The Desert De­fend­ers club hosted the fourth round of this sea­son’s Cen­tral Zone Club Truck Chal­lenge at Waiouru over the Fe­bru­ary 24-25 week­end.

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - Story and pho­tos by Andrew Gee.

The name “Cen­tral Zone Club Truck Chal­lenge” (CTC) isn’t that catchy and I won­der if it is hold­ing back a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of com­peti­tor num­bers. Sure the “Cen­tral Zone” of the NZFWDA sup­ports us and the lawyers say “Chal­lenge” in­stead of bare knuckle com­pe­ti­tion but maybe we need to look at other sports for some inspiration. My son and I went to watch NZ-wide Pro Wrestling and it was gen­uine en­ter­tain­ment, al­beit from the ‘70s. It could cer­tainly teach us some lessons about wear­ing cos­tumes and per­form­ers hav­ing stage names, so like the V8 Ute rac­ing se­ries we could be known by nick­names; the tights and thigh boots can come later. To that end I have de­cided to test my the­ory on the read­ers of this fine magazine. To whit: It only took one phone call to Desert De­fender, Robert “The Raza” Stout to put ev­ery­thing in mo­tion. We had a quiet thought in mem­ory of Bub­ble, this be­ing the first Waiouru round held with­out him, be­fore camp­ing and a pit area were set up on the farm and we were treated to a hot week­end up the Whangaehu Val­ley.

The Dy­namic Duo

The “Turbo Tyran­nosaurus” and the “Blonde Bomber” pre­ferred to be known as the “Dy­namic Duo”, a bit new age for me but they had en­tered a tur­bocharged Nis­san Pa­trol that made an evil whis­tle when given the curry. Still, ‘the Force’ was strong with them as they both took a timed run in the speed sec­tion to see who was the faster driver. Bren­dan “the Mitsi Buster” Watchorn lost front wheel drive early in the day but car­ried on with only rear drive un­til that also failed on Sun­day. He had an ex­cit­ing failed hill climb when the Pa­jero free­wheeled back­wards and was only stopped by crash­ing into a handy tree be­side the haz­ard. Ju­dith “Cun­ning as a Fox” Hintz took car­ry­ing mo­men­tum through the haz­ard to ridicu­lous level by fly­ing through a com­bined si­dle and hill climb at high speed, but it worked well to earn zero points. Marty the Makara log puller broke a rear axle but had a spare and was able to make a re­pair and re­join the com­pe­ti­tion.

High flier

Haz­ard 7 had a tricky line of sight which no­body was able to stay in­side; that is mov­ing be­tween a con­sec­u­tive set of pegs you must keep at least one wheel in­side the line de­scribed by the pegs of the same colour. The haz­ard was im­proved and then we ran it again as an ex­tra haz­ard. We used new ar­eas of the farm and the haz­ards were rather dif­fi­cult, with very steep de­scents and as­cents laced with sheep ruts. Bruce “Rock­et­man” Tustin hit all of the climbs re­ally hard and flew into the air cul­mi­nat­ing on Sun­day with a lurid pirou­ette off a hill af­ter a huge wheel­stand. At the end of the first day de­spite ar­riv­ing two hours late, Andrew “The Me­chan­i­cal Ge­nius” Gee led by 30 points from the Makara log puller and Dave “the Sil­ver Fox” McGin­nity in sec­ond equal and Mark “Han­dle­bars” Smith in fourth. The Dy­namic Duo tore them­selves away from pre-din­ner drinks to straighten their steer­ing arm. Hand­ily Marty had bought a large sledge ham­mer with him and they pounded on the re­moved steer­ing arm with that.

Baby Driver

Hintzy joined us on Sun­day af­ter do­ing the Na­tional Trial on Satur­day. For the CTC he is ably as­sisted by Grace “Baby Driver”, they had a lot of fun as the dry con­di­tions re­ally suited their LS pow­ered Pa­trol. The speed sec­tion was long and com­pli­cated but all the fast times were quite close and ea­gerly com­pared as they were laid down. There are still two rounds of com­pe­ti­tion to go for this sea­son and the over­all po­si­tions are still wide open because we have had a number of dif­fer­ent round win­ners. Ev­ery­one is in with a chance. En­try info on or NZFWDA fo­rum “Events” page.

Alan “Sto­neo One” steers the Cruiser through the ver­ti­cal pitch that scared most peo­ple.

Bruce “Rock­et­man” Tustin hangs on for dear life.

Marty “The Makara Log Puller” Green and “H Bomb” fly off the hill but score a good zero.

Bren­dan “The Mitsi Buster” Watchorn and Tracey skid around the speed sec­tion, no front drive wasn’t a dis­ad­van­tage here!

Mark “Mako Shark’ Watchorn leaps through 80 points in the wagon he ended up shar­ing with the brother Bren­dan “The Mitsi Buster”.

“Baby Driver” Grace tells Dave “Hintzy” Hintz to hit it hard, and he does.

Ju­dith “Cun­ning as a Fox” Hintz heads for the end of the hill climb with some good speed on.

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