GoPro Daybreaker Rally Goes Back to the Future

Press Release - 1 August 2014

This year it is back to the future for the GoPro Daybreaker Rally, as the event looks to create a modern take on the epic adventures of the 1980s and 90s. Back in the days when the Daybreaker was famous for a midnight start and 400km of competition in a day, it was an achievement just to finish the event. Now in 2014 the event is recapturing some of that spirit.

However times have changed since the turn of the century, and like many sports, the events have become shorter and more compact. Night stages in rallying are a rarity, and a one day event typically is 130 to 160km of competition. Plus the introduction of safety notes, and the desire for competitors to reconnoitre the competition roads beforehand have all helped to change the dynamic of the sport.

Ben Hunt on his way to winning the Daybreaker in 2013.
Photo Credit: Jody Seabright

Then there are the marathon events that tend to cater for classic drivers, and their cars. Held over 4 or 5 days, these are a test of man machine and endurance. However there is nothing in between these two extremes. A rally event that provides a one day challenge that is an adventure, without the cost and commitment of a multi day event. An event where the weekend warrior and a national champion can compete side by side and feel the same satisfaction of achievement, just for having finished.

It is here that the GoPro Daybreaker Rally is stepping up to provide the challenge, and live up to its famous name. Starting from Palmerston North at 3.50am, the competitors will take in two night stages on their way towards Taihape, as day breaks over the back country. A loop of stages around Taihape and then back to Palmerston North, via Apiti, sees the teams take in a total of 205km of competition over 11 gravel road stages.

Not quite the epic events of last century, but a real challenge for the modern competitor and machinery. “We have been looking at running an event like this for some time”, says Rally Chairman John Clunie. “Especially as the number of people asking us when we were going to get back to the good old days was starting to mount. It took some work by our team but we are pleased to be able to provide another unique event on the rally calendar”.

With the event also being the final round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, driven by VINZ, there were a number of logistical issues to get right. The balance between distance, time, and resources has been key to ensuring it is an enjoyable event for all, including those doing a one pass reconnaissance the day before. “We believe we have got it right”, says Rally Secretary Bruce Sollitt. “The high level of interest from competitors and entries that have already started rolling in suggests that many are up for this challenge”.

With the event regulations and entry forms now available for the September 27 event, the opportunity for the competitors to step up is now open. “We are using many of the great rally roads around Taihape that haven’t been used in competition for years”, says Clerk of the Course Dave Davies. “They are some of the best roads in the country and just getting onto those is reason enough to enter”.

Event information and official forms are available from the rally web site.

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