Eight-time King of the Mountain champion Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima will be joined by a number of well-known former and new competitors when the 2015 Repco Race to the Sky takes place in April.
The opportunity to race in the famed Cardrona Valley hillclimb event for the first time in seven years has attracted ‘name’ racers, including quad-bike riders ‘Rocket’ Ron Kirkman and Mike ‘Shack’ Shackleton, from Whangarei and Christchurch respectively.
At 78 years of age, Kirkman will again be notable as the oldest competitor at the event, but don’t expect him to be any less competitive on his 1000cc Honda Rocket Racing quad. Shackleton returns to pit the famous, turbo-charged 1300cc ‘Quadzilla’ among a provisional total of 22 quad entries, with some entrants running more than one machine.
Widely-regarded as the original motorcycle ‘god’ of the event Craig Hyde, from Invercargill, will again be challenged by one of his biggest two-wheeled competitors Nathan McAlwee, formerly of Mosgiel and now based in Auckland.
Hyde races a relative dinosaur, a 1992 single cylinder, 2-stroke Kawasaki KX500 while McAlwee competes in two classes, middleweight on a KTM SXF 450 and lightweight on a KTM SXF 250. A total of 19 motorcycles are provisionally entered.
Rotorua’s star rally driver Sloan Cox takes on Tajima and several Australians in the eight-strong unlimited class, with Cox and his team having rebuilt the front-running hillclimb special Evo 8 formerly campaigned by Andrew Hawkeswood with great success.
A past top-ten competitor in the open four-wheel-drive (4WD) rally class, Dunedin’s Mike Turfus returns with his Mitsubishi Evo 8 to challenge 12 other contenders for class victory, while Christchurch’s Trevor Crowe headlines the six-strong open two-wheel-drive (2WD) class within the national hillclimb competition division.
The 2WD and 4WD rallycourse division has attracted 13 competitors from all over New Zealand and the historic and classic rally division features a number of well-known South Islanders including Wanaka’s Allan Dippie, Rangiora’s Deborah Kibble and Christchurch’s Wade Henshaw.
Victorian Brett Hayward leads the Australian contingent crossing the Tasman. The current race record-holder for open wheel cars returns to contest his sixth Race to the Sky event with a brand-new, purpose-built ‘Race to the Sky special’.
Among the ten off-roaders entered thus far, fans can expect tight competition with national champion Bryan Chang, from Christchurch, bringing his championship-winning, hand-built, pro-lite race truck to Repco Race to the Sky.
Chang has contested all but one of the previous Race to the Sky events and faces off against four-time Taupo 1000 off-road race winner Clim Lammers, from Whangarei, and Auckland’s Jono Climo who competes in the Toyota Hilux he designed and built himself along the lines of the American ‘trophy truck’ desert racers.
Entries for the 2015 Repco Race to the Sky closed this week, although Sentch says just 15 more entries may be accepted as late entries at his discretion, with the decision that the entry list will be limited to 100 vehicles for the 2015 event.
Tickets are now on sale online from Ticket Direct – simply search for Highlands – or from the Highlands Motorsport Park offices. An adult one-day pass, valid for Saturday or Sunday, costs $50 and a two-day adult pass $80. Children under 16 years of age have free entry when accompanied by a paying adult. Commemorative programmes can be purchased on-site for $10.