Rallysprint double looms

Scotty Gouman driving his Toyota rally car will be one of the locals competing at the double header of rallysprints. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE

By John Cosgrove

A weekend of rallysprints will whet the appetites of motorsport fans in the Clutha district next month.

First will be the Eastern Southland Car Club’s (ESCC) Rosebank Lodge Catlins Rallysprint on Saturday, August 14.

With the Catlins Coast Rally not running this year, the ESCC rallysprint will utilise some of the roads previously used for the rally, forming a loop of about 8.5 km. Competitors will fight it out over three runs in each direction, with their fastest times added together to determine the result.

The pit area will be on Puerua Church Rd, accessed off Romahapa Rd.

‘‘The team needed a year off from organising the rally. The rallysprint is easier to organise and will still bring competitors into the area and fill accommodation,’’ ESCC rally committee chairman Roger Laird said.

‘‘Our team does more than just the Catlins Rally and it was time to regroup.

‘‘Last year’s rally was a boomer, and the first major rally after lockdown. We were very lucky as we went back to [Alert] Level 2 just days after the event.

‘‘Clerk of the course Craig Jessop is working hard to make the weekend happen,’’ Laird said.

‘‘It is our intention to hold the rally again in 2022 and we already have a tentative date to do that.”

The next day, the South Otago Car Club (SOCC) will run its Catlins Inn Rallysprint.

Clerk of the course Paul Gouman said the 9.9km›long sprint would be a “cool bit of road to race on”.

‘‘The Puaho Rd to Burnt Flat Rd section, down past the Matai Falls, are both technical and fast, there is a lot of uphills and down, and drivers will find a little bit of everything in it to challenge them to go fast.’’

The SOCC will hold documentation, scrutineering and prize›giving in the Owaka township.

‘‘We are keeping everything in Owaka to help the people there now that this year’s Catlins Rally isn’t happening.

‘‘It’s going to be a great weekend with two days of racing on two very different sets of roads,” Gouman said.