• Top field assured for first round of Championship
• Title fight starts with northern short course event
• Local racers aim to score top results
Local racers are aiming to get a strong start to their championship year as the New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship roars into action at Fielding on March 9.
Palmerston North Offroad Racing Club has built an all-new course for the event and Club spokesperson Andy Briggs says local racer Martin van der Wal will be bringing out his spectacular V8 ThunderTruck and aiming to take maximum points in his class.
There is a strong spread of entries for all 12 championship classes beginning with the youth class of Kiwitrucks and running all the way to the anything-goes class one race cars.
In the equally spectacular unlimited class one for open-wheel race cars, a battle of the V8s is brewing. The 2013 class champion, Tony McCall, is bringing his BSL Terra Chev to race against new rival Ernie Hogg in the “General Lee”, a Scorpion Chev in the livery of TV Show The Dukes of Hazzard’s iconic Dodge Challenger – complete with confederate flag.
Also contesting class one is Auckland’s Gregg Carrington-Hogg in his Chev powered two-seater.
“The Carrington family may well be on a world domination campaign, with Gregg in class one and the kids all spreading out across the other classes,” said Andy Briggs.
At the other end of the spectrum from the thundering class one cars, Trae Carrington is one of three entries in the youth category for Kiwitrucks, miniature race trucks with motorcycle engines.
Jaden Carrington will go wheel to wheel with Tony McCall’s son Ollie and Tyler Castle in class seven field for race cars with 1.2-litre VW engines.
“Last but hardly least, multiple class seven champion Taine Carrington starts the 2014 season in the family’s very fast class five car.”
The newest class in the sport is for the Polaris and CanAm ‘UTVs’, with national class champion Ben Thomasen of Tauranga heading south with his new car to do battle with Paeroa racer Mike Small, both in new Polaris RZR 1000 race cars.
Geoff Matich, Wayne Rowe, Ricky Jessen and Ash Caryl will contest Challenger class for race cars with 1.6-litre VW flat four engines.
In the truck classes, Wellington’s Glenn Turvey is bringing his American-built Toyota to race against the local version campaigned by Rex Croskery of Te Puke.
Hawkes Bay racer Dean Graham is moving up to the 1.6-litre ‘open’ class three for 2014 and will start his championship campaign this weekend.
Registration and vehicle inspections are being held between 2pm and 5pm in the Feilding Town Square on Saturday March 8. Racing takes place at 127 Kawakawa Road on March 9 beginning at 10 am with three heats for each class followed by a 15 lap all-in feature race. A new 1.4 kilometre course has been built by event sponsors Rush Excavation specially for the event.
In a ‘first’ for offroad racing, there will also be static displays of military vehicles and four wheel drives – the former drawn from the keen enthusiasts of the New Zealand Military Vehicle Collectors Club and the latter from Manawatu Four Wheel Drive Club.
“The military vehicle guys will be a great addition to the event, and we may even see a tank brought out on the day. The four wheel drive guys are promoting the first round of their championship – and we reckon their display will also help clear up any perception that offroad racing and four wheel driving are similar or the same, as the machinery is very, very different in each discipline,” said Andy Briggs.
Gate admission charges are $10 per person or $20 per family.