Central Otago is set to receive a new gravel hill-climb event thanks to Kiwi rally hero Hayden Paddon. Run by his Paddon Rallysport Group, the Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200 Hillclimb in Cromwell will take place over 7–8 March 2020. It is intended to be a sister event to the iconic Race to the Sky, which Paddon Rallysport is currently working to bring back for 2021. If the famed hill climb does return, the two events will run on alternating years.
The hill climb will use 6km of Nevis Road, a remote high-country route between Bannockburn and Kingston, with Ben Nevis Station featuring as the service park and hill-climb start. Each driver will get three runs each day, and the fastest time from each day will count towards the competitor’s final results, with the intention to put greater emphasis on each run but also allow for any issues or car malfunctions that may hamper a competitor’s attempts.
The road is described as being twisty yet fast, with natural spectator zones that will allow viewers to see up to half the stage at once — a rare treat for spectators.
Paddon said, “We hope to attract some of the top hill-climb cars from around the country but also cater the event for all cars, classes, and drivers, as we hope to have at least 60 entries. Spectator access will be free for the launch year, and the spectator zones enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in the world.”
Organizers are currently working on regulations and aim to have these available before the end of the year. Expressions of interest are open and can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.