Circle Hill rally sprint

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Despite several national rally drivers failing to make the start line, the convener of a rally sprint in Milton on Saturday was happy with the event.

Emma Gilmour, Rhys Gardiner and Matt Summerfield all withdrew from the Otago Sports Car Club’s Supercharge Batteries Circle Hill Rally Sprint before Saturday.

Otago Sports Car Club vice-president and rally sprint convener Jake Thomas said that “was a bit of a bummer” but “it is what it is”.

Earlier withdrawals notwithstanding, Mr Thomas said the event still attracted an impressive 34 drivers. He was pleased with how many turned out.

“Thirty-four is awesome.”

Gore driver Andrew Graves won on the day but was pushed close by Christchurch’s Jeff Judd, Mr Thomas said.

“It was very, very tight. Good battle.”

Mr Thomas said the road quickened up as the day went on.

Graves and Judd achieved their fastest times on their final runs, with Graves securing the win by less than a third of a second (0.28sec) on his final of four runs.

There was one accident on the day but both occupants of that car were unscathed, Mr Thomas said.

Dunedin driver Richie Chadwick, who finished in eighth place, had impressed observers with his performance in a Toyota Corolla from the 1980s.

Mr Thomas said it was “great to see a car run on a pretty tight budget running at the top with the big boys”.