Second place ‘a fantastic result’

Making a splash . . .Brett Maddren pushed his Toyota Starlet to the limit as he sought to win the 2WD Rally Challenge in the final round held in Tauranga and Whakatāne last weekend. PHOTOS: GEOFF RIDDER PHOTOGRAPHY

Temuka rally driver Brett Maddren was pipped at the post, missing out on a first 2WD Rally Challenge championship by only 25 seconds.

Competing for the championship in Tauranga and Whakatāne last weekend, Maddren pulled out all the stops, winning five of the 11 stages, but it was not quite enough.

Maddren said they were very competitive.

‘‘We ended up coming second in the championship but that’s OK — it’s always a little bit disappointing not to win but second is still a fantastic result for us.’’

Alongside co-driver Erik Johnsson, Maddren started the day at 6.10am, finishing stage 1 with a 4-second lead over eventual winner Jared Parker from Christchurch.

Maddren would then go on to win the next two stages increasing the lead to 11 seconds over his championship rival by the first service.

There were then three repeated stages and Parker began to claw back the lead, beating Maddren and crew on the first run by 12 seconds.

By the next stage the two were 0.1 seconds apart in favour of Maddren.

On the podium . . . Celebrating success after a close-fought race are (from left) Andrew Brooks (3rd), Kyle Shears and Jared Parker (1st) and Brett Maddren and Erik Johnsson (2nd)

He said it was a real see-saw battle all day.

‘‘We’d win one but we wouldn’t win by much — it’d be like 2.2 seconds or 5 seconds.’’

It was at TECT Park, however, that Parker would finally pull away, winning their class by 25 seconds on that stage.

With two stages to go at that point Maddren said they just did not have enough kilometres left to peg it back.

He said that it was a taxing effort to get through it all.

‘‘Mentally, physically and financially it was taxing, but I don’t regret it. It was my one shot at a national championship and I had to go for it.

‘‘We gave it our all — it was as fast as that little green car could go.’’

In the past month Maddren believed he had travelled about 3000km just to compete in the rallies not including the actual races.

He said he really just felt incredibly grateful.

‘‘I’m really appreciative of everyone who has helped me. A lot of people have put money into this, not just the sponsor.

‘‘My wife put her own money into this, Scott put his own money into this, Erik has put money into this. It really has been a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without the support of those people.

‘‘It’s pretty humbling and I’m so grateful for everyone’s support.’’

Maddren will now turn his attention to co-driving when he takes the seat beside friend Scott Melville at the ENZED Otago Lawrence Rally in three weeks’ time.