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The history of rallysprint in NZ – a glorious past

A Welsh mountainside, Murray Walker on commentary duty and the stars of the British Open Rally Championship on maximum attack. Who knew it would be the start of something special?

A few minutes of highlights on Kiwi television screens in 1978 set in motion a new branch of rally sport.

With the Battle of Jack’s Ridge Rallysprint looming this weekend as the high-profile peak of the 2020 Kiwi rally season, what better time to look back on just over 40 years of Kiwi rallysprinting history.

New Zealand has hosted special stage rallies since the late-60s and high-profile rallycross through the 1970s and 1980s, while hillclimbs are perhaps the oldest part of the motorsport landscape.

Each provides an ingredient for the rallysprint excitement that took off in New Zealand in early 1979 and remains a key part of gravel competition landscape in 2020. Colin Smith explains how.

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Author

Colin Smith