Peter How­ell Me­mo­rial

NZ4WD - - NEWS - Story and photos by Ash­ley Lu­cas.

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!

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