Ben Newman has enjoyed an impressive victory in the 2022 Precision Exhaust Lake Barrington Hillclimb, knocking off a number of big names in the North West Car Club-run event.
A huge field of 55 competitors took part in the event with each driver getting up to five runs of the popular hill climb course – Newman however, only needed two to post an unbeatable time.
Behind the wheel of his gravel rally spec Subaru WRX STI, Newman was towards the top of time sheets from the start after posting the second fastest time outright on his first run.
With only seven tenths separating him and run-one winner Stephen Maguire, Newman then improved by five and half seconds on the second run to record a time of 1:35.66 and take the the lead.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t go better on his third attempt, but with the car having engine issues and him having to leave the event early, Newman made the call to wrap for the day.
That’s when the nervous wait began for the leader as Maguire and his talented brother Eddie continued to close in on his time – the latter having improved on his first time by 26 seconds.
Despite using every attempt available though, neither was able to beat Newman with Eddie pipping Stephen on the final run of the day by the smallest of margins – his 1:36:40 just one hundredth better than his brother’s time.
Having found out about his win after the event, Newman was pleased with the result and labelled it as the perfect preparation for the 2022 TARGA Tasmania event later this month.
“It’s always a challenging day when you’re up against the McGuire brothers as they are very talented steerers, so to hang on for the win was really good,” Newman said.
“I was definitely nervous at the end. Eddie can be a sneaky bugger and I truly thought he was going to get me in the end, but when he sent the message congratulating me, I was both over the moon and relieved.
“We had converted our gravel car to a hill climb car as our usual tarmac rally car is being prepared for the TARGA, so we had few teething issues early in the day.
“We then had car dramas after the third stage with the engine overheating and it wasn’t quite set up right, so we made the call to finish up.
“Although we had those issues, the car was still as good as it could have been, and we won in the end - Pete Nunn did a great job in converting it.”
“It’s good preparation for TARGA, which is a hard thing to train for, so doing this climb amongst the trees is as good as you get and to win is just great.”
Click here to view the full results.
With TARGA Tasmania taking place at the end of this month, the North West Car Club’s next event will be a khanacross on 7 May.