Hillclimbing, Sports Saloons and OSCA at Ruapuna
Record field for Bluff hillclimb
Defending champion, Duncan McCrostie, heads the best field ever assembled for the Bay View Hotel/Pub Charity Bluff sealed hillclimb in Southland this Saturday.
Driving the ex-Emma Gilmour Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, McCrostie set a new record last year blasting up the 1.6 kilometre climb in 59.188 seconds.
He’s unlikely to go faster this year because organisers have extended the course to 1.8 kilometres and have reconfigured the chicanes on the long straight midway through the climb.
McCrostie will face extremely tough competition. Tim Cook, runner-up in the National Hillclimb Championship and a former National Junior Clubsport champion, has a new Mitsubishi and 2007 winner Glenn Frew will be looking to reclaim the title in his Evo.
Last year's third placegetter, Gordon Beeby returns in his supercharged Subaru WRX as does the winner of the 2007 Kaitangata Hillclimb, Andrew Graves (Mitsubishi Evo).
Paul Cross, the 2008 Laird Motorsport Southern Rally Series champ lines up in an Evo 4, and Phil Winter is in a Subaru WRX.
The event is the second and final round of the Southern Twin Peaks Challenge, a series contested at the Bob Scott Memorial Kaitangata Promotions Hillclimb in October and the Bluff event.
McCrostie won the title last year after winning at Bluff and finishing second to Graves at Kaitangata. This year he arrives at Bluff leading the series after winning his home event last October.
The hillclimb uses the road to the summit of Bluff Hill (Motu Pohue), a road that climbs 264 metres above sea level.
Dawson begins OSCA title campaign
Former New Zealand OSCA Super Saloon Champion, Colin Dawson of Invercargill begins his quest to regain the title at Ruapuna, Christchurch’ this weekend.
Dawson first won the 2006/2007 title in a stellar season in which he took both the South Island and New Zealand.
He had aimed to defend his title last year but a blown engine early in the season ended his challenge before it really got underway. He’s back with the same V8 powered Mazda RX7.
This weekend's event at Ruapuna is the beginning of the New Zealand series. There’s a round at Timaru next weekend before the finale at the Taupo on May 9-10.
The two South Island venues also double as the final rounds of the South Island Championship which Dawson leads.
Battle for second will ignite Sport Saloons
The big battle of this weekend’s penultimate round of the 2008/2009 Kumho Sport Saloon Series at Ruapuna will be between the drivers who lie from second to fifth in the points standings.
Timaru drivers Chris Small in a Mitsubishi Evo and Matt Dunn in a turbocharged Toyota Corolla are tied on 225 points in second place with Temuka driver Gary Duncan in another Evo two points behind.
Timaru’s Raymond Hart, is fifth in his Nissan Skyline, two behind Duncan. With just this round and one more at Timaru the following weekend it is now the business end of the series.
Series leader and defending champion Neville Stowell of Timaru has won every round to date in his Nissan Skyline, taking pole position at every round, nine wins, two second placings and an 11th from 12 races. The only races he hasn’t won have been handicap events.