The 14.5km, 135-turn course was every bit as difficult as Pikes Peak, and attracted big names such as Possum Bourne, Rod Millen and Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima, an eight-time winner of the event.
Now Tony Quinn and his team at Highlands Motorsport Park have resurrected the event for 2015, which lays claim to being the longest gravel hillclimb in the world now Pikes Peak has been paved.
Tajima returned to New Zealand for the announcement to confirm he will return in an attempt to become a 10-time winner of the event. His 2007 victory came at the wheel of the 750kW Suzuki XL7, an evolution of his famous Escudo Pikes Peak Racer.
The 2015 Highlands Race to the Sky will place from April 15-19 in the Cardrona Valley not far from Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island.
To get an idea of just how challenging the course is, check out the onboard footage from 2001 winner Possum Bourne’s 450kW unrestricted Subaru Impreza World Rally Car.
It’s the first instalment of our new column Weekend Watch, where each Friday afternoon we’ll upload the best onboard video we’ve from the world of motoring that week.