Battle of Jacks Ridge

Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge postponed to 5-6 Feb

The ongoing uncertainty around COVID Alert Levels and regional travel in and out of Auckland has forced organisers to reschedule the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge to Waitangi weekend on 5-6 February 2022.

Yesterday’s government announcement provides no clear indication that a drop to Alert Level 1 will be possible by the original date of mid-November.  Couple that with the ongoing restrictions on regional travel in and out of Auckland and organisers felt there just wasn’t enough confidence to successfully push on with the original dates.

Competitors and fans need to confirm travel plans and so the organisers have decided to push the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge back to Waitangi weekend early next year, which has always been the back-up date.

That move should provide more certainty for everyone and ensures that it will be completely safe coming to watch at the purpose-built WRC power stage.

“It is obviously frustrating, but we had always planned for a COVID disruption and had pencilled 5-6 February 2022 in as the back-up date some time ago,” event manager Paul Fallon said.

“While it is disappointing not to be able to run as planned, we feel this option will work just as well and will give competitors, sponsors and fans a better level of certainty.

“An early February date gives the region time to get this outbreak under control, continue to raise vaccination rates and it is when the region has its most stable weather.

“We have poured a huge amount of work and planning into this event and made improvements to the track and to the facilities. We look forward to being able to put on a bigger show than last year but at a date we can all be completely confident with.”

All event partners have agreed to the date change and the revised dates could potentially open up the possibility of some international driver interest.

Fallon said the new dates work for Sky Sport, who will broadcast the event live, while he wants to acknowledge WRC star Hayden Paddon, who has agreed to move his Golden 1200 hill climb event near Cromwell from Waitangi weekend to a new, yet-to-be-confirmed date to accommodate the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge date change.

Tickets will remain on sale and will no doubt be a popular option for Christmas presents. Already purchased tickets automatically roll over to the new dates and ticket holders need not do anything.

Battle of Jacks Ridge

The Pinnacle of NZ Motorsport – The Repco Battle of Jack’s Ridge RETURNS!!

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge returns in November for a second edition with inaugural champion Shane van Gisbergen set to defend his crown against WRC winner Hayden Paddon and a star-studded line-up.

Supercars ace Van Gisbergen produced a superb drive to come out on top of a knock-out-style showdown against the best rally drivers in the country last year as the purpose-built 2km-long piece of road proved a hit with drivers and fans alike.

Van Gisbergen, who is dominating the 2021 Supercars Championship at present, has confirmed he will return to defend his title.

“It was an awesome experience last year and I had a blast,” he said. “I am super keen to come back and have another go.

“The field will be competitive, and I will have my work cut out again in 2021, but I am really looking forward to it.”

A sold-out crowd saw Paddon set the early pace last year before an uncharacteristic mistake saw him exit earlier than expected.

But the Hyundai driver has confirmed he will be back to tackle Van Gisbergen and others.

“The Repco Battle of Jack’s Ridge was a big success last year and organisers did a great job,” Paddon said.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get it quite right, so I am determined to come back and have another go.

“Shane was awesome to watch, and it will be great to compete against him again and I know there is a huge interest from some really good drivers so I expect a tough challenge.

“The layout was great, the fans were awesome and I can’t wait to get out there and put on a show for everyone.”

The weekend of November 13-14 has been locked in with specific times to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

A sell-out crowd were treated to a terrific spectacle last year on former national rally champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford property, just 20 minutes from central Auckland.

Richard Clarke, Head of Major and Business event for Auckland Unlimited, said the event is another example of Kiwi ingenuity born from the challenges of 2020, and that Auckland Unlimited is thrilled to support the Battle of Jacks Ridge. 

“We see a bright future for this event to attract even more internationals to this purpose-built rally venue along with motorsport-hungry fans to Auckland for some of the best viewing on offer. It’s part of a big fortnight of motorsport in the region, so we hope fans are ready,” Clarke said.  

“Jacks Ridge, as a venue, is a lot more than a motorsport story; the development of the venue is a remarkable sustainability story and the event’s ongoing commitment to environmental management is testament to the organiser’s innovative approach,” Clarke added. 

The event is supported by Auckland’s economic and cultural agency, Auckland Unlimited, on behalf of Auckland Council.  

Repco have returned as naming rights sponsors of the Repco Battle of Jack’s Ridge.

“Repco is once again proud to present the Repco Battle of Jack’s Ridge; the pinnacle of New Zealand Rally,” Louise Sixton, GM Sales & Operations Repco NZ said.

“This phenomenal event showcases some of New Zealand’’s best drivers on a unique track, including some of the best spectator access, to get you up close and personal with the action. It promises to be even bigger and better than last year.

“We are delighted to partner with the event again and help put on the best rally sprint event in the country.”

Sky Sport have confirmed they will once again offer live coverage. 

“Motorsport is hugely popular with Sky viewers and they love nothing more than seeing our homegrown heroes perform here in Aotearoa New Zealand,” Jonny Errrington, Chief Commercial Officer said. 

“We’re excited to have year two of the Battle of Jack’s Ridge after such a successful debut, and to see SVG and Hayden in action alongside other up and coming drivers.”

More details around the 2021 Repco Battle of Jack’s Ridge will be confirmed in the coming weeks with tickets on sale August 15th. 

Battle of Jacks Ridge

Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge a massive success

The inaugural Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge was a massive success on Sunday with a sold-out crowd and massive television audience on Sky Sport tuning in to see Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen crowned champion.

The purpose-built venue at former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford farm delivered a brilliant test for the drivers and superb viewing for spectators.

“We are delighted with how the weekend went,” Rally New Zealand chairman Peter Johnston said.

“The venue was just superb. Andrew and his crew have done a magnificent job putting this together and we cannot thank them enough.

“It is a glimpse into the future bringing a stadium-style rally event to the people.

“I want to thank Paul Fallon and his team for running a fantastic event and all the volunteers for making the day possible.

“The drivers and fans left having enjoyed themselves and we are already thinking about next year and what we can do add to the spectacle.”

Hawkeswood had a dream to build a rally stage for world class performers and he was pleased to see that his idea had come to life so spectacularly.

“I’m thrilled with how it all went. The stage was everything I had hoped for and it was great to bring that to life,” the 2017 national champion said.

“I look forward to doing it again next year.”


Van Gisbergen stuns field to win Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge

Champion of the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge, Shane van Gisbergen. Photo credit: Geoff Ridder

Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen produced a stunning drive on Sunday to win the inaugural Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge after beating Phil Campbell in the head-to-head final.

The 2020 Bathurst winner had been fast all day, showcasing his phenomenal and adaptable talent behind the wheel of any car, and threw down a staggering time of 1.20.00 in the final.

Campbell fought valiantly but wasn’t able to match Van Gisbergen in front of a capacity 5,000-strong crowd in the stunning Whitford location.

Earlier WRC star Hayden Paddon had set the record time during the early runs before he made a small mistake towards the end of his top-eight run and clipped the bank, which fired him into a roll and out of the event.

Paddon wasn’t hurt in the incident and graciously waved to fans that had come out to see him in action.

Event host Jack Hawkeswood was third after putting on a terrific show while the talented Matt Summerfield also bowed out in the top four.

Van Gisbergen proved a popular winner and said he’d love to do more rallying if his Supercars boss allows it.

“The whole few days has been really cool,” a delighted Van Gisbergen said.

“I had a great time and learned a whole lot about rallying – a huge thanks to Dad, the Ralliart New Zealand team and my co-driver Brianna.”

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge proved a superb event. The purpose-built venue on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s property provided stunning views of Rangitoto Island and Hauraki Gulf while delivering a thorough test for drivers and cars.

The drama-filled day will no doubt have made for an entertaining spectacle for fans either at the venue or watching at home on Sky Sport.


Note: The attached photos of Shane van Gisbergen are available to use for editorial purposes. Please credit Geoff Ridder.


Paddon cleans up City of Auckland Rally

World Rally Championship event winner Hayden Paddon has cruised to a convincing win in the City of Auckland Rally on Saturday.

The Hyundai driver claimed the victory by two minutes and 40 seconds and dominated the day that took place on roads set aside to be used in the COVID-ruined WRC Rally New Zealand.

The day featured a pass through the Kaipara Hills, Puhoi and Riverhead Forest stages before a service in Kumeu and a second loop of the same stages.

Competitors then headed south to the incredible Jacks Ridge stage set across 6km of former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford property. The purpose-built stage, featuring cambered gravel roads and spectacular jumps was given the thumbs-up by drivers.

Raana Horan finished second in his Skoda Fabia R5 after a sound drive while Dylan Turner (Audi) edged Emma Gilmour (Suzuki) by 0.3 second on the second pass through Jacks Ridge.

“What an amazing day,” Paddon said at the prizegiving at Jacks Ridge. “The Auckland weather turned it on, the roads were amazing, and we had a great day.

“I can’t wait to come back to Jacks Ridge tomorrow for the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge.”

Graham Featherstone was fifth in his Mitsubishi while Hadyn McKenzie impressed for sixth in another Mitsubishi in one of his first major gravel events.

Arguably the star of the show was Supercars driver and 2020 Bathurst champion Shane van Gisbergen, who was easily the first of the 2WD cars in his father Robert’s Ford Escort.

Van Gisbergen produced a stunning drive to beat far more season gravel campaigners and even edged a number of top 4WD competitors.

He will hand the Escort back to Robert for tomorrow’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge and will jump into a new generation Mitsubishi Mirage AP4. His performance in a modern state-of-the-art rally car will be closely monitored by rivals as well as the sell-out crowd.


Live stream of Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge confirmed for international viewers

International viewers will be able to watch live coverage of the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge via Repco Australia’s website.

While Kiwi viewers will be watching live on Sky Sport, the rest of the world will see a collection of New Zealand’s best motorsport talent tackling the 2km-long stretch of the purpose-built stage on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Auckland property.

Those outside New Zealand can visit to watch the event live. Former WRC rally winner Hayden Paddon will headline an all-star cast of drivers that includes recent Bathurst champion Shane van Gisbergen, reigning NZRC champion Ben Hunt, former Supercars star Greg Murphy, drift king Darren Kelly and speedway ace Michael Pickens.

Repco is proudly supporting the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge. This event is set to be an event every motorsport fan is going to love, and with this field of drivers the Battle is on!

Coverage begins at 1pm NZT on Sunday, with former Supercars commentator Greg Rust leading the coverage. The final showdown is set to get underway at 4.30pm.

City of Auckland Rally

Star field tackles City of Auckland Rally

A star-studded field including World Rally Championship rally winner Hayden Paddon will tackle the City of Auckland Rally on Saturday.

The event will use the roads set aside to host the WRC in 2020 before the COVID pandemic forced its cancellation.

Paddon, in his Hyundai i20 AP4, will battle a strong local field that includes reigning NZRC champion Ben Hunt (Subaru), Matt Summerfield (Mitsubishi), Emma Gilmour (Suzuki), Raana Horan (Skoda) and Dylan Turner (Audi).

Young up-and-coming stars Jack Hawkeswood (Mazda) and Robbie Stokes (Ford) should also be in the mix.

The field will tackle the picturesque 16km-long Kaipara Hills stage at 8.38am will start the day off before 22km Puhoi stage.

Competitors return to the famous Riverhead forest north-west of Auckland – last used in the mid-1990s – before a service at Kumeu Showgrounds at 11.04am.

The cars will head back out for a second loop of those three stages before heading south of the city to Whitford for the purpose-built Jacks Ridge stage.

Drivers will tackle the 6.27km cambered gravel road, with massive jumps, in the cauldron-style atmosphere.

The first run through begins at 4.31pm while a second pass will start at 5.21pm.

Limited spectating is available to the first 500 on a first come, first in basis.

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge – using 2km of the stage – will take place on Sunday.


Media Advisory: City of Auckland Rally and Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge to go ahead this weekend

With Auckland remaining at COVID Alert Level 1 the City of Auckland Rally and Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge will go ahead over the weekend as planned but fans attending are asked to use common sense.

The events will enforce strict Ministry of Health guidelines – if you feel unwell, please stay at home and if you show any symptoms, please contact Healthline . This cannot be left to interpretation – the health and safety of all involved is paramount.

Other safety measures in place include the requirement of all Rally fans to scan in using the Government’s Covid-19 tracing app, and the wearing of face coverings is encouraged. Cleaning stations will be well sign posted.

“The latest COVID situation in Auckland means we all need to be wary of our responsibilities,” Rally New Zealand chairman Peter Johnston said.

“We expect the weekend to run smoothly as long as we all do our part.

“We have a sold-out Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge on Sunday but we will be following all health advice distributed by the government and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

Saturday’s City of Auckland Rally and the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge on Sunday are set to be fantastic events and we look forward to seeing you over the weekend.

The official Covid 19 link has everything you need to know about the latest situation:


Major Driver Announcement: Robert van Gisbergen

The father of Bathurst champion Shane van Gisbergen has confirmed entry into this weekend’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge.

Robert van Gisbergen had a successful rally driving career himself during the 1980s and 1990s and last entered a competitive event in 2011.

With son Shane, the Red Bull Holden Racing Supercars star, confirmed in a Mitsubishi Mirage AP4 car, father Robert has opted to bring himself and his Ford Escort out of retirement and tackle the 2km-long purpose built WRC-calibre power stage on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford farm.

“It has been a long time since I last drove competitively,” Van Gisbergen said. “I broke my back and so I haven’t done much racing in the last few years.

“I’ve had the odd run down my gravel driveway and I just love it. This was too good an opportunity not to take part.

“I have a driver on standby if my back is too bad with it but hopefully I will be able to get through the whole event.”

While son Shane is one of the biggest names in Kiwi motorsport these days and is renowned around the world for his ability to drive almost anything, he got his driving ability from his father.

Robert van Gisbergen was a talented driver in his own right and carved out a successful domestic rallying career.

“I was a driver that had to think about budget,” Van Gisbergen senior explained. “I never really did the internationals.

“But I did a lot of rally sprints and events at Maramarua Forest or Riverhead.

“For the machinery I was in, I did pretty well I think. I have never been a trophy collector so I couldn’t tell you what I won but I was pretty happy with what I achieved.”

And while he will no doubt be keeping an eye on how Shane gets on, Robert insists there will be no competition between the pair. 

“He is another level compared to me,” Robert added.

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge features a collection of Kiwi motorsport stars from across various disciplines and will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.

Battle of Jacks Ridge

Stellar line up for the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge

The now completed field for next week’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge boast arguably the most wins across any motorsport event ever staged on New Zealand soil.

Aside from Hayden Paddon’s 2016 WRC victory at Rally Argentina – the first time a driver from the southern hemisphere has triumphed at a WRC event – the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge field has a combined 13 New Zealand Rally Championship titles, 82 round wins, 9 junior championships and 42 class championships. 

There are two Pirelli Star Driver scholarship winners, five Top Half Rally Series championships, a Mainland Rally Series championship, 13 Northern Rallysprint Series championships and eight Targa overall victories.

Shane van Gisbergen adds a Supercars championship while between he and Greg Murphy they have five Bathurst wins and a further six podium finishes. Overall, the pair have 63 race wins and 182 podium finishes.

There is a Bathurst 24 Hour win and a Bathurst 12 Hour win as well as a Blancpain GT Endurance series championship.

On New Zealand race tracks the field boasts a New Zealand Grand Prix win, two New Zealand Open Wheel Gold Star champions and a Formula Ford championship.

Thanks to speedway star Michael Pickens, there are nine New Zealand midget championships, one Australian championship, five New Zealand Grand Prix wins, one Australian Grand Prix win, two North Island titles, a podium finish at the famous Chili Bowls nationals in the United States, six Western Springs 50 Lap Classic wins, four World 30 Lap wins and a North Island Sprint Car Championship.

Drift stars Mad Mike Whiddett and Darren Kelly will both be on show on Sunday week and comprise two D1NZ championships, a D1NZ Pro-Am championship and Formula Drift Japan titles between them.

There are three New Zealand Off Road championships, 11 class championships and two NZ1000 wins.

As yet, there is no King of Jacks Ridge. That will change on November 15.

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge will be broadcast live on Sky Sport from former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford property, where he has constructed a world class power stage that features a cambered gravel road and massive jumps.

Tickets are selling out fast – they can be purchased via Ticket Fairy.