More uphill thrills



A year out from its 50th anniversary, Queenstown’s Coronet Peak Hill Climb’s attracted a strong field of 53 entries for this Saturday’s race.

Numbers have been boosted by the event doubling, for the only the second time, as the New Zealand Hillclimb Championship.

With about a quarter of the field comprising Queenstown Car Club drivers, it’s probably the biggest ever local contingent, club co-founder/former president Stuart Maclean says.

‘‘There’s quite a number of people involved in motorsport in the area, a lot of it’s to do with the fact we’ve got a motor racing circuit [Highlands] in Cromwell.

‘‘Considering we’re in the middle of a Covid pandemic, it’s good we’ve got so many competitors.’’

Among locals to watch are Andre Simmons in his Toyota 86, Darryn Clark’s Toyota Starlet, Anthony Te Tau in his modified Nissan Pulsar 4WD turbo charge and Tony Adamson in his Mitsubishi Evo 3.

Adamson’s partner Caroline Cullimore, who’ll also drive his Mitsubishi, is in a field that’s not attracted many females over the years.

The event’s again being run over 2.7km of Coronet Peak Road’s upper half.

‘‘It’s got some beautiful corners to drive,’’ Maclean says.

‘‘Even though it’s on a mountain, there’s not many places where, if you’re going to slide off the road, it’s going to cause you a great deal of grief.’’

Racing starts 10am, with all drivers making three runs.

The best spectator vantage point’s about halfway up the course.

Maclean says the club’s already working on attracting ‘‘some really big names’’ for next year’s 50th anniversary.