Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint

Leigh Marston at Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint 2013
Dylan Cameron at Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint 2013
Murray Christofferson at Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint 2013
Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint 2013

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Matt Summerfield on his way to the top place at Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint 2013

Matt Summerfield on his way to top place at the Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint 2013

An old favourite Mt Alexander Rd Gravel Sprint, 4.5km of fast flowing public road with concrete fords and lots of gate posts to avoid! Check out the results and article below. Well done to our winners Matt Summerfield 1st Overall, Barry Deuart 1st Class 1 0-1300cc, Hamish Anderson 1st Class 2 1301-1600cc, Deane Buist 1st Class 3 1601+cc and Leigh Marston Class 4 4WD. 

Mt Alexander Gravel Sprint 2013 Overall Results

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Massacre at Mt Alex

The Autosport Club’s Mt Alexander Hillclimb was the scene of a massacre in 2013 – a massacre of egos. A whole bunch of noted drivers were among the 32 teams taking the start. At the front it would be a three way battle between NZRC drivers, Richard Baddock, Matt Jansen and Matt Summerfield all driving Impreza’s. Behind that would be the battle of the 2WD’s with Deane Buist making a guest appearance driving Rob McCollum’s FJ20 powered Group 4 Escort, McCallum himself and Regan Ross in his Mk2 BDA. Add in a bunch of other fast cars and drivers along with the battles for the 1300 and 1600 classes, and the action would be hot all day.

The drivers would have three runs at the course which travels for a little over 3km’s along a valley before climbing steeply for the last 800 metres or so. The first part of the road is sweeping and mostly fast but narrow, with several concrete bottom fords. There are a handful of tight right hand corners, which look much the same as the fast open right hander’s, making learning the road crucial. The road gets much wider for the climb up the hill which has a mix of open and tight corners.

Matt Summerfield set the pace at the start with 2.45:7 in his first run. Baddock was next but was 6 seconds back. Third in run one was Deane Buist who was fulfilling a promise to take his 12 year old son Reece for his first ever ride in a Rally Car. What a ride, Buist was 2 seconds back from Baddock and ahead of fourth placed Matt Jansen by one second. Others who were straight on the pace included Regan Ross, McCallum and Oamaru’s Dylan Cameron who made the trip north to take part. Also flying were David Fahey who had his 1600cc 4AGE powered Escort inside the top 10 and Sean Sands in his 1700cc pushrod powered Mk2 Escort.

Summerfield stayed at the top in run 2 with 2.40:9 but now had Jansen less than a second behind and Baddock just over a second behind that. Buist dropped to fourth outright with 2.49:8 but remained over 5 seconds clear of car owner Groove McCallum. Regan Ross pushed more 4WD’s out of the top ten to be less than a second behind Groove in sixth outright, 3 seconds clear of Dylan Cameron. Hamish Anderson showed he is a man to watch breaking into the top 10 in his 1600cc front drive Toyota just ahead of Mathew McGlinchey in his Impreza. Fahey was now 10th, the last to achieve sub three minutes in run 2.

Matt Summerfield would lay down the law in his last run, blowing everyone away with a time of 2.34:4. Four seconds back, both Jansen and Baddock posted 2.38:5, the second place going in Jansen’s favour when the time was checked down to hundredths of a second. Summerfield’s win was the first massacre but by no means the only one. Buist was next to drive the knife in, posting 2.46:5 to finish fourth overall, a full 4 seconds ahead of the cars owner Groove McCallum. Regan Ross would post the same 2.50:5 as McCallum, again the tie was broken by looking at the hundredths of a second. McCallum took the beating in good heart commenting “just shows what ‘miles’ do for you” when accepting his second place trophy for the unlimited 2WD class.

Next to massacre expectations was Hamish Anderson who won the 1600cc Class and took an impressive 7th overall. Cameron was just 2/10ths behind in eighth while Matt McGlinchey and Leigh Marston rounded out the top 10 in their Impreza’s. For McGlinchey the top 10 result is a good reward for sticking with the sport after making TV3’s plays of the week wrecking his old car at Ashley Rallysprint in one of his first ever events last year. In Marston’s case it was the first ever shakedown of his new replica WRC Impreza.

David Fahey stayed way ahead of expectations finishing 11th and second in the 1600 class behind Anderson. Nigel (Splitpin) Tyson was very pleased to take another third in class in his 1600 cc KE70 Toyota. There was yet another slaughter in the 1300 class with Barry Deuart blitzing the class field by 5.6 seconds in the Datsun 120Y he has campaigned for many years. In a field of ten 1300 cc drivers, next up was a new competitor – Shannon Clark. Clark started out sensibly but would smash his run two time by nearly 10 seconds in run three to jump up the scoreboard to take second in class and push a few regular class winners out of the trophies. Grant Goile has had a rally career of over 30 years and would finish third in class just ahead of club president Graeme Wilson.

The hot dry day made a change from the rain experienced at recent Canterbury events. Summerfield, Buist, Anderson and Deuart all went home having slayed the opposition, but there were battles throughout the field and while some appeared to have found a short cut, the pace was so intense that it only took a small snooze to well and truly lose at Mt Alex. It was an event where confidence in knowing the road and keeping the foot up it into the mixed bag of right hander’s paid big dividends.

(Photo of Matt Summerfield by Jason Smith)