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  1. #1
    Senior Member GravelBen's Avatar
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    NZ Ben Nevis 'Golden 1200' Hillclimb

    Anyone else head up the Nevis last weekend to check out Paddon's new hillclimb? Its a great bit of road in a fantastic part of the country.

    I was only there for the Saturday, a few photos (album here with heaps more: https://www.flickr.com/gp/gravelben/0824AC )

    _DSC3783 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC5418 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC5134 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC4505 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC4646 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC3302 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC3231 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC5460 by Ben, on Flickr

  2. Likes: Jeppe (15th March 2020),KiwiWRCfan (15th March 2020),leighton323 (15th March 2020)
  3. #2
    Senior Member GravelBen's Avatar
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    _DSC4733 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC4053 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC4671 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC4034 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC5345 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC3814 by Ben, on Flickr
    _DSC4546 by Ben, on Flickr

  4. Likes: Jeppe (15th March 2020)
  5. #3
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    The Nevis Road hillclimb looks similar to the El Condor stage in Argentina?

    I watched the livestream, the Saturday was dusty and the Sunday was damp.

    Gravel Ben did you see any areas that needed improving? From the stream it looked fairly well run.

    What I would suggest, are there any other similar roads in the South Island, where the competitors could return to the pit area after their run? (like one of the catlins hillclimb roads)

  6. #4
    Senior Member GravelBen's Avatar
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    I've only seen El Condor on TV, but I'd say its much rougher and rockier than the Nevis Road (that part of the Nevis Road anyway... further down valley its more of a 4wd track). The hillclimb has a few rough bits where the road wears down to bedrock, but most of it isn't bad. Its also a steep hill (about 550m of altitude gain over the ~6km course) which makes it a power course and maybe less fun for the slower classes, screaming their way up in a low gear because they can't pull a higher one without bogging down.

    I thought it was quite well run overall - there were a couple of fairly lengthy delays while crashes were cleaned up (one was a quad rider needing helicopter evac for a back injury and broken ribs), but there probably isn't any avoiding that. It also took longer than I expected for the next runs to start after cars convoyed back down from the top considering they didn't have that far to go - I'm sure there were logistical reasons for that though, I know some of the people involved with running it and they are very experienced operators with many Catlins and Otago rallies etc under their belts.

    I think the event's main limitation for drawing larger crowds is also part of its appeal for me, its relative remoteness - there is only one road through that valley, its around 30-40 min from Cromwell of mostly steep narrow gravel road which may put casual spectators off.

    I spent most of the drive up the hill stuck in a queue behind the slowest driver ever, averaging 20-30km/h in a shiny new Hyundai i30 where I'd normally be doing 50-70km/h (its a steep hill with plenty of tight blind corners).

  7. #5
    Senior Member GravelBen's Avatar
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    I'm trying to think of roads where competitors could loop back to pits instead of waiting and touring back down the stage - most are probably a long enough detour back around to the start that it wouldn't have much advantage over a normal hillclimb format. Possibly some of the Otago Rally forestry stages where they could take another forestry road down, public roads tend to be spread further apart. Your tend to lose the scenery in a forest though, which is part of the appeal of those big Central Otago hills.

    The ESCC Popotunoa rallsprint worked well for that format, a lovely flowing 10km gravel sprint (Pomahaka Downs Road - Wairuna Settlement Road) with 5km sealed road touring back to pits. I think that one was thought up by Derek Ayson (multi Otago classic winner etc) and they ran it 3 times in each direction. [incar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3bqmKeuKJM ]

    But its not a hillclimb - most hillclimb roads are twisty because they go up a steep hill and that was the best place to put a road. Some might have the option of touring back to base along farm tracks to keep the stage clear though.

    Running timed stages downhill as well instead of touring down would be interesting though!

  8. #6
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    [QUOTE.

    Running timed stages downhill as well instead of touring down would be interesting though![/QUOTE]

    Which is what happens with some Rallysprint venues
    Things happen for reasons, not excuses.

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    official TV highlights show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHawOLkGOGU
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