Kiwi motorcycle legend Aaron Slight will be making a switch from tarmac to dirt when he takes on his debut rally at next month’s Otago Rally.
Slight finished as a runner-up in the world superbike championship twice riding for the factory Honda team.
The 55-year-old then transitioned from two wheels to four when he made a handful of starts in the British Touring Car Championship with Barwell Motorsport.
He most recently drove an Aston Martin at Pukekohe in New Zealand. Still, the Otago Rally will be his first time on gravel.
Slight will be making his rookie rallying appearance in a Ford Escort RS1800 BDA. He will joined by veteran co-driver Ian McKee of Christchurch.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to try rallying on gravel roads. To be able to compete in a famous car in an iconic event is definitely a bucket-list opportunity that I can’t wait to do,” Slight said.
“I love driving fast and sideways without all the modern electronic aides that dilute the pleasure, so a BDA Escort at Otago Rally is perfect.
“I’ve done nothing at all [in rallying].
“I’m heading down to Christchurch in a couple of weeks to try out a rally car, but that is going to be in a paddock.
“Being on a gravel road in a car is way different to that.”
Otago Rally spokesman, Roger Oakley, said the Rally was delighted to have a home-grown motorsport legend competing.
“Aaron has a huge motorsport pedigree and will be a great ambassador for the event. He brings a lot of enthusiasm and we know a lot of fans will be excited for the opportunity to see him compete and to meet him,” Oakley said.
Slight’s presence comes as event organisers were left filling vacant spots following the Covid-19 pandemic. Finnish World Rally Championship star, Mikko Hirvonen, had been set to travel to New Zealand for the Rally.
The Otago Rally, which acts as the opening round to the 2021 New Zealand Rally Championship, will be held over April 16-18.
Main Image: Geoff Ridder