A strong contingent of Tauranga competitors will be taking part in New Zealand's first arena international rallycross event this weekend.
Ten Western Bay of Plenty racers have registered for the Tengtools NZ International rallycross event, which will be held at Baypark's ASB Stadium in Tauranga today and tomorrow. The event will be based on the global rallycross fixtures so popular in Europe and the United States, whereby spectators enjoy the action from the comfort of arena seats.
The 10 include Sloan Cox, who will be competing in two divisions, and NZ Polaris Champion Ben Thomasen (although he is licensed through a Waikato club.) About 60 competitors are expected, competing in three divisions which are: rallycross, off-road, and Polaris (off-road racer).
Promoter Ron Dixon says the quality of competitors is "incredible".
"We have a pretty classy field with top operators. Spectators can expect to see the best in action."
The other Western Bay of Plenty competitors are David Holder, Dave Short, Jonathan Shapley, Phil Campbell, Wayne Pittams, Max Tregilgas, Dave West and Travis McCormack.
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. Cars will either perform high-flying jumps over the wall or use a specially constructed ramp.
"All this can be enjoyed from the stadium which seats 17,000 people under cover. The 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.
"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," Dixon said.
New Zealand's four-time Bathurst 1000 winner Greg Murphy has been invited to compete in the rallycross. Two Australian champions will challenge the Kiwi talent. A highlight of the event will be the Tengtools Trans-Tasman Rallycross Cup, which will be contested between Marcus Walkem and Steeve Gleeny from Australia and two yet-to-be selected New Zealand drivers in a three-heat shoot out run over four laps per heat. This transtasman event will be held on Sunday at the end of the event.
The event will be held today from 4pm to 10pm and tomorrow 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.
Tickets can be purchased from Eventfinda www.nzrallycross.co.nz.