The South Canterbury Car Club hosts the final round of the 2017 New Zealand Hillclimb Championship over the weekend of 1-2 April.
An integral aspect of grassroots motorsport in New Zealand, the NZ Hillclimb Championship attracts competitors from around the country keen to demonstrate their speed and skills behind of the wheel in a controlled, competitive environment on closed roads.
The two-part final round features a 3.1km stretch of narrow gravel road at Three Mile Bush, Hazelburn, north-west of Timaru on Saturday, followed by a sprint up 2.0km of the sealed Mount Horrible Road in Taiko, west of Timaru. Competitors can opt to run both or either the gravel and sprint sections, with the combined points totals counting on the championship leader-board.
With two qualifying rounds in each island already completed, Matt Penrose, from Christchurch’s Autosport Car Club, leads the championship from Colin Goodwin, from Motorsport Bay of Plenty, and David Kirk, from Gore-based Eastern Southland Car Club. Penrose and Goodwin have not competed against each other so far. Penrose was quickest at the combined Canterbury/Queenstown first South Island round last November, while Michael Tall (Ratec Car Club, Christchurch) took out the second South Island round held in February. Goodwin won the North Island’s second round in Taumaranui, run by the Hawke’s Bay Car Club, while Steve Goodacre (Pukekohe Car Club) was quickest at the first North Island qualifier in Pukekohe. Goodacre also leads the two-wheel-drive points-table, with Penrose leading both the ‘Seal Challenge’ and ‘Gravel Challenge’.
“Hillclimb events – both gravel and tarmac – provide a fantastic learning ground for competitors keen to build and develop their competitive skills,” says MSNZ president Wayne Christie. “Many competitors take these skills learned in hillclimb events onto rallying or other forms of motorsport, while others love the comradery and relatively low cost nature of these club-run events. You might say these are less competitive events, but when each competitor is lined up on the start line, determined to better their previous time on the hill in front of them, I guarantee they’re in full competition mode!”
Jeff Scott, NZ Hillclimb Championship coordinator, says: “The NZ Hillclimb Championship fits alongside the NZ ClubSport Championship which comprises three parts – bent sprint, motorkhana and autocross – to celebrate and acknowledge the hundreds of motorsport competitors across New Zealand who take part in these club-level, grassroots events.
“We’re looking forward to a fantastic weekend in South Canterbury enjoying some great gravel and tarmac hillclimb action, and thank everyone at the South Canterbury Car Club for their support in hosting the championship final.”
So far, 30 entries have been received with organisers expecting a rush of late entries this week.
The South Canterbury event allows a maximum of 50 entries with preference being given to registered NZ Hillclimb Championship entrants and will be following by a prize-giving at Robbies Bar and Bistro in Washdyke.