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.
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.