Garry Cliff of Christchurch is a well-known name in New Zealand motorsport. He has been involved in rallying, circuit racing, endurance racing, targa events and there have been some remarkable cars and plenty of success along the way.
Cliff takes up the story and outlines some of his personal highlights. “My first rally was the Shell Triple 100 Canterbury Rally in 1973 in a Mini. I led the class until stage two or three when I blew a CV and was out.”
Cliff got right into rallying and competed in many of the old Heatway International Rally’s before he took a break from the sport for a time as his two children were born before making a comeback.
“Over my entire career I have won seven rallies outright and have had forty-two cars over the forty-seven years that I have competed,” says Cliff. “I won the 0-1300cc class in the Mainland Rally Championship in a Datsun and was eighth overall in the Mainland Series in 1990 and won the 2-wheel-drive 1301-1600cc class when I had my Toyota AE86 and Jeff Judd was my co-driver. I won various other classes in the Mainland Series over the years. In 1995 I was second in the Street Skills Championship in an EVO. I won the Motorsport NZ New Zealand Clubmans 4-wheel-drive championship in 1999 as well.”
To demonstrate his versatility Cliff has also driven a Formula Ford at classic street racing events such as Waimate, Queenstown and Dunedin and he has also competed in single seater race cars such as a March 77B, Ralt RT4 and a Formula Holden.
In Endurance racing he has partnered with fellow Cantabrian Hayden Knighton in a Porsche and had some success in Honda’s including a win in the 0-2000cc class in the South Island Endurance Series and was also third overall in the series.
With Catlins looming Cliff also recalls the Eastern Southland Car Club Gore Rally’s, “I really enjoyed them,” he says. He also competed in a lot of Southland Rally’s when part of the National Championship many years ago.
“I’ve done quite a few Catlins Rally’s too, I’ve had the Nissan 240RS and the 160J which I still own there.” This year Garry will drive his Subaru Impreza H6 in which he had a reasonably fast roll at South Canterbury recently. “I have just got back from Australia but the boys tell me it will be ready and I will be there. I enjoy Class E, it is a bit of fun. It is hard to beat the turbo cars but I am looking to finish in the top three of the class.”
This year’s Catlins Coast Rally is the fifth and final round of the Mainland Rally Series and part of the Eastern Southland Car Club Rally Championship.
The Eastern Southland Car Club is delighted to have the support of the Clutha Licensing Trust through their Rosebank Lodge Balclutha establishment, plus Southroads, Owaka Motors, Yuasa Batteries and Stadium Finance. The club is also especially grateful to Rayonier Matariki Forests and the Clutha District Council for their assistance with the event.