Rally crews make most of trip south

Marlborough drivers certainly made their presence felt during the finals of the New Zealand Goldstar Hillclimb Championships, picking up several podium positions over the weekend.

Five drivers from the Marlborough Car Club ventured south to compete on country roads near Lawrence.

On Saturday, the first event featured around 3.5km of steep, flowing, fast gravel road, with 15 drivers chasing for the Goldstar title as well as the 2WD class.

Local driver Jason Clark in his Evo 5 was second overall leading into the event with 398 points, behind North Island series winner Jack Hawkeswood in his Mazda 2 AP4, who had maximum of 400.

Marlborough’s David Gee in his Subaru Impreza was fourth on 386. The other three Marlborough drivers were in the 2WD class - Dean Cameron’s Starlet 1500 third with 370 from Brendon Wadsworth’s Fiesta R2 (368) and Liam Gee’s Corolla Levin (360).

Competition was stiff from the start, Clark ended up seventh overall in a time of 2.05.62, David Gee finished 11


(2.12.65), Wadsworth was first of the local 2WD members finishing 24


(2.22.17), Liam Gee was 27


(2.25.74) and Cameron 28th in 2.26.66.

When points were tallied at the end of the day Hawkeswood carried his maximum points forward to 500, Clark was still second with 496 points and David Gee retained fourth on 478. In the 2WD class Wadsworth jumped ahead of Cameron to third place on 455.56, with Cameron fourth on 455.37 and Liam Gee fifth (445).

His efforts earned Clark third place overall in the Gravel Challenge portion of the series.

On Sunday the tarmac event was held over around 4.5km.

The Marlborough contingent had a good day. Clark started out with a practice time of 1.57.58 which he managed to get down to 1.50.42 by the third official run. He ended up second overall for the Goldstar Hillclimb championship, just 2.5 seconds behind Hawkeswood.

David Gee got down to 2.01.07, finishing 10th for the day, but retained his fourth overall position in the series.

Both the gravel and tarmac races during the final round were won by Matt Penrose, of North Canterbury, driving his cross car. He also won the national cross car championship title.

In the 2WD class and Cameron turned in a best run of 2.07.25 to finish ahead of Wadsworth, whose fastest time was 2.10.58 and Liam Gee with 2.11.17.

That meant Cameron had reclaimed his third position for 2WD with 545pts, Wadsworth was fourth with 543 and Liam Gee fifth with 533. Winner of the 2WD class was local South Otago driver Chris Hey with his radical MR2 who managed a maximum of 600 points.