A TRIO of rally crews will be heading to New Zealand later this month for the week-long Silver Fern Historic Rally.

The race sees drivers compete over eight days using classic stages once used on Rally New Zealand including the famous 28 miles of Motu Road, made famous by Colin McRae.

Roger Chilman together with co-driver Max Freeman will tackle the event for the first time in his Escort RS1800 freshly prepared by Meirion Evans of Wales Motorsport.

Hereford farmer Chilman has been sponsored by Securcom, Morspan, Connop, and Haywood Demolition for the trip as well as Pirelli tyres

Chilman said: "This event wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of my sponsor's, it's a huge investment to get here.

"This is an amazing adventure for us, a trip into the unknown, but I plan to start steadily and increase my speed steadily. A lot of the other UK competitors have experience of the event, so i want to pace myself, but i will be looking for a top five finish."

Joining Chilman will be Hereford businessman Ken Davis with Alan Jones in their KGD Services Toyota Corolla AE86.

The two veteran campaigners are usually seen in their Volvo Amazon in British events.

They have had a fantastic year wining the HRCR Stage Masters Championship.

Jones has been crowned Welsh Historic co-drivers Champion, with Davis winning his class, and further success has come on the Pirelli Welsh National series with class honours for both of them.

Jones is in his 47th year of competition after starting racing in 1972 and has sat next to some of Herefordshire's best drivers over his long career.

Despite their experience this will be the duo's first trip to the event.

The third local team will see Ross-on-Wye co-driver Paul Morris team up with regular driver Simon Tysoe in the Jondel Race Engines backed Escort RS.

This will be Morris' second attempt at the event, but Tysoe's fifth, and they will be chasing a top finish.

Morris missed half of this year with a serious leg injury but will return from New Zealand, and go straight to the Grizedale Stages to co-drive for Steve Black.

Despite being half way across the world the driving will suit their styles being similar to the Welsh forests.