Still on a high from finishing second at the 2015 Tasmanian Sports GT Championship circuit series, Hobart’s Peter O’Keefe has turned his attention to his next motorsport outing - this year’s second annual running of the Poatina Hillclimb on Sunday 6 December.
The 53-year-old, who manages the automotive Derwent Park Trade Clearance Centre in Hobart, is contesting the Tasmanian event’s Tarmac Rally category in a 1995 Mazda RX-7 SP, built and owned by Benson Motorsports.
O’Keefe’s long-time partner, and successful rally navigator, Julie Winton Monet will call the corners for him.
Best known for his many years of flamboyant exploits and numerous podium results in circuit racing and tarmac rallying events with a menacing black Holden Torana, O’Keefe still remains active in Tasmanian motorsport circles. He is currently leading the State Hillclimb Championship and he and Julie finished third outright in this year’s Targa Hellyer event.
For the Poatina Hillclimb, O’Keefe is hoping for a category win and to challenge for fast outright results and – with about 470 horsepower propelling it forward – the turbocharged rotary is likely to be one of the fastest cars on the road.
“The car has been set up really well for both circuit and rally events which makes it well-suited to this style of event,” says O’Keefe. “The Poatina Hillclimb is a fantastic event on a great road in our home state and we’re looking forward to getting into it.”
The RX-7 SP has been developed overtime by Benson Motorsports with technical assistance from Mazda Motorsport Australia’s long-time team manager and endurance racing mastermind, Allan Horsley.
This year the Poatina Hillclimb, formerly the Poatina Mt. Race) will run over an extended 10.2 kilometre section of the iconic Poatina Road, which has an elevation gain of 580 metres as it snakes up Mount Blackwood.
Competitors of the 2015 event can choose from one of three competitions: a driver-only hillclimb; and for drivers and navigators a traditional tarmac rally sprint and, new in 2015, a speed-restricted ‘challenge’ category.
Each entrant will compete six times over the technical long course hillclimb, covering 61 kilometres in a single day.
Poatina Village will once again play host to the event’s start and finish celebrations and vehicle display.