Motorsport Ayson enjoys test in Escort

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Gore rally driver Derek Ayson blew away the cobwebs with a charity run at the Chloris Pass Rallysprint, near Owaka.

The event on Saturday acted as a perfect warm-up for Ayson leading up to the Otago Rally in two weeks’ time.

“It was a good shakedown for the car. So far it seems to be going good. It is a good shakedown event since it has undergone a complete rebuild since the Silver Fern Rally,” Ayson said.

The 8.5km course was tackled both ways and Ayson covered the course in about five minutes each way.

Gravel spray . . .Derek Ayson, with charity co-driver Sue Clearwater, slides his Escort through a corner on the Chloris Pass Rallysprint.PHOTO: BECKY LADBROOK-FAST EXPOSURE

For one of the runs, his co-driver was Sue Clearwater. She won the opportunity to ride with Ayson in a charity auction at the Dairy Heifer awards supporting the Southland Rural Support Trust.

rally car; she has been a passenger in her partner, David McLean’s, Starlet.

The Starlet and Ayson’s Escort provided different challenges.

“It [the Starlet] was front-wheel drive in comparison to rear-wheel drive, which meant it [the Escort] was a lot more tail-happy,” Mrs Clearwater said.

However, she felt comfortable riding in the Escort.

“Derek has become such a legend in this car – he can drive it so well.”