Robert van Gisbergen will bring himself out of rally retirement for a crack in this weekend’s Battle of Jacks Ridge.
Father of 2016 Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, Robert will be entering his first competitive event since 2011 when a digger incident left him to take a step away from the motorsport scene.
Van Gisbergen senior will be behind the wheel of his Ford Focus that he raced at several domestic rallies across the 1980s and ‘90s.
“It has been a long time since I last drove competitively,” said van Gisbergen
“I broke my back, and so I haven’t done much racing in the last few years.
“I’ve had the odd run down my gravel driveway, and I love it. This was too good an opportunity not to take part.
“I have a driver on standby if my back is too bad with it but, hopefully, I will be able to get through the whole event.”
Shane will also be competing this weekend in a Mitsubishi Mirage AP4 meaning this weekend will be a rare Father vs Son for the van Gisbergens.
But Robert insists that beating Shane in the knockout rally sprint competition won’t be his primary focus.
“He is another level compared to me,” he said.
“I was a driver that had to think about a budget. I never really did the internationals.
“But I did a lot of rally sprints and events at Maramarua Forest or Riverhead.
“For the machinery I was in, I did pretty well,l I think. I have never been a trophy collector so I couldn’t tell you what I won but I was pretty happy with what I achieved.”
The event will be held on a 2km-long purpose-built World Rally Championship stage on the private property of ex-national champion Andrew Hawkeswood.
Several big names in New Zealand motorsport have already been confirmed for the rally, including ex-WRC event winner Hayden Paddon and eight-time national Speedway champion Michael Pickens.