Expect thunder on the mountain
Race to the Sky on next month
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.