Major Driver announcement: Mark Tapper

The talented Mark Tapper will compete at the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge in a couple of weeks – confirming his entry in what is shaping up a fiercely-contested crosskart category.

Tapper, who was a leading New Zealand Rally Championship contender over the past couple of decades, will race a Hayden Paddon-owned crosskart at the November 15 event on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford property.

The Battle of Jacks Ridge has attracted the biggest names in the sport to battle it out over 2km-long stretch of purpose-built World Rally Championship-calibre power stage all within minutes of downtown Auckland.

“It is pretty cool to be doing something so close to the city and funnily enough was the easiest event I have ever managed to get sponsorship for,” Tapper said.

“I have managed to get Carter’s Tyres helping me out and then after that Civil have come on board as well.

“All of them because they can bring people there and see the event rather than being in a forest where you go past once and never see them again.”

Tapper actually lives just across the road from the Jacks Ridge stage but he isn’t sure that will be of any advantage to him.

“I can see it off my deck,” he said. 

“It is all new territory for everyone. It might be just over the road but the boys that are doing the City of Auckland Rally will have had the chance to drive it twice in recce and twice in anger prior to us seeing it on the Sunday.

“They are going to have a bit of a head start there I suppose.”

Tapper will start out as arguably the driver to beat in the crosskarts given his rallying success and the impressive outing he had earlier in the year at the Golden 1200 event at Ben Nevis, in the same machinery.

But he will get stiff opposition from three-time national champion Joe McAndrew as well as speedway star Michael Pickens and others.

“Obviously that will be the aim but there is a fair amount of competition – ex national champions like Joe McAndrew driving one and dark horses like Mr Pickens and then a couple of others – Justin Glavish driving one as well.

“If you have watched any of his in-car you will know he will be fast – he’s fast in anything he drives.

“It isn’t going to be an easy feat but the aim is to win that and see how far up the leader board overall we can get.”

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge is going to be broadcast live on Sky Sport and tickets are selling out fast. Get yours by visiting Ticket Fairy.

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