Rally to visit Gore in real, and virtual, life

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One of the many attractions when the Silver Fern Rally stops overnight in Gore will be virtual reality driving. The technology, developed by rally driver Rhys Gardner, of the Catlins, allowed people to use a virtual reality headset to navigate a rally course on screen, Gore District Council events and promotions coordinator Emma Carle said. ‘‘It will be you actually driving,’’ Ms Carle said. ‘‘It’s quite a cool opportunity to have a go.’’ Gardener said the driver could sit in a rally car and use the vehicle’s controls to navigate the course. While the vehicle was stationary, the driver could experience the rally in virtual reality, he said.  ‘‘It’s quite different, it’s quite realistic,’’ Gardener said. Competitors will stop overnight in the Gore district for the first time since the Silver Fern Rally began in 1969. Organisers expect aninflux of about 300 people into the district, Ms Carle said. The rally, which starts and finishes in Christchurch, will roll into town on December 1. About 50 cars, with drivers and co-drivers, including about 18 internationals, plus support crews, are expected for the event. It runs from November 27 to December 4. Gore is the southernmost overnight stop. Three local stages will be held in the district before vehicles head back to Dunedin. Derek Ayson, of Gore, Highlands Motorsport Park owner Tony Quinn and 2014 Silver Fern Rally winner Vince Bristow are among the competitors this year. This is the first year Ayson has entered the rally. The rally cars will congregate at the trout in Gore from 6pm until 8pm on December 1, Ms Carle said. ‘‘It is really exciting to have an event of this magnitude. ‘‘It isan international event,’’ Ms Carle said. There would be an opportunity for businesses to capitalise on the event, she said.