- Lucky seven score maximum points at Makarau
- Fast day on the dirt marred by crashes
The opening round of the 20-19 New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship started with a bang for racer Karl Fenton, who won the opening heat for unlimited class cars in spectacular fashion.
Unfortunately the ‘bang’ in the next race was not as satisfying – the big American race car rode over the wheel of a smaller rival at the start and was flicked into the air, completing a barrel roll before coming to rest.
He was unhurt, but the big car took no further part in the day’s racing..
The short course race meeting, held in breezy and fine conditions at the All Terrain Racing club’s track at Makarau, had its share of upsets as well, as racers grappled with a high grip surface and big grids of cars.
Meanwhile seven drivers have taken a maximum 72 points with clean-sweep wins of their race heats. They are Ben Howard (class 5), Boston Morgan-Horan (Auckland, class 7), Gerard Chitty (Waiuku, 4WD Bits class four), Warren Adams (North Shore, 4WD Bits class six), Tim Ackers (Auckland, Challenger VW), Neil Hook (Auckland, class 10) and Matthew Bishop (West Auckland, Kiwitruck M class).
The biggest grids of the weekend were in the unlimited race car class, where Karl Fenton (pictured) gave his immaculate Concrete Motorsports Jimco Chev a debut win and then rolled the car on the second of three heats. A change to the championship rules has enabled all racers to contest as many rounds of the championship as they like, taking their best three results to arrive at their final regional points position. The move is expected to boost grids at most of the six regional rounds and at Makarau, Dan Fisher and Donald Preston both made the long trip north to compete.
Colin Meredith rolled his Southern Cross in a later heat. But it was multiple champion Tony McCall who took over from Fenton and won the remaining heats.
The crowd were also on their feet to watch an epic duel between NickHall and Mal Langley for the victory on unlimited race trucks.Hall won the first heat,was a dnf in the second when he picked up a flat tyre, and had to settle for second overall as Langley locked up the remainder of the heats.The other 4WD Bits truck class winner was Damon Gilberd, who won the production class despite crashing out.
In the JG Civil UTV class the crowd was treated to non-stop action with ten cars in the U class for standard UTVs and six in the S class for modified. Tauranga’s Dyson Delahunty won U class in the championship debut of the new Polaris single-seater UTV. The S class title was even more closely fought with Joel Giddy and Carl Ruiterman taking equal first and championship regular Brian Rutgers finishing third.
The Kiwitruck youth category class is hugely popular in the North Island, with nine racers fronting up in J class and another two in S class. Reeve Giddy won J class and Matthew Bishop took M class.
Produced by Veritas Communications Limited for the Offroad Racing Association of New Zealand. For further information and images please contact
Mobile 021 2120607