Paddon to stage hill climb in Nevis area

Hayden Paddon
Hayden Paddon
A new event has arrived on the motorsport calendar with talk of getting an old favourite back up and running.

Cromwell-based rally driver Hayden Paddon and his Paddon Rallysport Group have announced the staging of the Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200 Hillclimb. It will run on March 7-8 in the Nevis region of Central Otago.

The event is intended to be a sister event to the Race to the Sky which Paddon Rallysport is hoping to bring back in 2021.

Paddon Motorsport said it would partner with sponsor Ben Nevis Station to manage and promote the new event.

The hillclimb uses 6km of the Nevis Rd, a remote high-country route between Bannockburn and Kingston, with Ben Nevis Station featuring as the service park and hillclimb start.

Eastern Southland Car Club, Queenstown Car Club and Central Otago Car Club will help run the event. Roger Laird, from the Eastern Southland Car Club, who was clerk of the course for several editions of the Race to the Sky hillclimb in the Cardrona Valley, will take on this role for the new event.

"I hope we can see these two fantastic Central Otago hill climb events alternating with each other, but there’s a lot of work to do yet, as well as plenty of support for the idea of running Race to the Sky again," Paddon said.

Paddon described the designated section of the steep gravel road as magic.

"I can’t wait to drive it at full speed. I believe that our team at Paddon Rallysport can create something special with this event, and the inaugural Golden 1200 Hillclimb is just the start of what will become an iconic New Zealand motorsport event."

He was aiming for at least 60 entries and spectator access will be free for the first year, with designated spectator zones.

Those who sponsor and compete in the inaugural Golden 1200 Hillclimb will have first invitations for the possible return of Race to the Sky in 2021.

The Golden 1200 Hillclimb is named for the golden tussock-covered Central Otago landscape and as a reference to the Nevis Valley’s goldmining history, and the 1200m elevation at the hillclimb’s finish line.

The route climbs from Ben Nevis Station near the Nevis River up the road to the finish line, still on the opposite side of the hill from Bannockburn.

The fastest time from each day will count towards the competitor’s final results.


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