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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.

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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:
https://covid19.govt.nz/updates-and-resources/contact-a-helpline/

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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.

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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.

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Battle of Jacks Ridge

Dayle ITM supporting the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge

Dayle ITM have thrown their support behind the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge on November 15 and will sponsor the spectacular flying finish at the purpose-built World Rally Championship-calibre power stage.

The long-time supporters of Kiwi motorsport are more than just sponsors. They live and breathe motorsport through owners Martin and Deborah Day, who are heavily involved from the grassroots up.

Aside from supporting numerous different motorsport events at various levels, Deborah also gives her time to the board of MotorSport New Zealand.

The motorsport “lifers” get the odd bit of track time themselves to feed their own petrol-head addiction but spend more of their time supporting these days.

“We’re so excited for Dayle ITM to be supporting this awesome event,” Deborah Day said. “Anyone who knows Dayle ITM knows we’re mad about motorsport, and any opportunity to put the best of our country’s talent on display in rally format like this is a good one!” 

“We’re pumped to see the Dayle ITM flying finish in action. It’s the drivers last chance to make an impression, and we know they won’t be holding back!” 

Dayle ITM are holding a ticket giveaway that closes tonight via their social channels so check them out if you’re after a ticket. With the event expected to sell out in the next few days you better secure a seat now by visiting Ticket Fairy.

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge has attracted the best line-up ever assembled for a domestic rally event and will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.

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Battle of Jacks Ridge

Full field announcement: Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge

The strongest field ever assembled for a New Zealand domestic rally will line-up for the inaugural Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge on Sunday week.

A total of 58 competitors, including some of the biggest names in New Zealand motorsport, will tackle the 2km piece of purpose-built World Rally Championship-calibre power stage on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford farm.

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Auckland, and featuring stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf and surrounding farm land, the Jacks Ridge stage mixes a typically New Zealand gravel road with cambered corners and big jumps all in an amphitheatre-like environment so spectators can see almost the entire stage from one vantage point.

Ex-WRC star Hayden Paddon will revert his Hyundai i20 AP4 car to hill climb spec overnight after competing in Saturday’s City of Auckland Rally and will go head-to-head with hill climb specialist Sloan Cox in his Mitsubishi EVO 8 in Sunday’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge.

Reigning New Zealand Rally champion Ben Hunt (Subaru), up and coming star Jack Hawkeswood (Mazda), are joined by other NZRC stars Matt Summerfield (Mitsubishi), Dylan Turner (Audi), Raana Horan (Skoda), Emma Gilmour (Suzuki) and the pair of AP4 Fords driven by Robbie Stokes and Phil Campbell.

Supercars legend Greg Murphy (Holden) is out of retirement for the event and will take on current Bathurst champion Shane van Gisbergen, who will drive a Mitsubishi Mirage AP4 car in what promises to be one of the most popular entries.

Veteran Kiwi rally star Neil Allport will be one to watch in his Ford Fiesta R5 while Regan Ross will put his sister car through its paces.

Talented drivers like Graham Featherstone (Mitsubishi), Kingsley Jones (Skoda), Stephen Barker (Mitsubishi), Dylan Thomson (Subaru), Grant Blackberry (Mitsubishi) and Ben Thomasen (Subaru) should be pushing for a top eight spot too.

Targa winners Hadyn McKenzie and Glenn Inkster will be in the hunt as well.

One of the most popular entries will see Spencer Bourne make his rally debut in a Subaru similar to that driven by his father – the late Possum Bourne. Bourne Jr will carry the number 62 his Dad used while competing in the PWRC nearly 20 years ago.

Six stars will battle it out in the cross car category and should not be discounted from overall honours either. Three-time national champion Joe McAndrew, the speedy Mark Tapper, drift star Darren Kelly and speedway ace Michael Pickens and experienced rally campaigners Wayne Pittams and Jeff Ward will all have a good shot at winning the class.

Carl Ruiterman and Dyson Delahunty should feature at the front of the UTV class that is also six-strong.

Ian Ffitch and Ian Newman have entered in their super quads – Ffitch could well be a contender for a top eight spot after impressing at the Golden 1200 in the South Island earlier in the year.

A total of 10 2WD cars will fight out a competitive category. The Mazda RX8 of Marcus van Klink and Toyota MR220 of Chris Hey should be the leading contenders.

Download the full entry list here.

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge will be broadcast on Sky Sport and the event fast heading towards selling out. Tickets must be pre-purchased and can be secured by visiting Ticket Fairy.

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Major Driver Announcement: Marcus van Klink

The spectacular fire-breathing Mazda RX8 of Marcus van Klink will be entertaining spectators at next month’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge.

The popular Van Klink has confirmed his entry in his iconic rotary-powered Mazda and will be one of the star attractions at the Sunday November 15 event that is fast selling out.

Held on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Auckland property and using a World Rally Championship-calibre power stage, the best drivers in the country will square off to be crowned champion.

“I don’t know much about Jacks Ridge but the who’s who of New Zealand rallying is going to be there so I didn’t want to miss out on that,” Van Klink said.

“I’m not a great sprinter, I’ll be honest about that, but it will be a bit of fun and it should be a pretty level playing field with no-one really knowing the stage too well.

“Our main goal will get through the City of Auckland Rally the day before and keep the car straight and the exhaust pipes intact for those fans.”

Van Klink has been the standout 2WD competitor in recent New Zealand Rally Championship seasons and should feature as the man to beat in that class at the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge.

“It will be a little weather dependent,” Van Klink said.

“We will be race-ready though seeing as we just did Rally Canterbury last weekend and we’ll have Auckland the day before so that should help.”

His head-to-head battle with good friend Regan Ross in recent seasons won’t be quite as level with Ross buying a Ford Fiesta R5 this year and entering in the 4WD class but Van Klink will no doubt be keeping a close eye on his rival.

“He’s gone to the dark side because he could keep up with us in 2WD,” he quipped.

While he is very much a Cantabrian and Christchurch-based Van Klink’s Universal Bathroom business has an Auckland branch and he is expecting a number of people to come out and support him.

“We have our business in Auckland as well and we employee 15 staff up there so this is a good opportunity to bring people out and to see us and the car in action.”

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge will be broadcast live on Sky Sport. VIP tickets have sold out while the general admission sales are nearly at three quarter capacity.

Fans are urged to get in now and secure tickets via Ticket Fairy before it is too late.

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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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Battle of Jacks Ridge

Major Driver Announcement: Joe McAndrew

Kiwi rally legend of the 1990s Joe McAndrew is the latest driver to enter the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge and he will look to take on the best of the current crop of stars.

McAndrew won the national championship in 1993, 1994 and 1996 and is considered one of the all-time greats of the sport.

He will make a comeback at the November 15 event on the purpose-built WRC-calibre power stage on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Auckland property.

While McAndrew has competed successfully all over New Zealand and has seen just about all there is to see in the sport, this will be one piece of road he has never driven.

“I live in Wellington, so I know nothing about it at all,” McAndrew admitted.

“I have seen a bit of footage since I was told I should enter. It looks pretty good – Andrew does a good a job and will make sure it works perfectly.

“It should be fun.”

McAndrew will pilot a cross kart at the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge and will take on the likes of speedway king Michael Pickens.

While he’s never driven a cross kart before, McAndrew feels like he will be able to adapt pretty quickly.

“I have driven a few single seaters so I guess they are similar,” he said.

“I saw the one Hayden [WRC star Hayden Paddon] had up here in Wellington earlier in the year and I got to sit in it.

“With any luck I might be able to get a ride in one before the actual event.”

And while it has been a number of years since McAndrew tested himself at the highest level, the man who raced the iconic Shell sponsored Subaru will no doubt take some beating.

“I have done nothing for a couple of years so this is a good chance to compete and be involved in something that is attracting some pretty impressive entries,” McAndrew said.

“I probably won’t be out there going for the win like I might have been earlier in my career but I will still be going as hard as I can.

“When you put the helmet on and you’re sitting at the start line I’m sure I will be ready to give it everything I have.”

The Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge will be broadcast live on Sky Sport. There are not gate sales so tickets need to be pre purchased at Ticket Fairy.

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Battle of Jacks Ridge

Major Driver Announcement: Sloan Cox

The talented Sloan Cox has confirmed his entry for next month’s Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge and will take on WRC-winner Hayden Paddon at the pointy end of the field.

Cox will bring his Mitsubishi EVO X dedicated hill climb weapon to the purpose-built WRC-calibre stage on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Whitford property and will immediately be one of the favourites to win the elimination-style event.

“I’m really excited about it – I wanted to commit earlier but we just had to put our plans together first,” Cox said.

“I haven’t been in the car competitively since Ben Nevis [the Golden 1200 event in March]. That was a new event and we had to learn the road.

“Like Ben Nevis – outside of the Hawkeswoods – no one really knows much about this event either.

“We are definitely going there to win it.

“We only really take that car out now when we think we can win or if we can break records.”

Cox’s battle with Hyundai star Paddon will be worth the price of admission alone. The pair battled at Paddon’s Golden 1200 event with the ex-WRC star coming out on top.

But Cox believes he has the ability and weaponry to take it to Paddon at the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge given that neither driver has driven the stage before.

“Our final run at Ben Nevis was my quickest, even in the rain,” Cox said. “Each run we were getting closer and closer to Hayden. 

“We know we are on par with his speed and so we will be going to Jacks Ridge with the aim of beating him.”

Cox joins a star-studded field for the November 15 event, that includes Bathurst 1000 winner Shane van Gisbergen, Supercars legend Greg Murphy, drift kings Mad Mike Whiddett and Darren Kelly and leading speedway racer Michael Pickens.

The event is broadcast live on Sky Sport. Tickets are selling fast and must be pre-purchased via Ticket Fairy with no gate sales on the day.