POLARIS NZ OFFROAD CHAMPS ROUND 1
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.
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.
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.