Jack Hawkeswood is an upcoming second-generation racer, and the son of NZ Rally Champion, Andrew, is already starting to make a name for himself.
His national rally career started inauspiciously when he destroyed his Mazda 2 on the 2017 Otago Rally, but since then he's knuckled down with some strong results.
While his career, like everyone's, is at a standstill at present, he's already planning on upping his speed and contesting future New Zealand and Asia Pacific Rally Championships.
"I think the best way to look at it is to just keep a goal in mind. If we're not focussing on Otago being the first round, then it's the next available round," he told RallySport Magazine about his 2020 season.
"You just keep the idea of getting to the next event in your mind."
His learning in a four-wheel-drive car has been fast, but the aforementioned crash in 2017 taught him valuable lessons to build on.
"I learned that you can’t dive straight into the deep end on some things," he explained.
"Otago has some of the trickiest roads I've ever driven on and going down there in 2017 with little knowledge of the roads and just a few kilometres in the car wasn’t the brightest.
"(The two-wheel-drive season) was absolutely was more important than I gave it credit for at the time.
"Two-wheel drive rallying, and in particular, front-wheel drive, taught me so many fundamental lessons at the time.
"I really didn’t realise until we transitioned to the 1600cc 4WD just how similar the driving style was, but a whole lot quicker. The front-wheel-drive gave me a great base.
The Otago Rally, the same place of his crash in 2017, was his NZRC debut in the top-spec Mazda, but he says the transition was easy.
Jack Hawkeswood at the 2018 Piakonui Road Rallysprint. Photo: Geoff Ridder
"I found the transition very easy. We had some good stages last year at Otago and I think that’s because the suspension was exactly the same in both versions," he explained.
"I was able to get to grips with it very quickly and easily. Had I come from another car it would have taken me a bit longer to come to grips, so I was very fortunate that we could do what we did."
Just another of a string of second-generation talent sweeping Australia and New Zealand, Hawkeswood credits his NZRC-winning father, Andrew, for a lot of his learning, particularly his experience.
"The one thing that is really good is he's done the events many times. He knows the roads, he knows the events and how fast to go."
"Advice such as when to press on and when to hold back has been incredibly helpful," he added.
The learning experience for both Andrew and Jack was steep at last year's APRC final, where the Force Motorsport team took two Mazdas to battle for the crown.
"Going to China was an incredible experience, but it was by far my biggest challenge in rallying," he explains of the experience last November.
Jack Hawkeswood with father, Andrew, back in 2017. Photo: Geoff Ridder
"Having to go to a place that doesn’t speak English was completely different from anything that I had ever seen before. The culture was a challenge in itself.
"It (the rally) was almost like going back to square one, and after we saw the roads it was apparent that if you tried anything that we do in New Zealand you wouldn’t make it to the first corner.
"We just had to hold back and figure everything out before we could press on. It was the one thing we were really focusing on - knowing when to push and when to hold back."
He relished the Chinese challenge, and while plans are still up in the air due to obvious reasons for 2020, he is playing the waiting game, with clear cut goals for the future still in his mind.
"My goals for this year were to do a full NZRC and Pacific Cup and then compete in the APRC finale in Coffs Harbour, but the likelihood of any of that happening this year is looking slim," he adds.
"In 2021, we want to be doing the best championship in the Southern Hemisphere – the New Zealand Rally Championship.
"We really would like to give the APRC rounds another go as well."
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