Offroad racing’s big banger unlimited class race cars meet the tiny but quick UTV four wheel drives in Woodhill
Forest this Queen’s Birthday weekend for 250 kilometres of all-out high speed racing.
This year the race is set to be a battle between the unlimited-class V8 race trucks and cars of class one and eight
and the tiny but potent ‘UTV’ class Polaris and Can Am race cars that have swept through the sport in the past two
A race-day grid of 14 or more unlimited-class cars – most of them V8 powered – will play ‘Goliath’ to the UTV
‘Davids’ the 34th Woodhill 100, New Zealand’s fastest and toughest one day endurance race.
Proudly carrying the Chevy flag in the unlimited class are Ernie Hogg, multiple Woodhill 100 winner Tony McCall and
Gregg Carrington-Hogg, all of them using high output modified LS-series V8 engines.
Alan Hilliam from the Waikato is also racing in the unlimited class, running a Porsche flat six engine in his
single-seat race car.
The Polaris and Can Am UTV racers are a new arrival in the sport and Tauranga’s Ben Thomasen (Polaris RZR 900) made
his mark last year with pole position followed by runaway dominance in the opening laps. Ben Thomasen, Mike Small,
Phil Smart, Paul Sutton and Tony Radisich are the first entries in the UTV class and the entry is likely to edge
toward 10 of these new race vehicles.
Meanwhile, Albany’s Raana Horan leads the race truck entries in his mighty Nissan Titan V8. Horan counts this race
as his ‘home’ event and has won it twice. He was the first driver ever to win the Woodhill in a race truck. local
racer Jono Climo is bringing his Toyota Hilux Trophy Truck and Justin Leonard brings his Tulsi Pies sponsored Chev
all the way from Wellington. Mike Cox has just confirmed his entry and is the only Pro Lite class 8 in his Toyota
Race entries had exceeded 65 cars a week out from the event and organisers expect to see a grid of 70 or more on
when the action starts at 11.00 am on Sunday 1 June.
The Woodhill is open to cars complying with the 13 classes of car eligible for the national championship. These
range from the diminutive Kiwitrucks used in the youth category all the way to ‘anything goes’ unlimited-class
trucks and race cars.
The most punishing enduro in the sport
The Woodhill is a 50-50 mix of gravel forest roads and rough sand tracks and every year attracts the top race
drivers and teams. The course is plotted so that drivers go from fast 200 km/h roads into mud bogs or sand tracks
that force them into first or second gear. The fastest race cars are likely to lap in an average speed of more than
120 km/h and top out at 210 km/h on the longer straights.
Scrutineering and qualifying for the event will be held from noon on Saturday May 31 at the Steele family’s sand
quarry north of Kumeu; the race on Sunday June 1 is accessed off Trig Road north of Parakai. Qualifying is open to
the public by kind permsission of the Steele family. Racing starts at 9.30 am for the youth category and the main
event starts at 11.00 am.
The Stihl Shop Woodhill 100 will also be filmed for TV3’s CRC Motorsport programme.