Peter Howell Memorial
The Peter Howell Memorial off-road race is an annual club event for the Auckland Offroad Racing Club held in the Maramarua Forest. This year there were 25 competitors seeking to get their hands on the coveted trophy. Named in honour of Peter Howell who was an active and respected member of the Western Districts club ( which later merged with the Auckland club) until his untimely death in a motor vehicle accident many years ago. A full range of vehicles took the grid after qualifying but the UTV Class was certainly the strongest and most dominating with Ben Thomasen on pole with his Polaris 1000 RZR. The race is one of two halves with two enduros, each of seven laps of the 14km plus course through the forest. The course included fast forestry roads, slippery clay tracks with a couple of slippery rutted downhill tracks that were interesting at pace. Within an old disused quarry there were a couple of very tight corners, one a hairpin that the larger vehicles could only just get around. Get the corner wrong, going wide and they were having to back up. Ben Thomasen led from start to finish in the first race and finished with a punctured tyre with Carl Ruiterman close behind. There was a break between races for competitors to have lunch, make repairs while the kids’ Kiwi Trucks had the second of their races for the day. Cameron Taylor in the Nissan Navara and Scott Fredrickson in a SWB Pajero battled out the Class 2 Production truck Class with Cameron eventually slowed with front suspension problems and then finally out of the race when the right front hub completely broke away. Several competitors were using the day as a final shake down before the NZ1000 including Kerikeri-based Paul Sutton in his Can-Am and Tauranga’s Glen Raymond in his recently acquired Tomcat. Paul ran a steady race all day and finished fourth in class and seventh overall. The Tomcat qualified 20th and despite a slight detour into a tree in the afternoon, came home ninth overall and first in class. However it was to be a day for the Polaris RZRs with Ben Thomasen taking overall honours, with Dyson Delahunty second followed by Steve Rowe.
Podium from left, Steve Rowe third, Dyson Delahunty second and overall winner Ben Thomason
Glen Raymond won his class in his Tomcat
Paul Sutton finished seventh and fourth amongst the UTVs
Scott Fredrickson cocks a wheel... or two!