Local rally driver receives top motorsport award

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National rally champion Ben Hunt beat out international driver Hayden Paddon to receive the Rally Founders Trophy at MotorSport New Zealand’s annual awards gala dinner.

Held at Te Papa in Wellington on Saturday, the annual MotorSport New Zealand awards recognise the achievements of competitors, officials, volunteers and media at all levels of four-wheeled motor sports in New Zealand.

Ben was presented with the Rally Founders trophy for the first time in recognition of his professionalism and performance in winning the 2015 New Zealand Rally Championship.

Inaugurated in 1990, the Rally Founders trophy, recognises the rally driver who performs with distinction during the rally season, either nationally and/or internationally; has a sportsman-like attitude towards the sport and others, and displays the qualities of a true sporting ambassador. Hunt got the nod ahead of fellow nominees Tauranga’s Phil Campbell and Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon who has won the Rally Founders trophy six times previously and continues to compete at home as his World Rally Championship schedule allows.

Outgoing MotorSport New Zealand president Shayne Harris says, “We present nearly 60 trophies and awards during this very special celebration of New Zealand motorsport, from our grassroots competition with hillclimbs and clubsport events right through to the highest tiers of world motorsport.

“With the four premier awards – the Jim Clark trophy, the Rally Founders trophy, the Steel memorial trophy and the Lupp trophy – we celebrate the best of the best in New Zealand motorsport.”

See www.motorsport.org.nz for a full list of this year’s MotorSport New Zealand awards.