Organisers of the Repco Battle of Jacks Ridge have made the difficult decision to cancel the second edition of the popular event due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
It had originally been set to run in November, but the prolonged Auckland lockdown forced a postponement to 5-6 February 2022, which Rally New Zealand thought would attract the 10,000 fans to the iconic venue.
However, with Auckland moving into the government’s COVID Protection Framework red level and with no guaranteed date of when we would see a move to orange, the level required to run a large-scale event, the commercial risk became too great to continue with preparing for the event.
“We considered holding off until the next government announcement on December 13 to see if there was a confirmed date that Auckland would move into orange,” event manager Paul Fallon said. “However, with the information provided and the likelihood of Auckland remaining in red for the next few weeks, we felt it was important to give the many competitors and fans who had purchased tickets a decision, as they have travel and accommodation arrangements that need to be cancelled or changed, and many would appreciate refunds prior to Christmas.”
Although this decision is disappointing for the fans, all tickets will be automatically refunded by the ticket fairy team in the coming 7 days. The news gets better however, all those who had purchased tickets will automatically be invited to preferential pre-sale tickets in the New Year for the Jacks Ridge Power Stage in October’s WRC Rally New Zealand event.
The Rally New Zealand team won’t be putting their feet up for summer as they will now turn their attention onto the massive task ahead of pulling together the 32nd visit of the World Rally Championship to New Zealand.
Rally New Zealand in Auckland will comprise rounds five and six of the 2022 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship and set the calendar in stone.
Organisers confirmed the six-round championship today, which will finish with a stunning double-header in Auckland on some of the most iconic roads on the planet while the rallying world looks on.
The recent announcement about the return of the World Rally Championship to New Zealand shores for the first time in a decade also confirms the ending to the 2022 domestic showpiece. Next Year’s championship begins at Rally Otago on April 8-10 before heading north for the International Rally of Whangarei on May 13-15.
The championship heads back to the South Island for Rally South Canterbury on June 18 before a return to Hawke’s Bay for the second year running on July 31.
Round Five of the championship will be the first day of Rally New Zealand, while the final round will be made up of days two and three of the WRC showpiece.
“It is fantastic to finally confirm our 2022 calendar and to have it include the return of Rally New Zealand,” championship coordinator Blair Bartels said.
“To have the WRC returning late in the season really does allow us the chance to finish our season with a massive bang.
“I know competitors all over the country will look forward to being part of the WRC event on some of the most famous stages in the world, including some stages recently voted amongst the best the country has to offer.
“It will be a massive championship and we can’t wait for April and Otago to roll around.”
MotorSport New Zealand endorse the 2022 calendar and are excited about what lies in store.
“The 2022 calendar is going to be awesome,” MotorSport New Zealand CEO Elton Goonan said.
“After two years of interruptions due to COVID-19 we are all looking forward to a season of great rallying action, on iconic Kiwi roads all over the country and with the world watching its conclusion.”
In a hugely encouraging sign there are at least four high quality rallies that could easily have been part of the championship that there just isn’t room for in 2022 but Bartels said they could be included in future years.
“We want to acknowledge events like Coromandel, Waitomo, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury, that would be great additions to the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship in any normal year but with the opportunity to run Rally New Zealand there just isn’t space,” Bartels said.
An itinerary of Rally New Zealand will be released in due course and more detail on the look of rounds five and six will be confirmed once that happens.
2022 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship
Round 1 April 8-10 Otago Rally
Round 2 May 13-15 International Rally of Whangarei
Round 3 June 18 Rally South Canterbury
Round 4 July 30 Rally Hawke’s Bay
Round 5 Sept 29-30 Rally New Zealand Day 1
Round 6 Oct 1-2 Rally New Zealand Day 2 and 3
Gore driver Andrew Graves, fresh from a win in the recent Lawrence Rally, is the top seed for this Saturday’s Eastern Southland Car Club MLT / Croydon Lodge and Ernslaw One Limited Rankleburn Rally in the Rankleburn Forest in West Otago.
Graves will be at the wheel of his Mitsubishi EVO 3 while other top runners include David Clearwater of Christchurch (EVO 4), a top ten finisher at Lawrence, and James Worker in the EVO 6 driven to victory here for the last two years by Carter Strang. This will be Worker’s third event in the car.
Others to watch are Paul Cross of Gore (Subaru Impreza H6) and Cromwell driver Simon Taylor at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza.
Steve Thompson of Mosgiel (Ford Escort MKII), Brendon Mitchell of Winton (Datsun 1600) and Brett Maddren of Temuka (Toyota Starlet) will be Class C frontrunners while Class B should see a battle between Craig Cormack of Gore (Toyota Levin), Thomas Paul of Cromwell (Honda Civic), Grant Molloy of Invercargill (Corolla) and Queenstown drivers Adrian Jones (Corolla) and Mauro Balzarini (Toyota Sprinter).
Class A is the domain of Chris Herdman of Temuka in his Toyota Starlet.
The rally is part of the club’s rally championship and will comprise four Special Stages totalling approximately 80 kilometres.
The event, based at Telford Tops Road in the Rankleburn Forest, West Otago, is approximately one hour from Gore and 35 minutes from Balclutha and will be signposted from State Highway 1.
Servicing takes place at Telford Tops Road with prizegiving at the Croydon Hotel on the Main Queenstown Highway after the event.
Special Stage 1, Greyburn 3, over a distance of 20km, is supported by Michael Kelly Auto Electrical Ltd / Yuasa and was new for 2020 while Stage Two, Harrisons Supplies Ltd, Land’s End, is a new stage of 19.97km for 2021.
BNT Automotive Bapcor presents Special Stage 3, Sharps, another new stage for 2021. Those that have seen the 19.83km stage say that if you aren’t smiling when you finish it, rallying may not be the sport for you. It starts at the top of John O’Groats (part of this was last used in 2008) then into Sharp Road with a very readable 5km left into Land’s End Road, a right just past the Pump Shed and up Telford Tops/Middle Road then using Saddle Creek onto a quicker part of Telford Tops for 1.8km to the finish. The final stage, Russell Keeler Automotive Kennedy, (19.34km) was new to the event in 2019, and saw records set in every class last year.
The best viewing for stages one and two, is at the intersections of Chapman / Middle Road which is a forestry road, Chapman / Manuka Road and Manuka / Land’s End Road (also a forestry road) with the roads closed from 10.30am. The first car is due to start the first stage at 11.00am and the second stage at approximately 12noon. The best viewing in Stage Three is from Land’s End Road / Telford Tops Corner, both forestry roads just off Manuka Road. The first car will enter the stage at 1.15pm.
The winning crew will earn the Darryl Robinson Memorial Trophy while the first Otago Sports Car Club driver will be awarded the Glen Shirlaw Memorial Trophy. The Mark Parsons Award will see prizes for the first novice driver and first novice co-driver in the event.
Finally, in some positive news on the otherwise beleaguered motorsport front here in New Zealand at the moment, Ultimate Rally Group boss Peter Martin announced this week that he was setting up an all-new Tarmac Rally Championship series to help focus both prospective entrant and fan interest on the three separate Targa events he intends to run in 2022.
Martin also confirmed this week that the other major event on his books, the biennial international NZ Silver Fern gravel rally, will also go ahead later next year.
The 2022 AASA Tarmac Rally Championship will consist of nine single day rounds, two each at the two-day Targa Bambina (Hamilton, North Island, March 12-13), and all-new Targa South Island (Nelson, South Island, October 22/23) events, and all five at the re-scheduled 2021Targa New Zealand (New Plymouth-to Havelock North, North Island) event now set to run over a slightly modified course between the 25th and 29th of May 2022.
Title sponsor for the new 9-round tarmac rally championship series is the Australasian Auto Sport Alliance, the 100% New Zealand-owned and operated agency of independent Australian motorsport permitting and licence issuing authority the Australian Auto-Sport Alliance.
With fellow Auckland-based independent motorsport event promotor, Dr Jacob Simonsen - of the 24 Hours of NaZCAR (nee LeMons 24 Hour race) fame - Martin was instrumental in getting an alternative permitting and licensing body to long-time incumbent MotorSport NZ up and running here, and has successfully used the AASA as his exclusive event permitting and competitor and vehicle licensing partner on what Targa events he has been able to run since the first COVID-19 Lockdown threw a spanner in the works back in March 2020. ]
“Yes,’ said Martin,” this (a bona fide ‘National Championship Tarmac series) is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time, but something has always got in the way. Ironically this latest Lockdown has freed up the sort of time necessary to put into planning just this sort of thing, and the AASA Tarmac Rally Championship is the first ‘fruit’, if you like, of those labours.”
Martin has also spent much of his new-found ‘spare’ time since being forced - by the Government’s current COVID-19 Lockdown policy - to postpone this year’s five-day Targa NZ event from its traditional last-weekend-of-October time slot to a new ‘mid-year’ one at the end of May next year, fine-tuning the 2022 calendar, to give everyone their best shot; both at finishing each event they start, as well as scoring maximum AASA Tarmac Rally Championship points.
To that end he has deliberately kept the km count relatively low on the first of the new 2022 season events, the two-day Hamilton-based Targa Bambina.
With a total of just 260kms of special stages and only 345km of transport stages linking them together, competitors and event officials alike can ease themselves back into the unique demands of a typical Kiwi tarmac rally event.
As Martin says; ‘this means that we can start a little later and finish a little earlier than we would normally each day, so that our entrants can work your way back into tarmac rallying given that it will have been nearly a year since many of them have been behind the wheel.”
Targa Bambina is scheduled for the 12-13th March. It is a two-day event based from Hamilton that has a mixture of well-known roads from previous Targa Rotorua events as well as a number of new roads that have not been used in this configuration before.
This year’s planned Targa New Zealand 2021 will now run for five-days between the 25th and the 29th May 2022. It will start (and remain based in) New Plymouth for the first three days then move to Whanganui (where the allied two-day regional event will start), then finish in Havelock North.
Due to less daylight hours to work with Martin says that there will be one stage less per day on Day 1 (Tarata), Day 3 (Bushy Park) and Day 5 (Motere), otherwise the event is as plotted, with a total stage distance of 750kms linked by1,250kms of touring for a total of 2.000kms.
The big news for many in 2022 is the return to the South Island for the third Tarmac Rally event. This time it is just for two-days (Oct 22-23) but it is to a new host city, Nelson, and what Martin describes as ‘an all-new mix of fantastic roads with their own unique charm and challenges!’
Finally, after being forced – by the NZ Government’s initial COVID-19 border closure this time – to cancel the 2020 Silver Fern (International 2WD Marathon gravel) Rally in the North Island, Peter Martiin also confirmed this week that he was forging ahead with plans to hold the next – South Island – event in November next year (2022).
“That’s right,” he said, “it’s with great pleasure that I can also confirm that we have also started planning for the NZ Silver Fern Rally 2022 with the event starting and finishing in Christchurch.
“Documentation day will be Saturday 19 November with the seven-day event itself starting on Sunday 20 November and finishing on Saturday 26 November.
Targa New Zealand events and the Silver Fern Rally are owned and organised by the Ultimate Rally Group. Targa NZ events are run with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Global Security, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Race4Life Trust, Racetech, TrackIt, Vital and Writeraze.
November 3, 2021 McLaren Racing today announced Emma Gilmour as the team’s first-ever female driver who will compete for the McLaren Extreme E team in 2022.
Emma’s announcement follows a media engagement today during the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. The engagement also marks McLaren Racing’s entry into Extreme E and the reveal of McLaren’s spectacular launch livery.
McLaren will be the latest team to join the series in 2022, raising awareness of the impact of climate change, participating in Extreme E’s robust legacy programmes, and leaving a lasting footprint by engaging its fans around the world to take climate action. Motorsport has long since provided a hub for transport innovation and technology and Extreme E brings some of the world’s most famous teams, representing the latest clean technology, to race in some of Earth’s most remote and stunning locations.
McLaren Racing CEO, Zak Brown, Race Engineer for McLaren Extreme E, Leena Gade, renowned climate scientist, Professor Carlos Duarte and designer of the McLaren Extreme E launch livery, Vic Lee, were in attendance with Emma Gilmour at the engagement with His Royal Highness.
A native of Dunedin, New Zealand, Emma is known for her vast experience in rallying, rallycross, cross-country rallying and most recently competing in the inaugural season of Extreme E. In 2016 she became the first and only female to date to win a New Zealand Rally Championship event and also won the FIA Women in Motorsport and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) crosscountry rally selection in 2015. Emma completes McLaren Extreme E’s driver line-up for 2022 alongside US driver Tanner Foust.
The announcement of McLaren’s newest driver a historical moment for McLaren Racing made all the more poignant as Emma is a compatriot of the team’s founder, racing legend, engineer and innovator, Bruce McLaren.
The McLaren Extreme E launch livery was revealed for the first time during the engagement at Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow. The livery, hand-drawn by award-winning artist and illustrator, Vic Lee, represents the entire race calendar through the four biomes of the Artic, Amazon, Desert and Ocean. Illustrations on the livery focus on each landscape, drawing inspiration from the legacy left behind by the Extreme E series, teams and staff while detailing some of the steps which can be taken to reduce the impact of climate change.
The livery also reflects McLaren Racing’s commitment to the ‘Count Us In’ pledge. Count Us In is a global movement of people and organisations to inspire a billion people to take practical steps to reduce their carbon footprint by committing to one or more of 16 steps. The names of the first McLaren Racing fans, employees and partners who signed up to the pledge are carried on the Extreme E race car along with a manifestation of the ‘C’ cipher, synonymous with His Royal Highness, in tribute to his significant endeavours over the past four decades to use his unique position to champion action for a sustainable future.
During the engagement, distinguished Professor Carlos Duarte spoke about Extreme E’s legacy programme, which intends to provide social and environmental support for the locations in which Extreme E races. Extreme E only races in terrains in which it can raise climate awareness, with the all-electric race cars being transported to race locations by a refurbished passenger cargo ship, the former Royal Mail Ship St Helena. The ship also serves as a ‘floating laboratory’, or classroom, in which educative talks can be held, or research conducted during races. His Royal Highness was also able to see a working demonstration, given by AFC Energy’s CEO, Adam Bond, of how hydrogen power, an alternative power source, is made from oxygen and hydrogen to fuel electric batteries.
Leena Gade joins the McLaren Extreme E team as Race Engineer from Multimatic, vehicle dynamics partner to McLaren Extreme E. The British female race engineer has a rich history in motorsport serving as a lead race engineer in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IndyCar series, most notably becoming the first female race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011.
Following the announcement and before the 2022 race series begins, Emma Gilmour, Leena Gade and the McLaren Extreme E car will undertake further engagements, including a secondary school visit and a discussion at Newcastle University promoting future opportunities in technology. The engagements have been organised by McLaren Racing to illustrate the diversity and inclusion purpose behind the sport as well as the significance of its McLaren Racing Engage programme, which was launched in June, this year. The programme, which promotes diversity and inclusion and aims to open up opportunities in technology to all, is a strategic alliance with four expert partners (Women’s Engineering Society (WES), EqualEngineers, The Smallpeice Trust and Creative Access). Its purpose is to drive forward a series of collaborative initiatives to diversify talent in motorsport. McLaren’s Extreme E show-car will also be on display in the Green Zone at COP26 from November 8th - 12th inclusive.
Today, McLaren Extreme E also announces a partnership with Merchants Fleet, the fastest growing fleet management company in North America. Merchants is a leader in fleet electrification and ESG, through its ACCELER8 ESG programme which focuses on Electrification & Environment; Diversity, Equality & Inclusion; and Governance. Led by an executive team comprised of 40% females and fuelled by a fleet team with 50% female employees, Merchants is driving awareness of electric vehicle adoption as a pathway to corporate sustainability and gender equity in both business and sport, and now as a proud partner of the McLaren Extreme E team.
Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, said: “We’re proud to join His Royal Highness to announce Emma Gilmour as the first-ever female driver for McLaren Racing. Emma completes our exciting and competitive driver line-up alongside Tanner Foust for our first season of Extreme E. She’s a race winner and has proven herself this year in Extreme E alongside a vast background in competitive off-roading in multiple racing series across the globe. It’s fitting that our first female driver originates from New Zealand where our founder Bruce McLaren was from.
“Being able to announce Emma and reveal our launch livery with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales during COP 26, given his track record in sustainability and promotion of STEM education and engineering, resonates with McLaren Racing’s commitment to sustainability, diversity and gender equality which are deeply-rooted in the team’s ethos. Seeing the support from the entire McLaren family in signing up for one or more of the Count Us In pledges highlights the dedication of our fans, partners and team members to help avert the impacts of climate change. We’re looking forward to competing in Extreme E’s second season to continue to educate ourselves on this journey of discovery and use our voice to shine a light on key issues impacting the world.”
Emma Gilmour, McLaren Racing Extreme E driver, said: “I’m incredibly honoured to be McLaren Racing’s first female driver. Growing up in New Zealand, Bruce McLaren and McLaren Racing are seen as the pinnacles of motorsport. To be competing in Extreme E next year with McLaren is a special opportunity. The series is a fantastic platform that represents equality and addresses the key issues affecting our planet and society. I’m looking to draw on my previous experience in Extreme E alongside all my skills across rally, rallycross and cross-country rallying, that make me well-suited to the sport, to make a positive impact and inspire the next generation of female drivers and engineers. I can’t wait to get started with the team.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO, Extreme E, said: “I am delighted to celebrate the next step in this very exciting new journey for McLaren Racing as they welcome the highly talented Emma Gilmour to their Extreme E driver line-up, and reveal a unique livery designed around important sustainability messages.
“Extreme E is a sport dedicated to using its platform to inspire and excite motorsport fans about sustainability and solutions, so I feel especially proud to see the team choosing to take shape here in Glasgow at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, with the support of his Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. It’s certainly a very positive sign of the direction the McLaren team is committing to and I wish the whole team great success.”
Shivani Rudra, Count Us In, said: “I am delighted McLaren Racing has joined with Count Us In to inspire its millions of fans to take action on climate change. By McLaren, Extreme E and Count Us in working together we can make an even bigger difference on climate change and add up to something much bigger.”
About McLaren Racing McLaren Racing was founded by New Zealand racing driver Bruce McLaren in 1963. The team entered its first Formula 1 race in 1966, since then McLaren has won 20 Formula 1 world championships, more than 180 Formula 1 grands prix, the Le Mans 24 Hours at its first attempt and the Indianapolis 500 three times. McLaren Racing currently competes in Formula 1 globally and INDYCAR in the US.
The team is contesting the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, and in the 2021 INDYCAR Series with Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist. McLaren was the first F1 team to be certified carbon neutral ten years ago and has successfully retained the Carbon Trust Standard Award, most recently in February 2021. They were also the first team to be awarded the FIA Institute’s Environmental Award in 2013, which they have consistently maintained at three-star level. In 2022, McLaren Racing will enter a new category of motorsport when it enters a team into Extreme E, the innovative all-electric off-road racing series.
About Extreme E Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.
The St. Helena, a former passenger cargo ship, has undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and transform her into Extreme E’s operations hub. The ship is used to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port, minimising Extreme E’s footprint, as well as being used to facilitate scientific research through its on-board laboratory.
Extreme E is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology which will enable its race fleet to be charged using zero emission energy. This innovative solution from AFC Energy uses water and sun to generate hydrogen power. Not only will this process emit no greenhouse emissions, its sole by-product will be water, which will be utilised elsewhere on-site to minimise local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media.
New Zealand rally driver Emma Gilmour with Scottish co-driver Claire Mole alongside, experienced everything the wet Welsh roads had to throw at them to achieve a top 10 result in the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally.
The all-female duo, reunited in a rally car after an eight-year hiatus, finished eighth overall in the challenging Wales-based event in a Ford Fiesta R5 MkII at the weekend. The Cambrian Rally comprised the final round of three local championships and the British Rally Championship.
Gilmour and Mole’s campaign couldn’t have got off to a worse start, as their rental car broke down before the recce of the seven-stage, 70-competitive-kilometre rally. It was the first time in the pair’s combined 50 years of competing that this misfortune had occurred, and it meant that “the first time we saw the stages was when we were racing on them,” Gilmour says.
“It wasn’t ideal. The two-pass recce is crucial for getting a feel for the stages. Not being able to drive through them certainly put us on the back foot. However, we didn’t dwell on it. We created pace notes off a video, which I’ve never done before, and we went out and gave it our best shot,” Gilmour adds.
Heavy rain prior to the northern Wales event meant the predominantly forestry-based stages were extremely technical and were damaged quickly. Gilmour described them as “slippery, slimy and greasy, with lots of standing water and puddles.”
“The roads were very challenging and as our notes weren’t 100%, it was difficult for Claire. As I got more comfortable in the car later in the day, the road conditions were worsening, and I had a pretty decent spin. At that point I thought, I should just get the R5 home safely,” Gilmour says.
“Despite the inauspicious start, I really enjoyed competing with Claire again and loved driving the impressive R5. Martin Wilkinson and CA1 Sport did a great job running it for us. All in all, it was an incredible experience and I’m so glad I did it.”
“I am very grateful to the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally for having us, the team at CA1 Sport for running us and Vantage Windows and Doors for supporting us. Thanks to Claire for all her help. I’m hoping we did a good enough job and showed what an all-women team can achieve. I’d love to do some more rallying again soon in this stunning part of the world,” Gilmour says