Colin goes the distance for second
Matamata off-road racer Colin Meredith drove an enduring two days and 1000km over rutted forest tracks and open gravel roads to come second in the Asset Finance Taupo 1000 on August 19-21.
Out of 87 entrants Meredith qualified 11th on the Friday, finished fifth on the Saturday and moved up to second on the Sunday, finishing four minutes ahead of third place.
‘‘It was the last five laps when I had to step up slightly to be sure of second. The third place-getter was hunting me down. It wasn’t all over, I had to keep going.’’
Meredith, 61, was humble and played down his victory but said: ‘‘ I was very happy’’.
The Taupo 1000 is a biannual off-road event held in Kaingaroa Forest and consists of 20 laps at just over 50km a lap and runs for two days. Some cars achieve up to 200kmh.
It is considered the toughest endurance off-road race of its kind and is also the longest race in any sport in the Southern Hemisphere.
‘‘I ran the race to survive and finish,’’ said Meredith. ‘‘ Some racers place and others demise – because some cars have broken, rolled out of the race, crashed or had breakdowns. There is a 30 per cent attrition rate.’’
The driving strategy was all done under the instruction of Meredith’s son Logan who was monitoring on an electronic scoreboard.
‘‘Out there I really don’t know what’s happening. My son was very much a part of it with me, informing me.’’
Meredith has been racing for eight years and drives under the team name Old Man Racing.
‘‘It’s a passion with a lot of commitment.’’
He drives a purpose-built for off-road racing exAustralian Southern Cross, powered by a 3.6 V6 G.M. Quad Cam late model Holden Commodore engine, which he has owned for 12 months.
It has a 12-inch crown wheel, and the frame is chrome-molly.
‘‘ The suspension is the most important thing and has to take any roughness without slowing down and has to corner well.’’
Meredith does all the maintenance himself along with his son.
‘‘ The maintenance is approximately three hours for every hour of racing.’’
Meredith has spent much of his life behind the wheel of a truck and believes he is building a reputation as an endurance racer.
‘‘Even a taxi driver or a bus driver will be a better long distance driver, as they learn how to concentrate.’’
He said he had always enjoyed racing.
‘‘From an early age I had a fascination with seeing how steep an angles a vehicle could and couldn’t go on, as in tractors and four-wheel drives; somewhere in my later years that became more of a passion for speed.’’
Matamata woman Debby Hoyland also competed in the Taupo 1000.
Built for speed: Colin Meredith came second in the Asset Finance Taupo 1000 race earlier this month.
In action: Colin Meredith puts his pedal to the metal on the Asset Finance Taupo 1000 race track.