Lit­tle and large: the small­est race car and one of the big­gest four wheel drives share the early points lead in this year’s Po­laris Of­froad Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship after a wet ‘n wild open­ing round at Mere­mere south of Auck­land on Sun­day March 12.

NZ4WD - - Contents - Story and photos by Mark Baker

Kingseat ( South Auck­land) teen Jack Hel­lier in his tiny VW- pow­ered sin­gle seater race car scored the max­i­mum 72 points to lead his class and share the cham­pi­onship lead with War­ren Adams in his some­what larger Nis­san Pa­trol V8. Rac­ing against Fer­gus Crabb and Bos­ton Mor­gan- Ho­ran, Hel­lier drove a canny event, fo­cus­ing on his own race lines and avoid­ing the worst of the mud­holes. His car is a one- of- a- kind sin­gle- seater with a VW 1.2- litre en­gine and has been out­right na­tional cham­pion in past years in dad Wal Hel­lier’s hands. War­ren Adams, like­wise, took max­i­mum points with an un­bro­ken string of class wins in his V8- en­gined Nis­san Sa­fari, rac­ing against Tau­ranga’s Glen Ray­mond in a Bowler Tom­cat V8. Both run­ning in class six for ‘chal­lenge’- class road reg­is­tered four- wheel- drives, the pair made the most of the ex­tra trac­tion, wind­screens and wind­screen wipers in the abysmal con­di­tions. The seven- round ’17 se­ries kicked off at Mere­mere un­der the hu­mid, rain- laden squalls of the Tas­man Tem­pest with a record grid of 75 en­tries. The 1.2 km course is along­side the Waikato River and was al­tered to avoid ris­ing flood wa­ter over the course of the week­end. Even so, the HasTrak Chal­lenger class chose to with­draw en- masse from rac­ing in the con­di­tions and the de­ci­sion was taken to post­pone heats for the Ki­witruck youth cat­e­gory.

Class win­ners

In the un­lim­ited race car class, Whangarei’s Jar­dyne Lam­mers took line hon­ours; mul­ti­ple cham­pion Tony McCall went out in the first heat when he

drove into a hole and smashed his front sus­pen­sion. De­fend­ing cham­pion Mike Fraser did not con­test this round. In the 12- strong HasTrak class 3 for cars with en­gines up to 1.6 litres de­fend­ing class cham­pion Bren­don Midgely emerged the win­ner. Waiuku’s Ger­ard Chitty, driv­ing what is ar­guably his home event, won 4WD Bits class four for sports mod­i­fied trucks and 4WDs ahead of sea­soned racer Glenn Tur­vey of Welling­ton. Calvin McOnie went out when he crashed into a hole

and in­jured his back. Rac­ing was sus­pended while he was ex­tri­cated from his truck and taken off the cir­cuit by am­bu­lance. Re­gan Swens­son emerged the win­ner in class five for cars with en­gines up to 1.3- litres. The class at­tracted i ts strong­est en­try in years, with nine cars grid­ding up for each heat. Dale Buck­ley brought his im­ported ProLite race truck home to win the 4WD Bits un­lim­ited truck class, his four- cylin­der truck de­feat­ing the big V8- en­gined ver­sions of his ri­vals. Gregg Car­ring­ton- Hogg brought his Chev- en­gined VW- styled car home first in class 9. Dan Fromings was the sole en­try in class 10 and ran with the Chal­lenger VW class but came up short on points due to the de­ci­sion by the Chal­lenger driv­ers not to con­tinue after their first heat. Tim Ack­ers took top points in HasTrak Chal­lenger VW but like Fromings ends up with just 24 points. In the UTV classes, four- wheel- drive and big grids turned on some of the best rac­ing of the day. Tau­ranga’s Dyson De­lahunty won the U class for stan­dard UTVs in his Po­laris, while Joel Giddy won the JG Civil S class for mod­i­fied UTVs.

Bren­don Old made light of the rain and mud at Mere­mere.

War­ren Adams dom­i­nated Class 6 to be joint early sea­son points leader.

Joel Giddy from Orewa (S16) won the JG Civil S class for mod­i­fied UTVs

Mal­colm Lan­g­ley (see build story over­leaf) get­ting his new Prolite 4x4 dirty.

Tau­ranga driver Glen Ray­mond in his road-le­gal Bowler Tom­cat was sec­ond in class be­hind War­ren Adams.

Dale Buck­ley shreds the Waikato over­flow in his US-built four cylin­der ProLite truck

Calvin McOnie crashed heav­ily, in­jur­ing his back,

Jack Hel­lier also won his class and jointly leads the se­ries’ points stand­ings with War­ren Adams.

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