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Sloan Cox: a young man in a hurry

Sloan CoxThe youngest driver ever in the New Zealand Rally Championship, Sloan
Cox, will make his debut at the Rally of Otago in May, and looks set to
leave his mark on the Dunedin based event.

The 16-year old was only able to contest two of the six championship
rounds in 2007 as he wasn’t old enough to obtain an international
motorsport licence, but is champing at the bit ahead of his debut in
the Dunedin-based event.

Cox will be driving an ex-Dean Sumner Mitsubishi Evolution in the event, and will be co-driven by his sister, 18-year old Tarryn. Sloan is in Year 12 at the John Paul College in Rotorua, while Tarryn is attending the University of Auckland studying a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry).

They both started competing at the age of 12, competing in club events in an ex-Suzuki Baleno Cup car.

The pair obviously have immense rallying talent, as the following bios highlight:

Tarryn Cox co-drives for her brother.Tarryn Cox co-drives for her brother.“Tarryn, at 13, sat beside her dad, Steve, calling pace notes at national events, including the Rally of Rotorua four times, mastering the amazing Motu stages.  At 15, she  entered her first national event in an Lancer RS Evo 3 (ex-Leanne Barnes), but after competing in two rounds, she decided her real passion lay in the co-driver’s seat.

At 13, Sloan had outgrown the Baleno and moved up into the Evo 3, still learning and developing his style.  At 14, Sloan was allowed behind the wheel of Dad’s high-powered (tarmac designed) 4WD 2000cc turbocharged Nissan Pulsar GTIR ,and a number of successes followed on tarmac, with second and third placings at local hillclimb club events.

When he was 15 he got his National Race and Rally Licence, so a decision had to be made as to the best direction to take for Sloan and Tarryn’s potential motorsport careers.

The family decided to go to the top of their sport and enter the New Zealand Rally Championship. Unfortunately Sloan was only able to do two rounds due to not being old enough to get an International Licence.

Sloan Cox with the ex-Sumner Lancer.Sloan Cox with the ex-Sumner Lancer.A new car was purchased to meet Group N requirements – Dean Sumner’s Mitsubishi Evo 8. Dean had little problems with the car during the 2006 NZRC and had won Rally Nelson in the car. Dean and his co-driver, Paul Fallon, mentored Sloan and Tarryn through the 2007 NZRC series.

Sloan, at 15, tested his new car at Dale Perry’s Rally Drive Advance course at the beginning of 2007 and felt really comfortable behind the wheel.

His first rally was the Tauranga Clubman’s Rally. Dad Steve sat beside him because pacenotes weren’t being used. They finished a respectable 15th out of 61 cars.

Sloan and Tarryn’s first rally together was the Clubman’s Rally of Whangarei, held over two days. They finished 11th out of 41 cars.

Finally, their debut in the NZRC Rally of Wairarapa had arrived. They were under strict instructions to keep it on the road as too many people were observing them, waiting to see if they would slip up. To their credit, they bought the car home after two days, in 14th out of 29 NZRC cars (19 out of 75 overall). Their second, and last, NZRC outing for the year was Rally Hawkes Bay where they finished 13th out of 29 cars (22nd out of 78 overall).

2007 bought a number of successes for Sloan, as follows:

3rd overall NZ Clubsport Hillclimb Champion (1st junior)
1st Te Tuhi Road Tarmac Hillclimb
1st Thames Valley Road Tarmac Hillclimb
Rotorua Car Club 1st junior driver and 2nd 2007 Car Club Champion

And finally, at 16, Sloan’s first win on gravel during 2007 was on the Manawahe Hillclimb, ahead of Dean Sumner and Dave Loughlin.  This was followed by four more wins in a row.

2008 will see Sloan and Tarryn contesting all rounds in the New Zealand Rally Championship, and they are aiming for a top 10 finish overall.

They are hoping their results for the year will help secure sponsors and are working extremely hard towards their goal of competing next year in the junior WRC. We believe Sloan and Tarryn’s natural abilities in the car, coupled with the young brother/sister package is a good step in the right direction.”

Sloan Cox in action in his Lancer.Sloan Cox in action in his Lancer.As well as being the second round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, the 2008 Otago Rally will include the Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago, and the Rally Xtreme which will allow any vehicle to be part of the field.

This year’s rally will entail 13 special stages covering a total competitive distance of 258km. As well as two days of flat-out competition, a high-profile pre-event Motor Show will be held on the Friday night, enabling competitors to display their cars in front of a large crowd of spectators and rally fans.

Photos courtesy of:
Clubsport News and Lenz Photography.

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