go For It” material. The BNT Subaru again comprehensively won that 25k stage by 20 seconds and immediately recovered to be back up to 2nd for the day.

 

So, just like Leg 2 at Whangarei, 2nd was the best they could expect, so a smooth drive over the final two stages – albeit still setting fastest times on both - ensured safe passage to the finish in front of the Dunedin Railway Station, to record the second biggest winning margin at an NZRC round since Richard and, the then, Sara Randall won at the 2006 International Rally of Rotorua by over 8 minutes.

 

“We head back north extremely satisfied with our performance this weekend”, said Richard. “The BNT Mason Motorsport Team – as always – did an awesome job for us and sincere thanks to everyone, and it’s neat to be able to reward all their hard work with a record-breaking 5th NZRC round win down here.”

 

Winning Whangarei by 3 minutes 53.2 seconds and repeating that at Otago by 4 minutes 11.5 seconds clearly shows the dominance of the Masterton Flyers who have now travelled over 487 kilometres in these two rallies a whopping 484 seconds faster than their rivals…..

 

The Masons now hold a massive 45 point lead in the championship as they begin preparations for the next round at the end of the month – over Queens Birthday weekend - in North Canterbury.

 

“The season could not have started much better for us,” said Richard, “and we can now look forward to the remaining four one-day rounds very positively.”

 

 

BNT Mason Motorsport are very proud to again have the support of BNT, Dunlop, B.W.O’Brien, ScottSpeed Performance Engines, Geartech, MCA Suspension, Hopper Construction, Race Brakes, Randall & Associates, Quality Foods and Tom’s Autos, without whose invaluable assistance they would not be able to be celebrating a decade at the top of NZ rallying.

BNT MASON MOTORSPORT DRIVE SOUTH FOR REPEAT PERFORMANCE AT NZRC RALLY OTAGO

 

 

Following last month’s victory at Whangarei - the opening round of the 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by Vinz - four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason are looking for a repeat performance this weekend at the other end of the country at round 2 - the DriveSouth Rally of Otago.

 

In recognition of being in the lead in the championship after their fine performance at Whangarei, the Masons are Car # 1, so at Friday evening’s Ceremonial Start in the Octagon, the Masterton Flyers will get first pick of where they want to start on the road when the high-speed action begins on Saturday morning.

 

“This could well be a deciding factor of the rally,” said Richard, “as the correct road position is vital for posting winning stage times.

 

“Recce on Thursday and Friday will be very important as this gives us a chance to check out the roads, while monitoring the weather forecasts for the weekend will also be a priority.

 

“Last year we were here in April after a dry summer, so the roads were hard-packed, dry and dusty. However we are here a month later this time and the locals tell us they are still waiting for summer to arrive, so that could well mean that the roads will be colder, softer and wetter.

 

“We don’t mind leading from the front and setting the pace. We have a car that is far more developed and better to drive than it was 12 months ago and Sara and I are comfortable with our form at Whangarei.

 

“So at this stage of our buildup to Saturday’s start we are good to go and all we need now is to make the right choice [of road position] on Friday night…..”

 

To add another twist, as this year's Rally Otago is being run a month later than last year, the ‘higher’ roads north of Dunedin used in 2013 can be affected by snow should a cold snap occur, which means that this year’s route is avoiding this area and is therefore venturing much further south onto a number of roads that are new to this rally.

 

"There is a lot of ‘new’ territory to cover, so the one pass recce will be more important than ever,” said Richard. It’s always great to drive on new stages, so to mix them with our regular annual favourites like Kuri Bush and Waipori Gorge will all make for quite a challenge."

 

"Although our natural instinct is to go to every rally looking to win, this year our priority for Otago has to be a repeat of Whangarei – be as fast as we need to be without taking any undue risks, so come Sunday afternoon we take away another top points haul.

 

“This will ensure we consolidate the great [points] platform we established with the win at Whangarei, as we build towards our season’s goal of a record-breaking 5th national rally championship title.”

 

Starting with an autograph session and opening ceremony in Dunedin’s Octagon from 5pm on Friday the high speed action of this the 21st consecutive NZRC edition of Rally Otago begins Saturday morning.

Departing from outside the Southern Cross Hotel (High St) from 7:50am the field of 88 cars, including 28 contesting the championship, will cover seven special stages for the day, including the spectacular tarmac spectator stage in the central city at 3pm.  

The second and final day of eight special stages, again held largely to the south of the city, returns the teams to the Dunedin Railway station for the finish from 3pm.

BNT MASON MOTORSPORT (FINALLY) WIN NZRC RALLY WHANGAREI

 

 

By winning last weekend’s opening round of the 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by Vinz, the Vinz International Rally of Whangarei, four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason have finally filled an annoying gap in their trophy cabinet.

 

Until now Whangarei has been the only major rally on the national championship (NZRC) calendar that they had not won. It has regularly ‘bitten them hard’, and more often than not at the most inopportune times.

 

“We have always had good pace up there and I do enjoy the roads, but we’ve been let down by silly little things in the past,” said Richard.

 

“The BNT Subaru was dynamic this weekend and we were able to drive at a pace that allowed us to feel we were always in control…That is until the centre diff failed halfway through Day One and we had brake problems at about the same point on Day Two.”

 

However a cautious approach in both instances by Richard and Sara ensured that the BNT Subaru arrived safely back into Service where the expert BNT Mason Motorsport Team carried out the necessary repairs.

 

The time lost by running at a reduced pace in those stages meant that the Masterton Flyers had to do just that - Fly through the remaining stages to regain as many places and NZRC points as possible.

 

With the BNT Subaru still running without a functioning centre diff, the Masons literally blew away their NZRC opposition on the final Power Stage – setting a time a full 35 seconds faster than anyone else, and narrowly missed taking maximum points for the round.

 

So New Zealand’s top rallying couple have started their pursuit of a history-making fifth national title - their major focus in 2014 – with a points haul just 2 short of a perfect result and now hold a significant lead in the six round series.

 

“We are over the moon with this weekend,” said Richard. “In spite of the issues we had, the Team did a fantastic job keeping us in the rally, the BNT Subaru is yet again proving to be a ‘rocket ship’ and we have come away with one of the best starts to the championship we have ever had.”

 

The NZRC resumes next month in Dunedin for the DriveSouth Rally of Otago over the weekend of May 10 and 11.

 

BNT Mason Motorsport are very proud to again have the support of BNT, Dunlop, B.W.O’Brien, ScottSpeed Performance Engines, Geartech, MCA Suspension, Hopper Construction, Race Brakes, Randall & Associates, Quality Foods and Tom’s Autos, without whose invaluable assistance they would not be able to be celebrating a decade at the top of NZ rallying.

 

 

 

Photo Caption:

‘BNT’ and Richard and Sara Mason finally take victory at Rally Whangarei.

Photo Credit – Geoff Ridder.

BNT MASON MOTORSPORT ALL SET FOR ANOTHER RECORD YEAR IN THE NZRC

 

 

As four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason embark this weekend on their tenth consecutive year as a leading contender in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by Vinz, a history-making fifth title is their major focus in 2014.

 

“The aim every time we start is to do our best and try and win, so a fifth championship is definitely the goal,” said Richard. “We had the speed last year to do it, and it was basically a puncture late in the final round that destroyed our chances of grabbing it.”

 

The Masterton Flyers will again pilot their familiar bright yellow BNT Subaru Impreza, which had fantastic pace during the 2013 season.

 

“We will start the year with the car the same as it ended last season,” said Richard. “It’s a proven package so we’re going to start with that for Whangarei and Otago. Then after Dunedin we’ll look to a few engine upgrades for a bit more speed.”

 

While Hayden Paddon is absent this year due to his WRC [World Rally Championship] commitments, there are a number of new entries and with other drivers stepping up to outright contention, the series is likely to be just as intense as ever.

 

“Actually, I think we’re in for a real treat of a year,” continued Richard. “There are a number of good drivers with good cars in the championship which is great, and they’re all capable of performing well. Sara and I are really excited to just get back into the BNT Subaru for the first round. It’s been six months since we were last in the car, so we’re really looking forward to getting into the event and back into competition.”

 

Crews have made the long trek north to Whangarei for this opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by Vinz, and ironically out of their record-setting 23 round wins so far, this is the only major rally that the Masons have not won….yet….

 

“We have always had good pace up here and I do enjoy the roads, but we’ve been let down by silly little things in the past. It sure would be good to turn that around and finally win it….And this time is even more important and poignant for us as we won’t have our friend, mentor, sponsor and most fervent supporter – Greg Horne – waiting for us at the end of each stage… that’s going to take a bit of getting used to… so we will certainly be racing to win in his memory this year….”

 

The event starts in Whangarei today - Friday 11 April - with a driver signing and ceremonial start at the Cameron Street mall from 3:30pm. The high-speed action begins on Saturday morning, taking teams into the Far North district for the first time, for six special stages, before returning to the city. From 7pm crews tackle the Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage - twice – at Whangarei’s William Fraser Memorial Park. After that the cars will be parked overnight before resuming competition early Sunday morning. Another six stages on more familiar roads south of Whangarei lie in wait before they return to the Quayside Town Basin for a ceremonial finish from 3pm.

 

BNT Mason Motorsport are very proud to again have the support of BNT, Dunlop, B.W.O’Brien, ScottSpeed Performance Engines, Geartech, MCA Suspension, Hopper Construction, Race Brakes, Randall & Associates, Quality Foods and Tom’s Autos, without whose invaluable assistance they would not be able to be celebrating a decade at the top of NZ rallying.