ENZED OF­FROAD CHAMPS

The lead­ing truck (4WD) com­peti­tors made their mark at the fi­nal north­ern round of the 2015 ENZED Of­froad Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship at Mere­mere in early Au­gust.

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - Story and photos by Mark Baker

Raana Ho­ran dom­i­nated three of the four heats for the un­lim­ited truck class at the Leader Prod­ucts short course event on All Ter­rain Rac­ing Club’s pur­pose-built track at Mere­mere but was forced to miss the last heat due to work com­mit­ments.

Class leader Jono Climo tore apart his Kumho-backed JRC Toy­ota V8 truck’s left front up­right in the first heat, and Palmer­ston North racer Wil­liam van der Wal’s new De­mon energy drink-spon­sored truck caught fire late in the day.

Guest ap­pear­ance

Nick Leahy was mak­ing a ‘guest ap­pear­ance’ in the same class driv­ing the Camco Toy­ota Chev but broke the truck’s steer­ing. There were no such dra­mas for Nick Hall, who pow­ered the Elf Toy­ota Hilux to three sec­ond plac­ings be­hind Ho­ran and then won the fi­nal truck heat out­right.

In a long day of short course rac­ing at the All Ter­rain Rac­ing Club’s Mere­mere track, six driv­ers amassed the max­i­mum 72 points.

Three of the four truck classes saw driv­ers take the max­i­mum: Cameron Tay­lor won class 2 for pro­duc­tion four wheel drives and truck in his Nissan Navara; Te Puke’s Rex Croskery won class four for sports/im­proved trucks in his Toy­ota Hilux; War­ren Adams won class six for Chal­lenge trucks in his Nissan Sa­fari.

A full 72 points in the youth cat­e­gory went to Harry Hodg­son in the Mi­das J-class Ki­witruck and Jack­son Sav­age in the tiny but de­cep­tively fast K-class Po­laris.

Big­gest en­try

For the first time, it was the youth Ki­witruck cat­e­gory that had the big­gest en­try in the cham­pi­onship. The event at­tracted a record ten J-class en­tries in the youth cat­e­gory along with the new K-class Po­laris and two M-class Ki­witrucks. In the race car classes a full 72 points went to Gregg Car­ring­ton-Hogg who won class 9 with a clean sweep in his Chev-pow­ered Baja. New com­peti­tor Paul Hussey won class 10 in his Edge Bar­racuda with four wins from four starts. Mul­ti­ple na­tional cham­pion Tony McCall broke his ENZED BSL Terra Chev’s steer­ing in heat two for the Achilles Ra­dial-backed class one un­lim­ited race cars. His crew re­paired the car but he re­peated the dam­age in heats three and four, nurs­ing the crip­pled sin­gle seater home in fourth place in both those heats.

Drifter Carl

Ben Thomasen broke his front sus­pen­sion and his Po­laris team-mate Dyson De­lahunty rolled his Po­laris RZR 1000 in the U-class heats, while Joel Giddy rolled his RZR in the fi­nal U-class heat. Drifter Carl Ruiter­man made the most of the may­hem to win the class on the day and take out U-class for the north­ern re­gion.

Devlin Hill rolled his class three sin­gle-seater sta­dium car on the same cor­ner that claimed the two UTVs of De­lahunty and Giddy. Hill was able to con­tinue, but Bren­don Midgely won three of the four class three heats.

The over­all win on the day and vic­tory in class one went to Whakatane’s Mal­colm Langley who cap­i­talised on Tony McCall’s mis­for­tune in the sec­ond heat. Langley was third in the first heat ( won by McCall) then won the next three to max­imise his points take from the day af­ter miss­ing the open­ing round and only scor­ing ten points at the sec­ond round, the Wood­hill 100.

Three out of four

Albany’s Raana Ho­ran was only able to race three of the four heats in his Nissan Ti­tan V8 due to busi­ness com­mit­ments but dom­i­nated those first three heats with Nick Hall the only driver able to stay with the Ho­ran Nissan.

Hall, who had har­ried Ho­ran’s Nissan in his Toy­ota Chev Pro­lite all day, won the fi­nal heat for the class and posted fastest time of the day with a lap of 56.583 in heat three. Lap times had tum­bled as the track dried out and the top trucks were un­der the one minute bar­rier even in the slip­pery first heat, while the big un­lim­ited class race cars were un­able to match Hall’s time.

Fire en­gine

The big­gest drama in the un­lim­ited truck class, though, be­fell Palmer­ston North’s Wil­liam van der Wal, whose new truck caught fire in the mid­dle of the third heat. Over­heat­ing trans­mis­sion fluid had sprayed onto the en­gine block and ex­haust pipe, where it caught fire. Park­ing off the track, a fran­tic van der Wal at first at­tempted to put the fire out him­self be­fore mar­shals ar­rived to ex­tin­guish the flames.

The na­tional cham­pi­onship fi­nal round will be held in Novem­ber on a farm course in Hawke’s Bay. The 2015 rac­ing cal­en­dar was ad­justed to en­able com­peti­tors to also con­test the sport’s flag­ship event, the NZ1000, in Septem­ber.

Nick Leahy

Fire in the hole! Wil­liam van der Wal be­fore the fire..

Dale Buck­ley

Raana Ho­ran dom­i­nated three of the four heats

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