Tauranga gears up for international rallycross

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Rotorua rally driver Sloan Cox will be attending the international rallycross event in late February. Photo/John Borren
Rotorua rally driver Sloan Cox will be attending the international rallycross event in late February. Photo/John Borren

Adrenalin junkies need not despair after the conclusion of jet sprints last weekend as rallycross is coming soon to Tauranga.

New Zealand's first arena international rallycross event will be held at Baypark's ASB Stadium later this month.

Promoter Ron Dixon said the Tengtools NZ International rallycross event will be based on the global rallycross fixtures so popular in Europe and the United States, where spectators enjoy the action from the comfort of arena seats.

The February 27 and 28 event will start and finish on the Baypark speedway track in front of the large crowd expected, with the rest of the outside-arena action captured on big screens.

Mr Dixon, who is Auckland based, said Tauranga was the obvious place to hold the inaugural event.

"It will be here as Tauranga has the best venue for it. It can house 17,000 people under cover and has areas outside that we need. In addition to the stadium's clay surface we have a concrete patch and an asphalt road," he said.

The track will cover 1.3 kilometres and will traverse the ASB Arena's Southern car park, then the asphalt road which was the former entry to the stadium. Competitors will return to the stadium over the 1.5 metre-high speedway wall where the ticket box once stood.

Cars will either perform high-flying jumps over the wall or use a specially constructed ramp.

Read more: Jet sprint driver delivers daughter between races

"There will be a combination of various cars on a combination of surfaces. And there will be New Zealand and overseas drivers bidding to be the inaugural NZ champion in each category," Mr Dixon said.

There was no intention for this to be a one-off event either, as Mr Dixon had plans to hold two a year in Tauranga - one in February, the other in November.

Sixty to eighty competitors were expected this month competing in three divisions which are: rallycross, off-road, and Polaris (off-road racer).

New Zealand's four-time Bathurst 1000 winner, Greg Murphy, has been invited to compete in the rallycross.

Australian champions will come to challenge the Kiwi talent.

Bay Venues Limited commercial manager Ervin McSweeney said the event heralded more great news for Tauranga.

"Bay Venues is very excited about the rallycross event which has potential to be every bit as exciting as its recent predecessor the Jetsprints. Bay Venues aims to provide speed thrills and spills at ASB Baypark and this is another step in that direction.

"To be able to create another NZ-first event experience in fast moving excitement and action within a stadium confines shows how innovative thinking can provide great events for the Bay to enjoy, and to attract visitors to the region," he said.

The event will be held on Saturday, February 27 from 4pm to 10pm and on Sunday, February 28 from noon until 7pm.

There will be other forms of live entertainment on offer, including pit walks, the opportunity to meet the drivers, plus a DJ stage including special appearances from some of the legend drivers of the past.

Those attending the event will be able to access the stadium through the usual entry points, and parking will be available at the ASB Arena's northern parking lot.

Tickets can be purchased from Eventfinda www.nzrallycross.co.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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