Bay Offroaders will turn on the racing thunder at Matata

SUNSHINESHOWDOWN HEADER lores

 

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  • First international entry confirmed
  • Biggest field of V8s in the championship
  • Gold-level sponsor signed: Inline Builders are on board
  • Race trucks and race cars throw down the challenge to the UTVs

The biggest fields of V8 race cars and trucks in the championship will take to the track at Matata early next month as Bay Offroaders present the 2014 Sunshine Capital Showdown international offroad race.

Organiser Gary Baker says the one-day event is the final northern round of the championship and has attracted more than a dozen of the fastest – and loudest – V8 racers in the sport. It has also brought the first international entry in the 2014 championship: hard-charging Australian racer Tom Dixon will cross ‘the ditch’ to contest the event in Big Blue, Gary Baker’s championship-winning Nissan Navara V8. The venue for this round is a farm course off Pokerikeri Road, Matata. It is 20 minutes from Whakatane; 40 minutes from Tauranga and 210 minutes from Bombay

“We’ve got a huge day lined up for spectators and racers alike, with spectacular ‘short course’ heats in the morning and an endurance race of up to 200 km in the afternoon. This event will turn on non-stop excitement for Bay of Plenty race fans,” he said.

Entries for the one-day spectacular on October 4 broke through the 30 benchmark at the start of last week and organisers expect up to 50 race teams to take part in the event.

Among them are a slew of former and aspiring national champions including Tony McCall, Ernie Hogg, Alan Butler, Murray Kitt, Richard Crabb and Whakatane’s Malcolm Langley, all in unlimited-class race cars.

In the unlimited race truck class Jono Climo goes wheel to wheel with Justin Leonard, Nick Hall and Rotorua’s Mike Cox. Raana Horan, recently returned from racing in Australia, is bringing his massive Nissan Titan four wheel drive truck and Aussie Tom Dixon will race Gary Baker’s Nissan Navara V8.

The organisers have just confirmed local company Inline Builders has signed up as naming-rights sponsor for the event, and there is also a ‘chosen charity’ – Camp Quality – on board.

“It’s great to have the guys at Inline Builders commit to our event, our club has built a reputation for staging some great race days but we’ve been a tad quiet the past couple of years. All that is about to change!”

Mr Baker said the race day will begin with short course heats at 9 am, with three heats for every class in the sport. The youth Kiwitruck category will have its own race on a specially marked-out course separate to the main heats.

There will be a lunch break to allow teams to prepare for the final endurance race, during which rides in top race cars and trucks will be raffled with the proceeds going to Camp Quality.

The all-in endurance race, over multiple laps starting at 1pm with a total distance of up to 200 km, will then conclude the day’s racing and will crown outright and class northern champions.

Spectator admission on race day is $10 per adult, $20 per family or carload, children under 12 free with a paying adult.

The 2014 Inline Builders Sunshine Capital Showdown international offroad race is also supported by sponsors Sun FM, Ocean Can Am, Ocean Ford, Ocean Yamaha, Protec Roofing, Razorback Decks, Battery Town, W&R Wills and Leader Products

2014 Inline Builders Sunshine Capital Showdown

Entries to date (driver name and car number)

Class one (unlimited race cars)

Murray Kitt 117

Tony McCall 157

Malcom Langley 192

Richard Crabb 100

Ernie Hogg 190

Alan Butler 110

Alan Hilliam 109

Class two (production race trucks and 4X4s)

Anthony Hewitt 230

Jared McGillivray 232

Class three (race cars with engines up to 1650cc)

Allen ‘Bundy’ Entwistle 357

Brendon Old 333

Brendon Midgley 324

Peter Hogg 323

Alan Scott 379

Jarrod Marwood 367

Class four (sports-modified race trucks and 4X4s) 

Rex Croskery 450

Class five (race cars with engines up to 1300cc)

Nick Magness 517

Pete Tinsley 559

Class six (challenge-class race trucks and 4X4s)

Dan Connor 627

Keri Louie 680

Class seven (race cars with engines up to 1650cc)

Dyson Delahunty 777

Tyler Castle 714

Class eight (unlimited race trucks)

Nick Hall 861

Mike Cox 875

Justin Leonard 882

Jono Climo 869

Raana Horan 899

Tom Dixon (AUS) 830

Class nine (Baja, saloon and prototype)

Maurice Bain 900

Class ten (motorcycle engined race cars)

Neil Hook 1005

Phil Johnston 1001

Challenger VW (cars with VW engines up to 1.6 litres)

Campbell Witheford C75

Louis Carlyle C83

Ash Carlyle C84

UTV

Paul Sutton U17

Ben Thomasen U20

Kiwitruck

Marcus Runciman J05

Fergus Crabb M95

Click here to download the entry form: Sunshine Capital Entry Form

About our event charity

The Sunshine Capital Showdown supports Camp Quality, an organisation of volunteers dedicated to bringing fun, hope and happiness to the lives of children aged 5 to 16 living with cancer, their families and communities.

We encourage all racers, teams and spectators at the event to support our partner charity organisation in its work by donating to the ‘bucket shake’ or buying a ticket for the lunchtime racer rides.

Offroad Racing Showdown in the Sunshine Capital

#U20 Ben Thomasen in Enduro winning form in 2014

#U20 Ben Thomasen in Enduro winning form in 2014

Tauranga UTV racer Ben Thomasen will go wheel to wheel with the might of the unlimited class offroad racing elite in his Polaris RZR 1000 when the Bay of Plenty hosts the northern final round of the 2014 New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship in early October.

SUNSHINESHOWDOWN HEADER lores

The 2014 Sunshine Capital Showdown is a full day of spectacular offroad racing action brought to racers and spectators by the same team who created the epic series of Matata national championship events over the past decade including the Wild Offroad Stampede. It is the last chance for North Island competitors to score points before the national finals in Christchurch at Labour Weekend.

Thomasen, the newly crowned New Zealand Endurance Champion, is racing toward his first championship title. At Matata he will race against all North Island UTV-class competitors in short course class-by-class heats before taking on the likes of multiple New Zealand Champion Tony McCall, Toyota Hilux V8 Thundertruck driver Jono Climo and Raana Horan’s Nissan Titan V8 in the afternoon’s 200 km endurance race.

Tony McCall leads the unlimited class in his spectacular BSL Terra Chev single-seater race car with 106 points; Thomasen similarly leads the UTV class and carries the hopes of Polaris into this round of the championship with 124 points. Jono Climo did not contest the opening round and is second in class 8 behind Wellington’s Justin Leonard.

In the fast-growing UTV (side-by-side) class, Thomasen will be racing for points against Paeroa’s Mike Small and a likely record turnout of other fast North island entrants.

Showdown organisers Gary Baker and Jared McGillivray say the top racers could hardly be more different in character but share one trait: an aggressive driving style born of their absolute passion to win.

“We’re plotting a fast and spectacular course to test these guys and aiming to put on a fantastic show in the process. One thing is certain: the truck and race car classes will get to use top gear at this round and the UTVs will be watching their mirrors all day,” said McGillivray.

The event will be staged at one venue in a valley behind the coastal town of Matata, scene of many spectacular battles for national titles in recent years. In a departure from other championship rounds, all racing will be held on the Saturday. Baker, who is a long-time competitor in the unlimited class 8 for Thundertrucks, says the course will be fast and will be designed for maximum thrills and minimum mechanical mayhem.

“We make jumps that let racers grab big air but don’t smash up their gear, we create fast speedway-style corners where drivers can show their skills, and we pack all the action into one day at one venue which is great for racers, families and spectators. It’s going to be a heck of a day,” he said.

Nelson Drivers take clean sweep at Offroad Championship Enduro

· Basalaj comes back to win · Top cars too fast for rising stars in UTVs · Strong turnout for final points grab

Class 1 racer, Basalaj takes the Jimco to victory in Nelson for the 2014 Ruff n Tuff 250

Class 1 racer, Basalaj takes the Jimco to victory in Nelson for the 2014 Ruff n Tuff 250

Basalaj wins! A month after he was third overall in the Total Lubricants New Zealand Endurance Championship, Nevil Basalaj has taken a hard-fought home town victory at the Nelson round of the national championships. In dry and dusty conditions, he headed a Nelson 1-2-3 in the 2014 Nelson Ruff’n’Tuff 250, with Ashley Kelly finishing second and Greg Winn third. Basalaj battled all race long with Kelly, and looked to have lost the race when forced to pit for fuel, but brought his Jimco Chev two-seater home for the win well ahead of Kelly. The 250 km one-day enduro was the final chance for southern racers to accumulate championship points before the final round, to be held at Christchurch in October. The course in the hilly Dovedale forect block was almost identical to last month’s New Zealand Endurance Championship. Qualifying saw the race take on a bright yellow hue, with the Hydraulink Cougar Evo of Kelly taking pole and Cam Stratford in Kelly’s older Nissan SR20-engined car alongside him. Christchurch’s Wayne Moriarty, rated a chance for outright victory, instead found himself putting his car on the trailer after an off in qualifying tore the left front wheel almost completely off his Euroblast Cougar Toyota. The UTV class, hailed as the coming sensation in the sport, filled the next three places in the two-wide grid, championship points leader Roger McKay of Winton third fastest ahead of Mike Holmes and Grant Dickson. Basalaj had the Jimco in sixth position with a time four seconds adrift of the motivated Kelly. Off the start, Kelly and Stratford made the running, the 31-strong field throwing a thick plume of dust in the air on the fast logging roads that lead away from the pits.

Off the start, Kelly and Stratford made the running, the 31-strong field throwing a thick plume of dust in the air on the fast logging roads that lead away from the pits. Stratford’s race ended with a blown transmission after just one lap of the 42 km course. Basalaj moved up and managed to edge past the Polaris racers, then set off after Kelly. Likewise local racer Greg Winn had pushed his tough RV Magnum Toyota up to challenge and then overtake the top UTVs. The see-saw battle for the lead was pushing both Nelson class one racers to the limit. Kelly half-spun and recovered, attacking Basalaj’s lead in a magnificent charge. Basalaj, meanwhile, had to concede the lead and pit for a ‘splash and dash’ fuel top-up two laps from home. The big Chev V6 in his Jimco could not complete the 250 km on the contents of its 167 litre fuel tank, while Kelly’s Cougar Evo has been designed to run more than 250 km on a tank with little risk of running dry.

On that fourth lap the complexion of the race changed. Basalaj sped up the hill to the start-finish area and the pits, sliding the massive Jimco through the cambered corners aiming to eke out precious seconds ahead of Kelly. He entered the pits to add fuel as Kelly started up the hill and it was Kelly who swept past and into the lead, the Cougar Evo throwing a thick cloud of white duct into the air as he headed back down the logging highway into the forest. Basalaj had missed the exit and lost the lead by a matter of ten seconds and was now having to race in Kelly’s dust. Another lap and the race would be as good as won – but not for Kelly. After a stirring drive, the Nelson racer disappeared from the leader board with a broken steering arm, almost literally in sight of home. Instead, it was the race-built V6 that echoed up through the valleys as Basalaj brought the big car to the chequered flag. Kelly repaired his car and brought it slowly over the line to the finish to claim second place, while Greg Winn had not put a wheel out of place through the entire distance and claimed a well deserved third. All three top placings were Nelson drivers, Vinnie Harvey of Christchurch the first visitor home in fourth overall. Steven Boyd won class two for production four wheel drives and was ninth overall in his giant-killing Suzuki; Owen Chang was tenth overall and won class 8 for unlimited race trucks. Carl Gardner was seventh overall and won class three for race cars with engines up to 1650cc. Graham Fleming was 12th overall and won class five for race cars with engines up to 1.3 litres. New racer Tim George was the first in the popular UTV class, fifth overall.

In the Kiwitruck youth category, which runs on a shorter version of the main track, Brooke Storer beat her sister Jorja.

Top ten finishers, 2014 Ruff’n’Tuff 250 at Nelson:

Nevil Basalaj, Nelson, 1

Ashley Kelly, Nelson, 2

Greg Winn, Nelson, 3

Vinnie Harvey, Christchurch, 4

Tim George, 5

Bob Uttridge, 6

Carl Gardner, Dunedin, 7

Roger McKay, Winton, 8

Steven Boyd, Christchurch, 9

Owen Chang, Christchurch, 10

2014 ORANZ New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship Series – South Island – Round 3 – Results and Points -
Click this link: 2014 Rnd 3 Sth Island National Results

Offroad Championship hits Nelson Forests

  • Polaris RZR1000 racer, Roger McKay, in action at the New Zealand Enduro Champs in July - Picture by Mark Baker

    Polaris RZR1000 racer, Roger McKay, in action at the New Zealand Enduro Champs in July – Picture by Mark Baker

     

  • Racers return to Dovedale
  • New challenge for new UTV class
  • Strong turnout for final points grab

Nelson’s Dovedale Forest has barely stopped echoing to the sound of high performance race engines and the offroad racers are back for more: the Total Lubricants Nelson Ruff N Tuff 250 brings the south’s top drivers back into the course used for the recent Endurance Championship, won last month by Ben Thomasen.

The event is the third round of the 2014 New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship, and with the northerners absent the battle remains between the high performance unlimited class trucks and race cars – and the new wave of UTV racers.

Absent from the enduro championship event but making sure he’s in line for a final top-up of points in the championship is Christchurch racer Vinnie Harvey in his Ryan single-seater, now repowered with a Mitsubishi Evo engine from the Nissan V6 he campaigned last year. He goes up against fast locals including Nevil Basalaj in his mighty Jimco Chev V6 and Ashley Kelly in the Hydraulink Cougar Evo VW.

Christchurch’s Wayne Moriarty leads a six-strong entry in class three for race cars with engines up to 1650cc, with local driver Greg Winn keen to make his mark in the RV Magnum Toyota.

Clint Densem and Graham Fleming go wheel to wheel in class five for race cars with engines up to 1.3 litres, while Challenger VW class regulars John Strickett, Rob Palmer and Paul Cooper will be joined by enduro challenge organiser Darrin Thomason, a dedicated truck-class racer until this year.

There are six UTV-class racers entered, with championship southern leader Roger McKay of Winton aiming to maximise points to carry forward to the national finals in October at Christchurch.

Damien and Wade Halliday are entered in class 10 for race cars with motorcycle engines.

There are two racers in the Kiwitruck youth category, Christchurch sisters Jorja and Brooke Storer.

Their dad Gavin is one of two unlimited-class race truck entries, bringing his V8 four wheel drive Pro Lite north to go up against Owen Chang in the GT Radial Ford Falcon Pro Lite – the original truck built to the popular American design in this country.

Steven Boyd heads up a three-strong production race truck entry in his giant-killing Suzuki.

Nelson Offroad Racing Club has secured the enduro track after careful management of roads drew praise from the forest managers. Scrutineering and time trials happen on-site in the forest from 7:30am with racing to start at 10:30am.

Leading entries for the 2014 Ruff’n’Tuff 250 at Nelson:

Frontline projects/Phoenix Engineering class one

125 Vincent Harvey
173 Nevil Basalaj
185 Cam Stratford
192 Ash Kelly

Class two production race trucks

218 Steven John Boyd
231 Teun Buijs
250 Ron Crosby

Class three race cars up to 1650 cc

312 Wayne Moriarty
341 Carl Gardner
352 James Fleming
353 Blair James Prebble
371 Greg Winn
375 Josh Rutledge

Class five race cars up to 1300cc

572 Graham Fleming
577 Clint Densem

Class 8 unlimited race trucks

840 Gavin Storer
847 Owen Chang

V-Dub Shoppe Challenger class

C22 John Strickett
C82 Rob Palmer
C99 Paul Cooper

Polaris class u

U01 Donald Preston
U15 Grant Dickson
U21 Mike Holmes
U55 Bob Uttridge
U66 Roger McKay
U68 Tim George

Kelso Kontracting class 10

1019 Damian Halliday
1026 Wade Halliday

Kiwitruck

J31 Jorja Storer
J39 Brooke Storer

Hampton Downs Polaris Off Road Park – Opens in October

Hampton Downs trackmap1

Hampton Downs Motor Sport Park will expand activities at its complex this October with the opening of a huge park for casual and competition off road use.

Polaris, the world’s largest off road vehicle producer has taken up naming rights and the new venue will be known as the Hampton Downs Polaris Off Road Park.

The off road park is a new concept for off road motorsports, providing accessibility to a well-established facility on a weekly basis with track hire available all season. It will cater for casual use every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 4pm during a season that will run from October to May and will cater for bikes, ATVs, UTVs and off road race cars. There are plans for regular competitive events and brand new “Skids 4 Kids” days will also be a feature, encouraging younger generations to become involved. Major partner Polaris sees it as a great fit in its drive to increase popularity and sales of its factory-produced range of off road recreation and competition vehicles.

Park Manager Ian Foster believes The Polaris Off Road Park will be significant for the growth and exposure of the sport which is often conducted in remote, one-off, locations. “The aim is to grow the sport by giving anybody and everybody the opportunity to experience off roading in a controlled environment with competitions at the venue to expose the sport of Off Road Racing to the general public,” he explained.

A focus will be on the factory produced class of UTV vehicles, which are fast becoming popular for both recreation and competition. The first UTV Championship will be a feature of the season and will be staged in conjunction with a revived Off Road Grand Prix Series. Auckland Off Road Racing Club has booked eight dates to run Off Road Association of New Zealand (ORANZ) sanctioned events at the park over next summer, which will include a National Championship round.

Hampton Downs circuit is already popular amongst the country’s car brands and the new facility will also be available for dealer demonstration days, corporate ride days and track hire during weekends and week days by appointment. The public will also be welcome to hire an off road vehicle on offer or bring their own, trailered, machine to any of the public weekends scheduled throughout the summer season.

Further information is available at www.hamptondownsoffroadpark.co.nz and you can follow latest updates at www.facebook.com/hamptondownsoffroadpark

Thomasen survives ice challenge to dominate Nelson Enduro

#U20 Ben Thomasen takes the chequered flag and the outright victory in the 2014 Total Lubricants New Zealand Enduro Champs in his Polaris RZR 1000

#U20 Ben Thomasen takes the chequered flag and the outright victory in the 2014 Total Lubricants New Zealand Enduro Champs in his Polaris RZR 1000 – Photo and story by Mark Baker

Tauranga’s Ben Thomasen wasn’t keen on crashing through 10mm-thick ice in his Polaris RZR 1000, but he did what was required at the two-day 2014 Total Lubricants New Zealand Endurance Championship held at Dovedale over the weekend.

The event is the toughest offroad race on the 2014 New Zealand competition calendar, and bitterly cold days with sub-zero overnight temperatures made things extra challenging for the majority of the drivers, whose vehicles are open to the elements.

Thomasen won in emphatic fashion, starting with pole position in qualifying on Saturday morning  and following through into a determined drive when the flag dropped at 11.00 am that morning. Though the Polaris four wheel drives are light and agile and have excellent grip, Thomasen said the day-long near-zero temperatures with 120 km/h windchill and the tight, challenging hill course in pine forests made for a constant challenge.

“It was very, very cold out there in the wind and the ice in the valleys basically never went away, so I was ducking down behind the car’s single wind deflector a lot but the course was so tight I really had to work hard to stay on the road.”

A succession of icy water splashes and creek crossings soon soaked the drivers of all but the lone production-class race truck of Lucinda Maynard and Mike Hay and the challenge truck class Jeep of Wellington’s Don Morgan, which retain a windscreen and heater. The drivers in the nine-strong ‘UTV’ class entry – Thomasen going up against seasoned offroad racers – were completely exposed to the chunks of ice that flew up off the puddles as they completed each 42 km lap.

“I got a face-full on one lap and just about couldn’t breathe!”

Thomasen said his crew joked afterward that he had completed his own Ice Challenge, referring to the fundraising craze sweeping the internet over the past month.

Polaris, Can Am and Arctic Cat race cars are the latest class sanctioned for competition by the sport’s governing body. All-wheel-drive, engines that have excellent mid-range torque and car designs that are strong and light are their key advantages, though they are limited by their relatively short range and a top speed substantially less than the big unlimited class cars and trucks: 120 km/h vs up to 200 km/h.

The battle on the first day quickly became a David and Goliath affair with Thomasen fending off other UTV-class teams and the might of the unlimited class entries. Six of New Zealand’s fastest class one offroad race teams were entered in the event, three from the North Island and the others from Nelson. Only Nelsonians Nevil Basalaj and Ashley Kelly were  able to bring the fight to Thomasen.

Behind Thomasen as the first day of racing reached middle distance, local driver Kelly was striving to chase down the flying Polaris, but was slowed by a flat tyre and then power steering problems.

Winton’s Roger McKay in another Polaris was battling Kelly for second on the road by the end of the first day, Kelly narrowly edging him out. Nevil Basalaj had recovered from an abysmal qualifying sprint that saw him start toward the rear of the field and was pushing the big Jimco Chev through to catch the leaders.

Aucklander Ernie Hogg was also looking to claw his way up through the field in The General, his two-seater Scorpion Chev race car, but found the tighter sections of the course a challenge. As did the race’s international entry, ex-pat Kiwi Mike Hughes. His massive V8 engined Ford F150 was up against the Nissan Safari V8 of Carter Strang and the V8 supercharged Toyota Hilux of Paul Preston. All three were keen to stay on the same lap as leader Thomasen, but Hughes’ unlimited-class challenge was not helped by two flat tyres and an off-track excursion late in the race. He was extricated from the trees by Lucinda Maynard in her production class Toyota Landcruiser.

By mid-afternoon the first day of racing belonged to an elated Thomasen, who had managed to fight off the big unlimited-class race cars and the throng of UTVs despite having to pit for fuel after three of the day’s six laps. He took the chequered flag after 250 km with the fuel warning light blinking on the dash of his Polaris.

At Sunday’s restart, Thomasen had Ashley Kelly, Roger McKay and another Nevil Basalaj, crowding his rear bumper. McKay started third and shot past Kelly but then the superior power of Kelly’s Cougar VW saw him regain second, while Basalaj’s massive Jimco was close behind McKay and the Nelson driver was looking for a way past.

2014 Total Lubricants New Zealand Enduro Champs - FINAL RESULTS

2014 Total Lubricants New Zealand Enduro Champs – FINAL RESULTS

Kelly then made a wild overtaking charge in the fast road sections, but slid wide and rolled the Cougar into the trees. It was the end of his race.

Roger McKay retook second and set off after Thomasen, who had stretched out a lead of almost a minute by the end of the lap. Basalaj was close behind  but the battle for second between the pair meant Thomasen was able to preserve his lead and ease off the pace slightly, conserving fuel. He made his scheduled fuel stop and the third lap of the day and was out in front of Basalaj, who had pitted at the same time.

Many of the other drivers in the class were being slowed by punctures.

The sole Arctic Cat in the class, Donald Preston’s Wildcat, developed a misfire and he stopped on the track.

There were no such problems out the front as Thomasen continued to extend his lead and attrition reduced the field to ten cars or less.

“The second day was great because we knew we could do three laps okay, so I was watching the fuel consumption. But then in the final three Roger was closing in on me so I had to push a bit harder. That was a bit tricky, but I didn’t want him to get past,” he said.

The race was decided in Thomasen’s favour with one lap to run when McKay dropped back with a deflating rear tyre. He overshot the pit entrance and was forced to continue on the failing tyre, stopped and changed it and then had the opposite rear tyre also go flat.

Thomasen flew through the final lap and took the chequered flag to the obvious delight of his pit crew. At the pits, Thomasen was quietly confident he would have enough time advantage to take the event victory. The race is on accumulated time over the two 250 km legs.

McKay’s flat tyres had dropped him behind Nevil Basalaj on the road and Basalaj was second car through the finish line on the Sunday. The time deficit between Basalaj and McKay meant the local would have to be happy with a well-deserved third place while McKay was safely second overall.

Thomasen was the only driver to go under eight hours for the race distance of 500 km: he completed his winning run in 7 hours, 52 minutes. It is the first major endurance title won by UTVs in New Zealand offroad racing, though Thomasen served notice of the race-winning potential of the new class and the Polaris RZR when he won last year’s Gwavas 250.

A total of 30 drivers entered the 2014 Total Lubricants NZ Enduro Championship which was presented in association with Greg Winn Contracting.

Click the following link to view the final results from the 2014 Total Lubricants New Zealand Enduro Champs:

Final Placings 2014 NZ Enduro Champs

North vs South in Offroad Endurance Champs in Nelson

Basalaj in action at Twizel 250

Basalaj in action at Twizel 250

North vs south is the grudge-match agenda this weekend as Aucklander Ernie Hogg brings The General – his Scorpion Chev two-seater V8 unlimited class racer – to Nelson to go up against the proven Jimco Chev V6 of local racer Nevil Basalaj.
At stake is the biggest prize in the 2014 calendar – the New Zealand Endurance Racing Championship title. The biggest endurance race in New Zealand offroad racing’s 2014 calendar is a matter of days away. It is a 500 km race run over two days – 250 km a day – on a fast and challenging forest course at Dovedale, southwest of the South Island city.

Ernie Hogg on dramatic debut at the 2013 ENZED Taupo 1000

Ernie Hogg on dramatic debut at the 2013 ENZED Taupo 1000

The pair met at the Twizel 250 earlier this year, but Hogg found his tyres short on grip as he tried to go wheel to wheel with the Basalaj Jimco.
Hogg’s Wilco Racing Team – one of the most professional in the sport – have completely rebuilt the Scorpion ready for the challenge and head south from Auckland mid-week.
Twizel 250 winner Basalaj meanwhile has been getting his car rebuilt in Christchurch after rolling it at a southern championship round.
In total, six of New Zealand’s fastest unlimited-class cars have entered the event with three North Island and three South Island teams ready to do battle.
Half-rally stage and half-extreme race event, the race is a stand-alone title in the sport. It runs every two years, alternating with the Taupo 1000, and is sponsored this year by Total Oil. Organisers of the Nelson event say recent storms have not affected the venue’s 42 km lap significantly though there have been fallen trees to clear.
Spokesperson Darrin Thomason says the course is equally suited to race cars and trucks and switches seamlessly between high speed logging highways and ‘skid’ roads through established pine forest.
“The race start will be two-side on a big fast arterial road built for the logging crews and the next five kilometres continues in that style, allowing drivers to get sorted before diving into the trickier tracks. We have created a lap that builds on the course we plotted last time and has something to challenge every driver,” said Thomasen.
Spectators will have a range of viewing areas around the start-finish and pits and can also see the cars where they power through a water splash to return to the start-finish area.
There is a new firebreak downhill that will test the nerve of drivers and navigators and the course has its share of muddy sections, fast roads and narrow tracks.
“These days getting access to a course in a production pine forest is almost impossible in many parts of New Zealand, and this one is a ripper. The top cars will hit 180 km/h or more in the fast stuff, everyone will be snagging second gear in the tight and twisty single-lane tracks, and we are looking forward to the battle for the outright title between the big unlimited-class cars and trucks and the smaller UTV class racers,” he said.
The defending champion, Daniel Powell, came away from the 2012 race raving about the challenge. This year Powell is sidelined building a new car, meaning there will be a new name on the enduro trophy on Sunday afternoon. The race has attracted a number of North Island entries and one international, Mike Hughes, in a Ford F150 desert race truck.

In wretched conditions, Polaris Pilot, Ben Thomason wins the Gwavas 200 Enduro and takes a historic victory for UTV racing in New Zealand

In wretched conditions, Polaris Pilot, Ben Thomason wins the Gwavas 200 Enduro and takes a historic victory for UTV racing in New Zealand

The most numerous class this year when ‘normal’ entries closed was UTV, with nine confirmed and several more likely to front for the race.
Racing in the 2014 Total Lubricants NZ Enduro Championship – presented in association with Greg Winn Contracting – starts at 11.00 am on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday.
-End-
Leading entries in the Total Lubricants NZ Enduro Champs 2014

Class one, unlimited race cars
100 Richard Crabb
171 Paul Smith
173 Nevil Basalaj
182 Blake McDonald
190 Ernie Hogg
192 Ash Kelly

Class two, production four wheel drive race trucks
205 Lucinda Maynard
250 Ron Crosby

Class three, race cars with engines up to 1632cc
375 Cam Stratford
353 Blair Prebble
371 Greg Winn
372 John Van Dyk
376 John Claridge

Class four, sports/improved race trucks
454 Paul Milne

Class six, challenge trucks
618 Don Morgan

Class eight, unlimited race trucks
800 Paul Preston
801 Mike Hughes
832 Carter Strang
864 Neville Taylor

Challenger VW class
C22 John Strickett
C52 Barry Phillips
C99 Paul Cooper

Class 10, motorcycle-engined offroad race cars
1069 Rosco Gaudin

Class U, UTV race vehicles
U01 Donald Preston
U08 Phil Smart
U15 Grant Dickson
U20 Ben Thomasen
U21 Mike Holmes
U22 Dave Henry
U55 Bob Uttridge
U66 Roger McKay
U69 Tony Radisich

DRIVER BULLETIN 13 July 2014 – from Clerk of the Course – Glenn Goosen

DRIVER BULLETIN DATED 13th July 2014
On behalf of ORANZ we would like to bring your attention to the official rule regarding race gloves.
RULE 6
t) All vehicles shall be checked prior to the start of any race or heat and when re-
entering a race after pitting or refuelling, to ensure all occupants must have their
harnesses, helmet, neck brace, flame retardant race gloves and eye protection
(visor/goggles) secured correctly, and these must remain in place for the duration of
the race.

Some examples of gloves that do not meet the flame retardant race gloves specifications are:
- Gardening gloves
- Motorcross gloves
- Mechanics gloves
This will be enforced at future ORANZ sanctioned race meetings including the Enduro champs in Nelson this weekend. Anyone not complying with this rule will be unable to race. No exceptions.

The biggest Endurance race of the year – The Total Oil NZ Enduro Champs

2012 Enduro Champion, Daniel Powell in action

2012 Enduro Champion, Daniel Powell in action

The biggest endurance race in New Zealand offroad racing’s 2014 calendar is a matter of days away. Over the weekend of July 19 and 20, Nelson will host the New Zealand Endurance Championship, for the second time. A 500 km race run over two days on a fast and challenging forest course at Dovedale, southwest of the South Island city.
The race runs every two years, alternating with the Taupo 1000, and is sponsored this year by Total Oil. Organisers of the Nelson event say recent storms have not affected the venue’s 35 km lap significantly though there have been fallen trees to clear.

2014 Enduro Champs track loop

2014 Enduro Champs track loop

Spokesperson Darrin Thomason says the course is equally suited to race cars and trucks and switches seamlessly between high speed logging highways and ‘skid’ roads through established pine forest.
“These days getting access to a course in a production pine forest is almost impossible in many parts of New Zealand, and this one is a ripper. The top cars will hit 180 km/h or more in the fast stuff, everyone will be snagging second gear in the tight and twisty single-lane tracks, and we are looking forward to the battle for the outright title between the big unlimited-class cars and trucks and the smaller UTV class racers,” he said.
The defending champion, Daniel Powell, came away from the 2012 race raving about the challenge.
The most numerous class this year when ‘normal’ entries closed was UTV, with nine confirmed and several more likely to front for the race.

New Zealand Enduro Champs – 19 & 20 July 2014 – Nelson

2014 Enduro Champs

Entries are already coming in for the 2014 Total Lubricants NZ Endurance Championship, to be held in Nelson July 18-19. The track will be a loop of approximately 44km with the start line being two-wide staggered on a main logging road.

Endurance Champs 4x4

The first five km is wide arterial roads then winding down Brandy Creek Road through a creek crossing then winding back up the top to more fast roads with sections going off and back on the road heading to Trass Valley then through another creek crossing (pictured) winding back up the valley heading into Crowds Road which consists of a lot of trees and clay sections and a few more water holes. This section has some tight windy pieces and clay. Club spokesperson Darrin Thomason says a working bee at the weekend has opened up a new firebreak downhill section (hold on) then at the bottom another creek crossing before the track winds up a narrow,tight section through gorse and scrub, then down a slippery mud piece onto gravel through another creek crossing and wind up a fast winding track to Pits.

Daniel Powell winning the 2012 Enduro Champs

Daniel Powell winning the 2012 Enduro Champs

Darrin says the event is going to top the 2012 Enduro champs – which winner Daniel Powell (pic taking chequered flag end of day two) said was the best enduro track he has ever raced.