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.

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - Story and pho­tos by An­drew Gee

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!

New site

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.

Joint ven­ture

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.

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