The first running of the popular Ashley Forest Rally Sprint was held in 1979, which saw Steve Millen in a factory backed 2.3 Vauxhall Chevette win.This meeting was staged over a downhill section before changing the year after to the 1.7 kilometre (55% uphill) course that has challenged competitors and thrilled spectators in the intervening years.The first winner on the current circuit was the late John Woolf driving a Mazda RX3 with a winning time of 1.10.81.From that time the magic minute has been the challenge for all prospective winners. This finally came in 1988 when Steve Millen's brother Rod driving a four wheel drive Mazda RX7 won in a time of 59.14.The late Kim Austin’s 1999 winning run of 56.57 was the course record until Sloan Cox broke it in 2016. Cox’s record has been beaten several times. In 2019 Hayden Paddon set a time of 52.77. Kim’s 1988 2WD record of 1:02.45 also fell in 2016 to Chris Hey in a time of 1:02.15. Hey broke his record in 2019 with a time of 1:00.90.Over the years, winners have included national rally champions Neil Allport and Tony Teesdale together with World Rally Championship competitors Alister McRae, Hayden Paddon and the late Possum Bourne along with other big names in the sport.
Next Ratec Motorsport Inc Event: Saturday 11 June, Interclub Circuit Sprint, Levels Raceway Timaru. Points towards Ratec Motorsport Inc’s Trials Speed Championship and overall Club Championship Trophies.