Ex­pect thun­der on the moun­tain

Race to the Sky on next month

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

More than 50 en­tries have been re­ceived for the Race to the Sky mo­tor­sport event in the Cardrona Val­ley in April, back af­ter seven years in re­cess.

The pro­vi­sional list reads like a who’s-who of pre­vi­ous events.

Eight com­peti­tors are in the in­ter­na­tional hill climb di­vi­sion, in­clud­ing eight-time cham­pion Mon­ster Ta­jima of Ja­pan, driv­ing his Mon­ster Sport Su­per 86.

High­lands Mo­tor­sports gen­eral manager Mike Sentch said the list was look­ing ‘‘very ex­cit­ing’’.

‘‘I think it’s fair to say we can ex­pect in­tense com­pe­ti­tion for the two main tro­phies – the Repco Race to the Sky King of the Moun­tain and the Pos­sum Bourne Me­mo­rial Tro­phy for the fastest New Zealan­der – as well as the class tro­phies.’’

En­tries have closed but Sentch says just 15 more en­tries may be ac­cepted at his dis­cre­tion.

Those tak­ing on Ta­jima in­clude Ro­torua’s star rally driver Sloan Cox, whose team has re­built the front-run­ning hill­climb spe­cial Evo 8 for­merly cam­paigned by An­drew Hawkeswood with great suc­cess.

The old­est com­peti­tor is 78-yearold quad bike rider, ‘‘Rocket’’ Ron Kirk­man of Whangarei, who also thrilled the crowds in ear­lier edi­tions of the event.

Kirk­man is rac­ing a 1000cc Honda Rocket Rac­ing quad.

Christchurch quad bike racer Mike ‘Shack’ Shack­le­ton is also re­turn­ing to the pit with his tur­bocharged 1300cc ‘Quadzilla’.

Mo­tor­bike rac­ers re­turn­ing in­clude In­ver­cargill’s Craig Hyde

High­land Mo­tor­sport Park gen­eral manager Mike Sentch and reign­ing Race to Sky cham­pion Mon­ster Ta­jima of Ja­pan. and Auck­land’s Nathan McAl­wee.

Hyde races a rel­a­tive di­nosaur, a 1992 sin­gle cylin­der, 2-stroke Kawasaki KX500, while McAl­wee com­petes in two classes, mid­dleweight on a KTM SXF 450 and light­weight on a KTMSXF 250.

Other com­peti­tors to watch out for in­clude Dunedin’s Mike Tur­fus (4WD class) and Trevor Crowe of Christchurch (2WD).

The his­toric and clas­sic rally di­vi­sion fea­tures well-known South Is­lan­ders Al­lan Dip­pie of Wanaka, Deb­o­rah Kib­ble of Ran­giora and Wade Hen­shaw of Christchurch.

Vic­to­rian Brett Hay­ward leads the Aus­tralian con­tin­gent. He is the cur­rent race record-holder for open wheel cars and will con­test his sixth race with a pur­pose-built ve­hi­cle.

Mean­while, for­mer na­tional cham­pion off-roader Bryan Chang, of Christchurch, will be tak­ing on four-time Taupo 1000 off-road race win­ner Clim Lam­mers, of Whangarei, and Auck­land’s Jono Climo.

Many new­com­ers have also en­tered to the 14.5 kilo­me­tre course. It has 135 cor­ners and climbs more than 1000 me­tres up the Snow Farm Rd.

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