Many years ago Southlanders, Nigel King and Andrew Whyte, were a driver and co-driver pairing in local rallies. Wind the clock forward more than twenty years and now it is their respective sons, nineteen–year–old Brayden King and eighteen-year-old Jordyn Whyte about to compete together in their first ever rally – the Catlins Coast Rally this Saturday. Their dads are both still about too and both will be close to the action on the day.
Despite the new generation, again it will be King driving with Whyte in the co-driver’s seat. Both boys have known each other since childhood and both have had experience driving in clubsport events such as sprints and autocross events plus rallysprints. However this will be the first rally for both and King will drive a Toyota Starlet on Saturday, the car which he and his father have been driving in clubsport events.
Asked for the highlight of his short career, Brayden immediately replies, “beating Dad,” indicating the rivalry between father and son when they share the car at events. When asked how the partnership between he and Jordyn came about he continues, “Jordyn and I are good mates and we both wanted to rally. We got a car first, so Jordyn said he would co-drive at Catlins with me. I have watched the rally three times and I know a few of the corners. The goal is to finish without bending it and to improve throughout the day.”
Meanwhile Jordyn and his dad, Andrew, have a Mitsubishi Mirage that they too have been sharing in sprints and autocross events. Jordyn remembers his father co-driving when he was young but mainly with Raimon Wilkinson later on in his co-driving days. Jordyn has been watching the Catlins Rally every year since he was about seven years old and he shares Brayden’s wishes for the event, “to get to the finish and keep it in one piece.”
Brayden’s dad Nigel is assisting the boys while Andrew, Jordyn’s father, will be in the car immediately behind them on the road in his first ever rally drive. Andrew first co-drove with Brayden’s father in the early 1990’s and went on to co-drive for others before his last rally at Catlins in 2006.
Ironically this will also be his first drive in a rally. “I have driven in sprints, motorkhana’s and autocross in a Corolla but now that we have the Mirage the intention is that we will share it in events. At Whare Flat he beat me – the first couple of runs were close and then he went a lot faster than me.” Scott Tilson will co-drive for Andrew this weekend while the intention is for Jordyn to drive the car in the Eastern Southland Car Club’s Club Rally and also the Lawrence Rally later in the season. Andrew’s goal for Catlins is the same as the young duo ahead of him – “to make sure I get through, get to the end in one piece with no damage. I’m not out to break any records.”
Brayden and Jordyn in the Starlet have support from Invercargill Tractor Servicing & Repairs, Hecton Products, Insignia Signs and Strang Automotive while ST Trailers will sponsor Andrew’s effort this weekend.
The Catlins Coast Rally will begin adjacent to Owaka Motors in Campbell Street, Owaka, at 10am on Saturday 11 August with competitors facing six high speed Special Stages over a total of 150 kilometres before the event concludes in Owaka at 3.44pm. The rally is Round 6 of the MRF Tyres Mainland Rally Championship and part of the Eastern Southland Car Club Rally Championship.