Mon, 16 Nov 2020 - Van Gisbergen stuns field to win Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge

Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen produced a stunning drive on Sunday to win the inaugural Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge after beating Phil Campbell in the head-to-head final.

The 2020 Bathurst winner had been fast all day, showcasing his phenomenal and adaptable talent behind the wheel of any car, and threw down a staggering time of 1.20.00 in the final.

Campbell fought valiantly but wasn’t able to match Van Gisbergen in front of a capacity 5,000-strong crowd in the stunning Whitford location.

Earlier WRC star Hayden Paddon had set the record time during the early runs before he made a small mistake towards the end of his top-eight run and clipped the bank, which fired him into a roll and out of the event.

Paddon wasn’t hurt in the incident and graciously waved to fans that had come out to see him in action.

Event host Jack Hawkeswood was third after putting on a terrific show while the talented Matt Summerfield also bowed out in the top four.

Van Gisbergen proved a popular winner and said he’d love to do more rallying if his Supercars boss allows it.

“The whole few days has been really cool,” a delighted Van Gisbergen said. “I had a great time and learned a whole lot about rallying – a huge thanks to Dad, the Ralliart New Zealand team and my co-driver Brianna.”

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge proved a superb event. The purpose-built venue on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s property provided stunning views of Rangitoto Island and Hauraki Gulf while delivering a thorough test for drivers and cars.

The drama-filled day will no doubt have made for an entertaining spectacle for fans either at the venue or watching at home on Sky Sport.

Thu, 12 Nov 2020 - Two rally events in two days is Gilmour’s idea of an ideal weekend

Emma Gilmour is relishing the opportunity to compete in two, top-level national events this weekend, with the City of Auckland Rally on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge Rallysprint.

The Dunedin rally driver will head out on the 121km, eight-stage City of Auckland Rally after completing the two-pass recce this week. The final stage is Jacks Ridge, in Whitford, which was purpose-built as a power-stage for the 2020 WRC Rally New Zealand. This event was subsequently cancelled in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It features 6.3km of stunning gravel road, which rally competitors will drive on Saturday. Then on Sunday, its 2.2km spectacular, jump-filled, high-speed-cornered mid-section will form the Battle of Jacks Ridge Rallysprint stage.

Emma was involved in the Jacks Ridge promotional video and has seen the impressive piece of road first-hand.

“It's going to be very special to compete on a purpose built track in New Zealand's biggest city. The last time anything came close to Jacks Ridge was the Manukau WRC super special stage which was run about 15 years ago!” she says.

“The entry lists are extremely competitive both days and I can’t wait to compete against all the top national drivers again. This will be the first time this year that we’ve all been at the same event."

Earlier in 2020 Emma made some team changes and is enjoying having Choice Performance in Pukekohe looking after her Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki Swift AP4 car.

“It works really well and takes the pressure off me having to sort out the logistics side of running the team. Chris Little and his team have a lot of experience and have been involved with many top rally teams over the years.” Emma says.

After more than a decade of working with Australian co-drivers, she decided to keep it Kiwi for 2020 and has enlisted Cambridge-based Malcolm Peden to call her pace notes. Having started competing in 2003 and with co-driving experience in New Zealand and in Asia Pacific Rally Championship events, Malcolm was an obvious choice.

Malcolm says he was excited to receive the call-up to read Emma’s pace notes.

“With the car running right this season, Emma has shown very good pace. She already had a well-developed notes system, which makes my job much easier.”

The pair obviously work well together as they have achieved runner-up positions in two rallysprints – in Whanganui and Matamata - and also notched up a third in the Rally Bay of Plenty in October. “It’s been great to be back driving the Suzuki. I’m really enjoying it and we are having a good run this year. Being back on the podium last month has given me a taste for it again and that's where we want to be this weekend,” Emma says.

Emma would like to thank her sponsors Suzuki NZ, Vantage Windows and Doors, Gilmour Motors Suzuki, Koba Batteries, Rothbury Insurance Brokers, PPG Paint, Castrol, Würth, Hella, Uniform NZ, Provident, NGK Spark Plugs, Custom Signs, Modena Race Gears, Pure Sports Nutrition and Webdesign for supporting the team.

Tue, 10 Nov 2020 - Young wins West Australia Rally Championship

Kiwi Mike Young and Beckwith come from behind to be crowned West Australian Rally Champions November 9, 2020

 Mike Young and Scott Beckwith have clinched their first Western Australian Rally Championship amidst a dramatic year of COVID-19, close finishes and last-minute entries.  

What began as a one-off event at the Forest Rally in September, quickly turned into a stunning championship-winning season. Young’s clean sweep of victories proved his driving class, while also proving the speed and reliability of his Maximum Motorsport Subaru.  

Heading into yesterday’s Safari Darling Rally, Young’s absence at the championship’s first event meant he still had to rely on his rivals’ results while also winning the event himself. Fortunately for Young, however, luck was on his side early in the Jarrahdale event.  

On the first stage of the event, championship leader, and three-time WA champion, John O’Dowd, crashed out of the event, destroying his Skoda. “It was sad what happened to John, and while it made it easier for me to win the championship, it was pretty nerve racking, as I still had to stay ahead of Ben (Searcy) and finish the event,” Young commented.  

The Darling Safari Rally is a unique event in the championship, with no ‘pace notes’ allowed, meaning drivers are reacting to the road ahead as they see it, rather than relying on their notes from reconnaissance. “It was definitely very interesting doing a blind rally and no pace notes,” he said. “I went out and committed early on, as much as I could.”    

From that point on, all Young and Beckwith needed to do was win, and win they duly did. It wasn’t all plain sailing, however.  

“We managed to build a one and half minute gap over the first four stages, which is just as well – we had a small issue in stage five,” he explained. “It was very dusty and I lost where the next corner was and planted a tree stump head-on. “I thought everything was all over as I was sure I’d smashed up the radiator – throwing away the championship. Luckily for Scott and I, the Maximum Motorsport Subaru has got a nice big bar on the front that protects the radiator from any damage. We were able to continue, and only lost 20 seconds or so.”  

 From that point on, Young and Beckwith sealed their victory and the illustrious state title. “A big thank-you to the team and Scott for their contribution this year,” Young added. “We hadn’t planned to do all the rallies, but once we won the first event, we thought we’d better continue! “I want to say a big thank you to Maximum Motorsport for making the opportunity possible,” he concluded.  

Co-driver Beckwith was ecstatic with the result. “We went into today needing some luck and things to fall our way, and the rally Gods smiled in us twice. Very disappointed for John and Toni, but it gave Mike and I the opportunity to win the championship. And then we had a little off ourselves and got away with it, so a few heartstopping moments!”  

“This is the realisation of a lifelong dream for me” said Beckwith. “Until three months ago I had never won an event outright, and now Mike and I have won three and the championship. We are very excited, and very grateful to the Maximum team and all our sponsors who made this possible.”  

While Young’s 2020 rally season is finished, the Asia Pacific Rally Championship regular will turn his attention to next season’s rally plans, and with his experience growing, he will be looking for another strong and successful season.  

Mike Young Motorsport has been sponsored this year by Cusco, Dunlop, Maximum Motorsport, Morley Tyre Centre, Humble Bee Finance, Montague Partners,Powerplay Perth, Dunsborough Holiday Homes, GO Logistics, Yoda Rallying and APSM.

Mon, 9 Nov 2020 - Finnish great to contest 2021 Otago Rally

Finnish World Rally Championship legend, Mikko Hirvonen, will contest next year’s International Classic Otago Rally in a huge coup for the New Zealand event.  

The winner of 15 World Rally Championship (WRC) events, Hirvonen retired from the top level of rallying at the end of the 2014 season, but will drive a Ford Escort RS1800 for the Rossendale Wines team in the Dunedin based event.

Hirovnen's entry into the event will be subject to COVID-19 restrictions allowing for his entry into New Zealand at the time.  

The 40-year old is looking forward tackling the famous South Island rally for the first time. “I have been aware of the Otago Classic Rally for a number of years, and it has always been an event that I wanted to do one day,” Hirvonen said. “I have competed in Rally New Zealand many times, but have never competed on the South Island roads.  

“The attraction of competing on these roads in a legendary BDA Escort is irresistible.  

“For sure, I will be aiming to win, but I am looking forward to also visiting this beautiful area and mixing with the local competitors,” he added. 

Hirvonen drove for the Ford, Citroen, Subaru and Skoda teams during his 13 years in the WRC, and now owns his own Ford Escort RS1800 that he competes in regularly.  

Otago Rally spokesman, Roger Oakely, said that the event was thrilled to be welcoming another world-class rally driver to the event.  

“We are excited to receive Mikko's entry, as he has a fabulous record in the World Championship and our fans our in for a treat of world class driving on world class roads,” Oakely said.

“New Zealand competitors will have a real benchmark to compare themselves to.

“Mikko is known for being very approachable and likeable, and we are delighted to welcome him to the Otago Rally.

Oakley added that the event will be monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely over the coming months.

"We recognise that the extraordinary situation with COVID-19 means that plans may need to change at a later stage. 

Mikko and the Otago Rally will take a suitably precautionary approach if the COVID risk is uncertain".  

The Otago Rally has a history of attracting WRC stars to the event, including Bjorn Waldegard, Hannu Mikkola, Juha Kankkunen, Ari Vatanen, Miki Biasion, Didier Auriol, Michele Mouton and father and son, Jimmy and Alister McRae.

The 2019 Otago Classic Rally was won by Norwegian WRC star, Mads Ostberg, driving the same Escort that Hirvonen will drive next year. Ostberg contested the rally twice, as has Estonian Markko Martin in recent years. The 2021 Otago Rally will be held from April 16 to 18 next year.  

The Rally is grateful for the support of Dunedin City Council Premier Event funding.  

Wed, 7 Oct 2020 - Carter Strang top seed for Rankleburn Rally

Defending champion Carter Strang of Wallacetown and co-driver Stewart Robbie lead the seedings for the MLT/Heartland Hotels Ernslaw One Limited Rankleburn Rally 2020 this Saturday. The duo dominated last year’s event and are favourites again this year.

Invercargill driver Mark McMillan will be the second seed in his Subaru Legacy RS. McMillan, a very competitive driver in a Subaru Impreza WRX some years ago, has returned in recent years in a Subaru Legacy RS with a livery which pays tribute to the late Colin McRae, the 1995 World Rally Champion. Regular co-driver Murray Wright will sit alongside McMillan in the event.

Jeremy McIlwrick of Winton with Bradley Dawson in the co-driver seat is the third seed in his Mitsubishi EVO 4. McIlwrick was sixth in the event last year.

Fourth seed, Australian driver John Spencer now domiciled in Dunedin, has fashioned an outstanding record in a variety of cars on both sides of the Tasman. This year he is at the wheel of an EVO 7.

Regan Ross of Kaikoura is seeded at five in his Ford Escort MK2. Third in the recent Catlins Coast Rally in a Ford Fiesta R5, Ross returns south with the Ford Escort that he drove to sixth overall and first 2-wheel drive home in the 2019 Catlins Rally.

Richie and Rachel Chadwick of Dunedin are at six with their Toyota Levin. Winners of Class B at this event for the last two years and in the Catlins Rally in August, the duo should have a great duel in this year’s rally with fellow Class B competitor, tenth seed Dean Johnston of Christchurch, in his Toyota Starlet.

Seventh seed, Neville Krammer of Wallacetown, has scored numerous top three finishes at Rankleburn and will pilot a Subaru Impreza H6 with wife Hannah in the co-driver seat. Also in Subaru H6 cars are Mark Parsons of Drury near Auckland and Gore driver Paul Cross.  

The rally is a part of the club’s rally championship and will consist of four Special Stages.  

The event will be based at Telford Tops Road in the Rankleburn Forest, West Otago off River Road/Deviation Road Waipahi – West Otago Road and Young Road from the south, approximately one hour from Gore. From the north cross the Clutha River at Clydevale and head towards Beaumont. Turn left onto Pannets Road and continue onto Chapman Road through forestry. Turn up Telford Tops Road where the club will have a “motorsport’ sign. The venue is 35 minutes from Balclutha and will be signposted from State Highway 1. The action commences at 11am.  

The prizegiving to be held at the Heartland Hotels Croydon on the Main Queenstown Highway where bistro meals will be available. The first two stages utilise Manuka Road, 18.36 kilometres of predominantly fast road with a hard gravel base consisting of 85% forestry and 15% public road.

Special Stage 3, Greyburn 3, is a new stage this year over 20 kilometres with a similar split of forestry and public road. It is fast in parts but it will offer some slippery downhill clay patches early in the stage. The final stage, Kennedy, over 19.34km, was a new stage introduced last year which is fast in places and tight and twisty in others.

Lindsay Beer

Mon, 28 Sep 2020 - Repco Signs on as Naming Right for The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge!

New Zealand’s largest auto parts and car accessories retailer Repco has come onboard as the naming rights sponsor of the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge in November.

With over 90 stores nationwide and nearly a century of history behind it, the brand has been a long-time supporter of Kiwi motorsport events across all formats.

Repco has been a previous naming rights sponsor of Rally New Zealand and has recently announced a new deal to sponsor the Supercars Championship in Australia as well as the iconic Bathurst 1000.

“Repco has been proudly associated with rally on New Zealand’s epic gravel roads for many years including the Race to the Sky and the Repco Westland Rally,” Executive General Manager of Repco, Jonathon Maddren said. 

“The fantastic new track at Jacks Ridge is going to be a spectator’s dream so we’re really excited to be involved."

“The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge is set to be an event every motorsport fan is going to love and with this field of drivers the Battle is on!” 

Rally New Zealand chairman Peter Johnston said the partnership was a natural fit.

“Repco have been tremendous supporters of motorsport in New Zealand for a very long time and were quick to jump at the opportunity to partner with us for this exciting event.“

"We really think this is going to be a rally sprint that will take the sport to new levels and we look forward to sharing that journey with our friends at Repco.”

Meanwhile tickets for the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge go on sale on Sunday night, starting as low as $30. 

With a star-studded field already confirmed and a whole day of entertainment there is great value to be had whether you are GA ticket holder, watching the action from Jacks VIP Bar or a guest in the Hospitality Village.

Numbers are limited and are expected to sell fast so fans are encouraged to secure their spot without delay. There is a likely chance that the event will sell out.

The Jacks Ridge WRC Power-Stage has been built around the natural landscape of former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford property, utilising the undulations, ridges and valleys of the Whitford private property in which it sits. 

It has been described as “amazing to drive” by the few drivers that have been privileged to sample the course while the view for the fans is simply mind-blowing.  

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.Check out the awesome teaser video below. 

Thu, 24 Sep 2020 - Major Driver Announcement - Shane van Gisbergen

Kiwi Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen has committed to entering the Battle of Jacks Ridge in November and will take on the best rally drivers in the country at their own game.

The 2016 Supercars champion has been one of the most successful drivers of the past decade and is renowned for his unique ability to drive any kind of car on any kind of event competitively.

While circuit racing is clearly the 31-year-old’s forte, Van Gisbergen started out in speedway, motocross and karts while he’s enjoyed plenty of success drifting in recent years.

His father Robert was a well-known and talented rally driver and Shane has often expressed an interest in competing on gravel.

With the unique situation COVID-19 has forced upon the sport, Van Gisbergen will be able to return to New Zealand after this year’s Bathurst 1000 race, quarantine for 14 days before tackling the Battle of Jacks Ridge.

“It is pretty cool and something I grew up with,” Van Gisbergen said. “I remember playing in the mud at Dad’s rallies and at rally sprints and stuff and always watching and loving it.

“It was something I never really got the chance to do when I was young – I did a lot of gymkhana and sprints and stuff but never really did a proper rally so it is pretty exciting that our season finishes early so I can come to New Zealand and do some cool events.

“It was a shame Rally New Zealand didn’t happen for all these reasons going on in the world at the moment but the alternative we have got in the City of Auckland Rally and Battle of Jacks Ridge is pretty special and I am looking forward to getting there.”

The Red Bull Holden racer grew up just down the road from the purpose-built Jacks Ridge stage on 2017 national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford property.

He has yet to see the exact layout but knows the countryside well having learned to drive on father Robert’s farm a couple of kilometres away.

“I have run past it and run past the quarry where he is developing it but I haven’t been there,” the 31-year-old said.  “I have seen what has come out in the media the last few months – it looks pretty awesome.“

There are some good jumps and cool corners and I think it will be a good show for spectators with some great spots to watch.

”The opportunity to go rallying is something Van Gisbergen has long pondered. While the stars have aligned to allow him to take part in this event, he admits there is a temptation to do more rallying in the coming years.“

I have no expectations on how it is going to go but for sure when the helmet comes on and I’m at the start line I will have a good go at it,” Van Gisbergen said.

“At the same time I will stick within my limits – it is a bit different to anything I have ever done.“

At least you get a few goes at it to learn the track limits.

“For sure I would love to keep doing it. I am sure I will enjoy it and we will see if anything comes of it.“I just want to go there and have some fun and have a play around back at home.“It is something we have tried to do for a few years – I’ve had a few tests in AP4 cars and things like that.“Hopefully I can do some more in the future but this will be a good start point.”The Battle of Jacks Ridge on Sunday November 15 is attracting a phenomenal field of drivers and the event will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.With technical corners, full commitment jumps and stunning spectator viewing, the Battle of Jacks Ridge promises to be the best domestic rally event ever staged in New Zealand.  

Thu, 24 Sep 2020 - Major Driver Announcements - Battle of Jacks Ridge

BEN HUNT

Defending national rally champion Ben Hunt will contest the Battle of Jacks Ridge in November in his Subaru WRX.

The two-time national champion was nearly untouchable during the 2019 season – winning five of the six rounds and leading the sixth event by a large margin before mechanical trouble ended his bid for a perfect season.

He will look to carry that form into a battle with World Rally Championship star Hayden Paddon and the who’s who of New Zealand rallying in what promises to be an epic showdown on the purpose-built stage in Whitford on Sunday November 15.

JACK HAWKESWOOD

The event and location are named in his honour but Jack Hawkeswood is playing down talk he will be the man to beat at the Battle of Jacks Ridge in November.

Jack’s father – 2017 national rally champion Andrew Hawkeswood – and his wife named the Whitford farm after their son Jack and have developed a world class special stage on farmland in the middle of the Auckland region and within minutes of the CBD.

It was set to house the World Rally Championship when it returned to New Zealand for the first time since 2012 but COVID-19 forced that event to be cancelled.

That gave birth to the idea of the Battle of Jacks Ridge, which will see competitors use 3km of the 6km-long stage in rally sprint format on Sunday November 15.

IAN FFITCH

New Zealand’s top rally drivers will have a custom-built quad bike piloted by renowned rider Ian Ffitch nipping at their heels at November’s Battle of Jacks Ridge.

While World Rally Championship star Hayden Paddon, event host Jack Hawkeswood and reigning New Zealand Rally champion Ben Hunt loom as obvious contenders at the November 15 event in Auckland, Ffitch could well be a dark horse on his hill climb special.

“It is called the BRM1000 that was created way back in 2003 for Race to the Sky,” Ffitch explained.

“It is powered by V6R1000 road bike engine.“Ninety percent of it is custom-built around that engine. It started off as an original 500CC two-stroke frame that we grafted the engine into.

KINGSLEY JONES

Papakura’s Kingsley Jones is the latest leading New Zealand Rally Championship contender to commit to November’s Battle of Jacks Ridge in Auckland. Former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood built the stage on his Whitford property to initially be the centrepiece of the World Rally Championship Rally New Zealand event that had been set to run in September, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

While the full stage is over 6km long the Battle of Jacks Ridge takes place on just half that with high speed cambered gravel roads, spectacular jumps and technical corners set to test drivers.  

Jones will see the event as a bit of a local rally given his close proximity to the Whitford farm where the Battle of Jacks Ridge will take place and is chomping at the bit to get his Skoda Fabian R5 out to take on his rivals.

EMMA GILMOUR

Leading New Zealand Read the Rally Championship contender Emma Gilmour will line-up for the Battle of Jacks Ridge in November with her Suzuki.  

The NZRC event winner will make the trek north from her Dunedin base to take part in the City of Auckland Rally on November 14 before tackling the purpose-built Jacks Ridge stage a day later along with a stellar field where she should be right in the mix.

 

South Auckland local and leading New Zealand Rally Championship figure Dylan Turner has confirmed his entry into the Battle of Jacks Ridge and will loom as a major contender in his Audi S1 AP4.  

Pukekohe-based Turner has proven to be a major player at the front of NZRC events in recent seasons with his full commitment seeing him battle the country’s best over the past couple of years.

Recent Results
PosDriverTotal 
1New ZealandHayden Paddon1:05:52.2
2New ZealandRaana Horan+2:40.8
3New ZealandDylan Turner+3:18.6
4New ZealandEmma Gilmour+3:18.9
5New ZealandGraham Featherstone+4:08.9
6New ZealandHaydn Mackenzie+4:10.7
7New ZealandTodd Bawden+4:21.1
8New ZealandKingsley Jones+4:22.3
8New ZealandGrant Blackberry+4:22.3
10New ZealandQuentin Palmer+4:50.7
11New ZealandPhil Campbell+4:53.5
12New ZealandGlenn Inkster+5:26.4
13New ZealandMatthew Jensen+5:46.2
14New ZealandClint Cunningham+6:18.6
15New ZealandShane van Gisbergen+6:26.5
16New ZealandDavid Sievers+6:32.0
17New ZealandJack Hawkeswood+6:50.0
18New ZealandDylan Thomson+7:36.5
19New ZealandAndy Martin+7:41.3
20New ZealandJay Sharp+8:12.3
PosDriverTotal 
1New ZealandAndrew Graves32:01.0
2New ZealandJob Quantock+9.4
3New ZealandJohn Spencer+42.1
4New ZealandMark McMillan+1:09.8
5New ZealandJonty Brenssell+1:33.2
6New ZealandTim Smith+1:33.7
7New ZealandJeremy McIlwrick+1:35.9
8New ZealandDavid Clearwater+1:46.2
9New ZealandMark Parsons+2:04.5
10New ZealandJeff Judd+2:04.7
11New ZealandRay Wilson+2:09.8
12New ZealandJohn Giltrap+2:14.8
13New ZealandRichie Chadwick+2:15.6
14New ZealandPaul Cross+2:17.5
15New ZealandIan Warren+2:24.6
16New ZealandTom Bond+2:35.8
17New ZealandRobbie Stokes+2:38.9
18New ZealandCarter Strang+2:57.0
19New ZealandJake Thomas+3:01.1
20New ZealandTaylor Judd+3:13.8
2020 Points
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandJosh Marston105
2New ZealandMarcus Van Klink79
3New ZealandRobbie Stokes74
4New ZealandMatt Summerfield64
5New ZealandDeane Buist59
6New ZealandSean Haggarty55
7New ZealandDave Ollis52
8New ZealandMark Parsons47
9New ZealandJohn Giltrap44
10New ZealandRegan Ross43
10New ZealandStephen Gill43
12New ZealandGaret Thomas38
13New ZealandCraig Cormack34
13New ZealandHarri Judd34
15New ZealandTim Smith32
16New ZealandDavid Birkett31
17New ZealandMarty Roestenburg28
18New ZealandNick Marston27
18New ZealandAndy Martin27
20New ZealandJob Quantock26
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandIvan Knauf180
2New ZealandJeremy Friar172
3New ZealandMark McCaughan164
4New ZealandAndrew Oakley160
4New ZealandMike Tubbs160
6New ZealandLeigh Hopper156
7New ZealandTroy Twomey150
8New ZealandPatrick O'Donnell143
8New ZealandBob Boniface143
10New ZealandTerry May142
10New ZealandAnton Tallott142
12New ZealandDavid O'Neill131
13New ZealandDavid Rogers128
14New ZealandRobert Webster119
15New ZealandHaydn Mackenzie90
15New ZealandMartin Dippie90
15New ZealandAnthony Butler90
18New ZealandBruce Herbert82
19New ZealandBruce Farley80
19New ZealandTim McIver80