CENTRAL ZONE CLUB TRUCK CHALLENGE RND 4
Overall winner Les Thomsen enjoyed a perfect day at the fourth round of this season’s Central Zone Club Truck Challenge at Ratana on (Anzac) Sunday April 24.
The Ratana round of the 2015/16 Central Zone Club Truck Challenge was not only notable for ‘old dog’ Les Thomsen’s zero penalty score.
There were also at least four current 4WD club presidents as well as a few past presidents competing, as well as more than the usual number of national trials competitors because their season had finished for the year.
Les was not the only driver to excel either. So close were the scores at the top of the field, for instance, that I only took two penalties over the whole day yet that still left me in twelfth place!
This new site was close to the Ratana church and hadn’t been used by the organising club, Manawatu 4WD, before. Phil the farmer is a keen four wheeler and was only too happy to use his digger to contour and sculpt his land. He had, in fact, shaped a bank much like the ramp that had back flipped a buggy recently, though there were no such heroics from our wagons. Despite that, as we ended the day at the top end of the gully we were next to road and a number of passing cars stopped to watch the action. It was so good we should have been selling tickets.
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Series honcho Mark Watchorn made a welcome return to competition in his usual Class 1 Bighorn after a couple of years of spectating. The round also saw a number of new entrants to the CTC, one of them Kelsey Van Wass from the Tararua 4WD Club who had done some club trips and one club champs event previously.
Her dad has been well known in Wellington and Manawatu 4WD circles for many years and the second generation action was carried throughout the day with a number of father-son grudge matches between the Thomsens, Robinsons, Laws and Wyeths; either running their own vehicles or being cross entered in the same vehicle.
Steve Stewart has his first ever DNF, unfortunately in his first hazard, when a CV joint let go in his Patrol. He had an attempt at repair and then driving in 3WD but sat out the rest of the day. There were a number of vehicles that just didn’t start without parking on hills, leaving them running or by a tow. Come on guys, do your maintenance at home.
Phil the farmer, digger driver and comedian kept everyone in stitches showing the limitations of independent front suspension and bald tyres. After sending his son away to do some farm work at lunchtime Phil finished his day in the last speed section completely beached until some spectators ambled over to give him a push.
The day finished with a BBQ and prize giving as Phil had arranged for some spot prizes from Farmlands. In my group Kelsey Van Wass and Daryl de Jong got prizes for their careful choices of what they could do and what they would try another time.
Another great weekend away, thanks to Phil for the land and camping. See you at the Final in Waiouru. Details and results at www.czctc.org.nz
Ross Gregory from Wairarapa 4x4 Club bends his Jeep into the hazard.
A bumper field gathered at Ratana for the latest CZ CTC round.
Graham Goble’s Pajero on the extremely steep descent that was invisible from the start position.
Shaun Robinson from Manawatu club competes in this Class 3 Patrol with all the fruit.
Dave MacGinnity from Windy City Off roaders drives his Jeep in Class 3.