Jack signs on for Jacks Ridge battle

| Photographer Credit: Geoff Ridder

The event and location are named in his honour but Jack Hawkeswood is playing down talk he will be the man to beat at the Battle of Jacks Ridge in November.

Jack’s father – 2017 national rally champion Andrew Hawkeswood – and his wife named the Whitford farm after their son Jack and have developed a world class special stage on farmland in the middle of the Auckland region and within minutes of the CBD.

It was set to house the World Rally Championship when it returned to New Zealand for the first time since 2012 but COVID-19 forced that event to be cancelled.

That gave birth to the idea of the Battle of Jacks Ridge, which will see competitors use 3km of the 6km-long stage in rally sprint format on Sunday November 15.

Aside from a couple of media days the stage hasn’t been used so most competitors will be arriving at the event having to get to know the layout.

That has prompted many to label Jack Hawkeswood as the driver to beat because he will know the circuit better than most.

“The only areas I have really driven on are the bits we’ve used for the media days,” Hawkeswood said. “I haven’t actually done a full lap of the rally stage let alone the rally sprint stage.

“I will definitely be doing bits of it but it is really going to come down to how far we get actually finishing off the track and I will do a few laps of it so we can make sure the track is going to work alright.

“I don’t think I will have too much of an advantage over anyone else.”

The Hawkeswoods bought the property about seven or eight years ago and immediately had the idea of constructing a rally stage on it.

“At our old farm we had a speedway track around the back paddock,” Jack explained. “It has always been a dream of the old man’s – to have a purpose built stage right there.

“If you want to go testing in your rally car you have to go all the way down to Maramarua because there is nothing really around here.

“It was something he really wanted to do.

“it was solely designed around spectators. It is the sort of place where you can be there all day and not miss out on any action.

“Another big factor is we didn’t want to make it a big highway. We wanted to make a stage that had real consequences for drivers.”

And while Jack has committed to entering the event father Andrew has yet to confirm whether he will be driving as well although it seems impossible to think he could withstand the badgering from his son for the next couple of months without committing to taking on his son.

“It would be rude if he didn’t come out really, Jack laughed.

“I would say he would be trying to put tacks in front of my car or he might hit it with a spanner or something before the start of the stage or something.

“It would be awesome to have the old man come out. We have a good rivalry going on there.”

The Battle of Jacks Ridge will take place on Sunday November 15 with live coverage on Sky Sport.

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