The Offroad Racing Association of New Zealand launched its search for the National Champion at Tect All Terrain Park in the Bay Of Plenty on Saturday 20 March.
The Tect Park racetrack is a groomed, short course off-road race track. The track is 17 metres wide and 1 kilometre long. The fastest lap on Saturday went to Joel Giddy with a lap record of 42 seconds in his 1000cc turbocharged Yamaha UTV. The racer awarded the prize for “longest jump” was #805 Andrew Hawkeswood.
This event was held in good weather conditions and the Waikato Offroad Racing Club had worked hard during the week leading up to the event to present a well prepared racing surface that offered great viewing and almost no dust. Club President Colin Meredith was instrumental in track prep. “We put 72,000 litres of water on the day before the event and our sponsor, Daltons, provided an organic mulch which has worked well to trap the moisture in the soil” said Colin.
Racers arrived from all parts of the North Island. Many had competed just the previous weekend as the Covid19 lockdowns had forced other major events to postpone close to this scheduled event.
#333 Brendon Old leading Class 3 in the championship – picture by Philip Hagan
On Saturday 20 March, Taranaki’s #333 Brendon Old put on an off-road racing masterclass. Never putting a wheel wrong, he dominated the Class 3, 1600cc field, to become the championship series leader in class. He drove a great race that delivered many spectacular moments. His smooth, but fast racing is incredible to watch, as the rest of the field tried every trick in the book, just to catch up.
Class 1 racer, #144 Brad Harvey (Rotorua), also demonstrated that good lines and smooth driving makes fast look slow, as he dominated Class 1 to take the early championship lead. In a field loaded with V8 grunt, his 4 cylinder delivered all the usable drive he needed to be propelled into contention in every race.
By comparison, #805 Andrew Hawkeswood (Auckland) put of an aerial display that was great to watch, lap after lap the loud roar of the 460 cubic inch Chev V8 preceded a leap across the Start Finish line that ended 50 meters further up the race track, and sometimes further. Hawkeswood is now leading the race truck Class 8 field. Not a bad position to be in, with 2021 being his first season as an ORANZ competitor.
The toughest fields of the day had to be in the UTV classes. U Class (standard) and S Class (turbo) are consistently large racing fields with competitors that are all capable of taking the lead and who are all “on the trigger”. To shine here you have to be something special. When the lead racers hit the jump at Tect Park it was like warfare. Multiple racers in every lap, airborne at the same time and none of them lifting. It’s a credit to the track designers that every racer could “send it” and survive the landing. Awesome to watch. Racer #U83 Scott Munro is a well deserved points leader in the U Class championship. #S16 Joel Giddy equally impressive as the S Class championship leader.
#S11 Dion Edgecombe scraps with #S16 Joel Giddy in flight – picture by Philip Hagan
#751 Holly Russell under attack by #C12 Harry Hodgson
The Young Guns are banging on the door and they can’t be denied. We have lots of serious talent coming through the ranks. Class C points leader is 14 year old, #C63 Matthew Bishop, who showed all of the skills learnt from years in KiwiTrucks. A masterful and mature race with just enough daring to hold off the other Young Gun in C Class #C12 Harry Hodgson, who is 2nd on the leader board. These two didn’t get everything their own way with veteran racer #C04 Steve Hughes there in 3rd to keep them in line.
It was great to see #900 Maurice Bain becoming the points leader for Class 9 and #401 Robert Cresswell the Class 4 leader. #584 Bradley Scott leads Class 5.
Taranaki’s #1065 Jon Sarten takes the Class 10 lead over Waikato’s #NZ3 Neil Hook.
The battle lines are drawn in Class 7 with the early lead being held by #789 Brooklyn Horan in his golden ride. Pulling “double duty” in the championship #751 Holly Russell is determined and her second place puts her in the hunt early in the season.
Class J is a talent pool and its great to see this feeder class in action. Current points leader is #J150 Asher Morgan. Leading isn’t easy with #J81 Reeve Giddy and #J34 Tanner Willets, second and third respectively, hard on your heals.
Rivallry’s came to the fore at Tect Park. You could almost feel the unfinished business from the previous weekends Stadium Champs boil up in the battle between #M06 Kenna Baker (leading M Class) and #NZ2 Holly Russell in her leading ST Class racecar. It was a fight that still has a few rounds to go. Can’t wait to see it all happen again as the season unfolds.
The Championship points leaders after round 1 of the championship are:
Class 1 – 1st Brad Harvey (Rotorua), 2nd Shaun Russell (Auckland), 3rd Justin Davies (Auckland)
Class 3 – 1st Brendon Old (Stratford), 2nd Connor Nicklin (Albany), 3rd Jarrod Marwood (Auckland)
Class 4 – 1st Robert Creswell
Class 5 – 1st Bradley Scott
Class 7 – 1st Brooklyn Horan (Kaipara), 2nd Holly Russell (Auckland), 3rd Jack Edgecombe (Matamata)
Class 8 – 1st Andrew Hawkeswood (Auckland), 2nd Bruce McKeown (Auckland), 3rd Ricky May (Taranaki)
Class 9 – 1st Maurice Bain (Hamilton)
C Class – 1st Matthew Bishop (Tuakau), 2nd Harry Hodgson (Cambridge), 3rd Steve Hughes (Drury)
U Class – 1st Scott Munro (Pukekohe), 2nd Roger McKay (Whakatane), 3rd Scott Mitchell (Huapai)
S Class – 1st Joel Giddy (Auckland), 2nd Dion Edgecombe (Matamata), 3rd Dyson Delahunty (Tauranga)
Class 10 – 1st Jon Sarten (Taranaki), 2nd Neil Hook (Waikato)
Class J – 1st Asher Morgan (Hobsonville), 2nd Reeve Giddy (Auckland), 3rd Tanner Willetts
Class M – 1st Kenna Baker (Whakatane)
Class ST – 1st Holly Russell (Auckland), 2nd Aaron Crabb (Auckland)