Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Rally driver auctions cars after cheating death

Gordon Finlay is treated by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew after crashing his Toyota Rally car during a Thames Car Club event in February. Photo / Westpac Rescue Helicopter
Gordon Finlay is treated by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew after crashing his Toyota Rally car during a Thames Car Club event in February. Photo / Westpac Rescue Helicopter

A novice rally driver has put his two high-performance racing cars up for sale after cheating death in an horrific crash just five months ago.

Gordon Finlay is walking away from his bucket list hobby after crashing into a pine tree at speed during a club run on rally legend Rod Millen's Hahei driveway.

The property developer is so grateful to the Westpac emergency rescue helicopter crew he plans to donate proceeds from an online auction of the badly-damaged car, its trailer and a second pristine rally vehicle to keep the operation in the air over the Coromandel.

It was the second time airborne parademics had come to his aid after earlier suffering an heart attack.


Gordon Finlay's Toyota rally car seen after the crash.

Photo / Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Within days of going online the auction had received more than 21,000 views. Bidding had shot up to $6000.00 for the wreck and his 1969 Mark II Ford Escort was sitting at $5,010.

The property developer, who has on-going effects from concussion and broken ribs, was pulled from his mangled 1984 Toyota Sprinter after losing control on the private 1.6 km gravel race track in February.

Westpac emergency parademic Bruce Kerr, who tended the seriously injured driver, said had it not been for the racing helmet, roll cage and harness seat belt system Finlay would have not survived.


Gordon Finlay is treated by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew after crashing his Toyota Rally car during a Thames Car Club event in February of this year. Photo / Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Now back at work building homes on the Pauanui Waterways, Finlay remembers little of the Saturday drive that nearly claimed his life.

"I don't remember the recky run," he said.

"I don't remember anything of it."

But the close call - and a stern word from wife Marilyn to sell the cars - has seen him quit the sport.

"My wife said they're both gone.

"It was part of my bucket list but that bucket got empty pretty quick."

He said he was now taking life at a slightly slower pace and enjoying time with extended family.

The auctions on the Trade Me and Turners websites run until August 6.

- Herald on Sunday

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