This year’s Na­tional 4x4 Tri­als Cham­pi­onship was won by Hamish Auret and Paul Barnes in their dis­tinc­tive red Cow­per Trucks’ Chev.

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - Story and pho­tos by Gail Smith

This year’s Na­tional 4x4 Tri­als Cham­pi­onship was won by Hamish Auret and Paul Barnes in their dis­tinc­tive red Cow­per Trucks’ Chev.

Af­ter a fan­tas­tic six-round sea­son , driver/ owner Hamish Auret ( Wan­ganui 4WD Club) and co-driver Paul ‘Barnsey’ Barnes ( Mt Eg­mont 4WD Club) now hold the NZ1 ti­tle and have the priv­i­lege of run­ning that num­ber in­stead of D222 next sea­son. Af­ter many re­quests for more in­for­ma­tion about their ti­tle- win­ning truck I cor­nered the pair and asked Hamish for a full run­down. Here goes.

Win­ning ways

Hamish im­ported the en­gine from the ‘ States just be­fore the Cow­per Truck build started. It’s out of a mod­i­fied 2010 Z06 Chevrolet Corvette, a dry-sumped seven- litre V8 with an af­ter­mar­ket cam and big throt­tle body and is pro­duc­ing ap­prox­i­mately 484 kWs ( 650hp). The trans­mis­sion is the weak­est link in the truck as it still runs the V6 Toy­ota Win­dom unit just like ev­ery­one else. Con­sid­er­ing the hp that is put through it, it stands up very well. Run­ning 35-inch Mickey Thomp­son t yres, on 12- inch rims in­stead of the usual 10- inch. Hamish and Paul have worked hard to get the mix right be­tween them­selves and the ma­chine and this sea­son won five out of the six events – which shows they have it right. The boys read the ground well and look at the al­ter­na­tive lines and take cal­cu­lated risks to achieve the op­ti­mum score but some­times mis­judge and the throt­tle is pushed to the limit with some spec­tac­u­lar moves.

Team work

The pair walk each ob­sta­cle then use their judge­ment as to where to ap­ply power, hy­draulic steer­ing and four­wheel brakes. Once back in the truck and tight­ened into their seats each has his in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity but with Paul able to read the ground and feel the ma­chine un­der­neath he has the abil­ity to use the brakes and steer­ing to com­pen­sate where nec­es­sary and as­sist Hamish to get that zero, so it is team work all round. It’s been a dream sea­son for the boys right up un­til the big roll they had at the fi­nal. Hamish is quoted as say­ing: “It’s been a dream come true for me win­ning NZ1 for the first time, ob­vi­ously there has been a lot of money, time, and com­mit­ment go into it to achieve the ti­tle so it feels re­ally good to get there!” “The trucks Dan makes are a real credit to him, and Barnsey has been ex­cep­tional and I’m very lucky to have him. He is equally as com­mit­ted to win­ning as I am and it ’s been a recipe that has worked in the short time we have been to­gether.”

Hamish and Paul show­ing the style that won them the ti­tle

C class win­ners Phil Con­well and Paul Chap­man

F class win­ners Dave Hintz and Wayne Weatherly

E class win­ners Glenn and Philippa D’Ath

NZ1 ti­tle win­ners for 2014/15, Hamish Auret (right) and Paul Barnes

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