Canterbury hosts NZ Hillclimb Championship final
Two Christchurch-based car clubs are jointly hosting the final round of the 2018-19 MotorSport NZ Hillclimb Championship over the weekend of 9-10 February.
Ratec Motorsport Inc hosts the first day of competition on the Saturday with a tarmac road hillclimb at Little River, Banks Peninsula. The timed runs take place on a closed 3.2km section of Kinloch Road, described as being mainly easy flowing uphill with three tight corners to challenge competitors.
The Autosport Club takes the hillclimb competition off the tarmac on the Sunday with the 4km-long Pipers Valley Rd Gravel Sprint in Duvauchelle, Banks Peninsula.
Competitors must enter both days of competition in the final round in order to earn points in the 2018-19 NZ Hillclimb Championship, which has featured four qualifying rounds (two in each island), with each round comprising a gravel and sealed (tarmac) hillclimb event on the same weekend.
Going into the final, Hawke’s Bay’s Andrew Elder has 12-point lead over fellow Mitsubishi Evo driver John Spencer from Dunedin. Waimate’s Bert Murray, who pilots a Mazda RX7, is a close third on the overall points-table and also leads the 2WD Championship. Kaitangata’s Murray Marshall (Subaru WRX) and Alexandra’s Neil Whitford (Toyota Celica) round out the top five. With 100 points available for the winner of each day of competition, the overall and 2WD titles are both up for grabs.
“We’re looking forward to seeing who takes out this year’s NZ Hillclimb Championship title,” says MotorSport New Zealand President Wayne Christie. “It’s going to be a close fight, for sure!”
Christie adds: “New Zealanders have a long heritage with hillclimb events, with MotorSport NZ having presented a national Hillclimb Championship title every year since 1956. This championship is one of only five MotorSport NZ titles which currently have our prestigious Gold Star status*.
“While the makes of car have changed over the years from Coopers and the famous Lycoming Special to Subarus and Mitsubishis, the challenge of navigating a defined stretch of road faster than your competitors has never dated.
“I wish the competitors entered for the NZ Hillclimb Championship final all the best, and extend our thanks to the organising clubs, our championship coordinators and the officials and volunteers who help make these events possible.”
Entries close 6 February. Further information about the NZ Hillclimb Championship and links for the event regulations are available on the Motorsport NZ website: https://motorsport.org.nz/hillclimb-championship/ or follow the ClubSport Scene NZ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ClubSportSceneNZ/.
About the hosting car clubs
Ratec Motorsport Inc. was founded in May 1960 as The Rallies And Trials Enthusiasts Club (NZ) Inc. (R.A.T.E.C.) with the aim of encouraging, promoting and conducting all forms of motorsport in Canterbury. The club runs ideal entry-level events including navigational rallies, motorkhanas and autocrosses, as well as hillclimbs and the Ashley Forest Rallysprint. More information: http://www.ratec.org.nz/
The Autosport Club (Inc.) organises and promotes motorsport events in central and north Canterbury. The club is mainly involved with non-seal events such as gravel rallies, rallysprints, and autocrosses. More information: http://www.autosport.org.nz/
About MotorSport NZ’s Gold Star Championships
Presently, there are five Gold Star championship titles. The term ‘Gold Star’ dates back to the 1950s and recognises these are the elite MotorSport NZ championships.
- Gold Star Race Champion – presented to the overall winner of the Toyota Racing Series
- Gold Star Rally Driver Champion and Gold Star Rally Co-driver Champion – presented to the overall New Zealand Rally Championship Driver and Co-driver
- Gold Star Hillclimb Champion – presented to the overall NZ Hillclimb Champion
- Gold Star ClubSport Champion – presented to the overall NZ ClubSport Champion
Photo credit: Geoff Ridder for the image of Andrew Elder at the Port Waikato (Pukekohe Car Club) round.
Media release: Relish Communications on behalf of MotorSport New Zealand