Former off-road star and national championship contender Ben Thomasen is the latest driver to commit to competing in the Battle of Jacks Ridge on November 15.
His fellow national championship contender and good mate Phil Campbell got an initiation of the purpose-built stage on former NZRC champ Andrew Hawkeswood’s Auckland property last week at a media day.
The feedback was enough to convince Thomasen to confirm his entry.
“I don’t know a lot – just what I have been seeing online really,” Thomasen said. “I know that is a Hawkeswood property and he made some pretty cool roads for the WRC that was supposed to be.
“My mate Phil was up there last week and said it was pretty challenging and very cresty so I am pretty excited to be going there.”
Thomasen came agonisingly close to winning the Gull Rally Challenge 4WD title in the national championship last year, getting pipped on the final stage of the final event to miss out by the smallest margin.
Like everyone else COVID-19 has disrupted his plans but the up-and-coming star is looking to get back into his ascent to the top echelon of the sport by taking on the Battle of Jacks Ridge.
“I really was keen to do the next year and get up to speed with pace notes and then if I was in a good space, maybe upgrade the car and have a crack at cat one,” Thomasen said.
“That was my plan but to tell the truth rallying hasn’t been at the forefront of my life lately.
“If everything is going OK financially next year maybe we will have another go with the current car and keep gaining experience.”
In the meantime, the understated Subaru driver could be someone worth keeping an eye on come November 15.
He is aiming for a top 10 finish at the Battle of Jacks Ridge.
“I have always preferred and seem to do alright at hill climbs or events that aren’t on pace notes,” Thomasen said. “So I will take my restrictor out and let it hang out.”
The Battle of Jacks Ridge will be televised live on Sky Sport. Tickets can be purchased via Ticket Fairy.