2019 SUPERWINCH CHALLENGE
By the time you read this the opening round of this year’s Mainland Superwinch Challenge Series will have been run and won, but so much has happened in the off-season that Editor Ross and I thought it would be a good idea to run a preview so you are all up to speed when my first event report is published ( in the August issue. Ed)
First up then, the 2018 season looks to be one of the biggest we have had so far. I’d also like to thank our main sponsor, Superwinch, for coming back on board for another year. Once again we will have great prizes to give away at each round.
With a few changes too, we have been able to get our “Open Class” up and running again. Last season we had no entries for Open but a record number in Outlaw. This kinda’ told us something, so we basically laxed up a bit on the Rego/ WoF side of the Class. I could go into great detail but I will leave that up to you to chase up a “Rule Book” if you are interested. Whatever we did, it worked, which is the main thing.
This year we have five rounds. The first is hosted by the Marlborough Club at Maruia, the second by the Shotover 4x4 Club at Alexandra. The third round at Christchurch will be hosted by 4x4 Events, the fourth at Nelson by the Nelson 4WD Club and for the final we again head to Dunedin for an event hosted by the Land Rover Club of Otago.
Overall we have had record interest in our series with all the key players coming back plus a host of newcomers keen to have a go and/or make their mark.
Class by class the entry looks like this.
Richard Gifford ( Blenheim), driving a Land Rover 110. Father/ son team have done a couple of seasons now.
Ben Simmons ( Alexandra), driving a Toyota Surf. First year competing.
Lockie Coskerie ( Temuka), driving a Suzuki Escudo. First year competing.
Pete Leslie ( Blenheim), driving his Toyota Land Cruiser. Pete had a break last season. It’s great to see him back.
Tony O’Donnell ( Blenheim). Tony’s co- driver Russel is the owner of the Toyota Surf they are entered in. First year competing.
Of these five, only two teams have competed before. It’s great to see new blood trying out the challenge.
This year we have 16 Series Entries for this season. They line up looking like this.
Rick Crosbie ( Christchurch). In his Jeep Wrangler, I believe he may have a new winch to play with. Rick and co-driver Brian are old hands at this Winch Challenge stuff. Their new winch may be their challenge this year. I have heard there may also be a few new mods to the Jeep. Rick is also our vice-president.
Tom Green ( Nelson). Driving a Jeep Wrangler. Second season for Tom. He entered in the Clubman Class last season and did really well so decided it was time to step up to the next class. A few mods to the Jeep and he’s good to go.
Craig Fraser ( Christchurch) built a very modified Toyota Hilux a couple of seasons ago but had a few issues so hasn’t been able to enter a whole series as yet. This is one truck we are all pretty keen to see out there.
Greg Craik ( Balclutha), a father/son team in their Suzuki SJ413. Greg has been entering challenges in Clubman Class for
a few years but last season due to a couple of WoF issues had to enter Outlaw. This change was huge for this wee Suzuki but with the changes made in the Open Class he has been able to get out of Outlaw and enter Open.
Stu McLean ( Christchurch) in his Toyota Hilux has been around for years. Always giving
it his best. There may be a new engine in the Hilux this year. Stu has also gone from Outlaw to Open Class.
Adam Wardle (Christchurch), driving his Toyota Hilux. Third season for Adam. They also have switched from Outlaw to Open.
Malcolm Wells (Timaru), driving his Toyota Bundera. Second season with do-driver Rob. Malcolm entered into Outlaw last season because Open didn’t happen. Malcolm is also our President this year.
Rowan Coutts (Nelson), second season in his Jeep Cherokee. Rowan has been entering for a few years now but normally in a Jeep Wrangler. Another truck that has been able to enter into the Open Class because of the changes.
Nathan Hammond (Christchurch) has entered Open Class this season in a Jeep Wrangler. I believe this is a new build. Last year Nathan was the first to enter into the Winch Challenge in a Can-Am UTV.
Steve Bruerton (Christchurch) along with brother Matt are back for another season in their Nissan Safari. Pretty sure it’s their second.
Tim Lucas ( Fox Glacier) driving a Land Rover 110. First time entered.
Andy Witty (Christchurch) in his Land Rover 90. Andy and Craig normally work together so I am only guessing here. I think if Craig’s Hilux is still not ready they will be entering in Andy’s
Land Rover. Watch this space.
Leigh Jones (Blenheim) is back in the driver’s seat this season with Mrs Lee back co-driving. I think this is where they both prefer to be in their Hilux.
Albie Fisher (Christchurch) driving a Nissan Patrol. Albie bought this truck from the North Island where it had been competing in challenges up that way for a few years. This is the first season for Albie.
Brock Welsh (Christchurch) has changed classes. Brock has won the Clubman Class for the past two seasons so thought it was time to step up. Not just to Open either, he has also built a new Jeep Wrangler that only took three months and is also running a new winch. First season for this truck.
Richard Robb (Dunedin) is very pleased to be back in Open. Last year he also had to enter Outlaw as there was no entries to compete against in Open. Richard has been entering for a number of years now.
Outlaw Class has 13 Series Entries, including three from North Island teams.
Brent Holden (Christchurch) is back in his Ultra 4. Still the only Ultra 4 entered into the Series. Brent isn’t new to winch challenges as he was very competitive in the North Island. This will be his second season in the Mainland Superwinch Challenge and in his Ultra 4. Brent’s co-driver Aaron commutes from
Auckland to every round. Commitment right there.
Scotty Newport (Nelson) has built himself his dream truck. Not only did he get to build his Jeep Wrangler from scratch he has also gained a new hybrid winch which was built by his friend Steve. So he has two ‘news’ to get used to. With the choice of entering into Open or Outlaw he and co-driver James have decided to stay in Outlaw, that decision not so much James’ favourite choice.
Robin Scaife ( Wellington) is back again in his Jeep. Robin and co-driver Paul entered a couple of years back. It is a huge commitment and it’s great to see them back. Some say we (the Mainland Superwinch Challenge) taught these guys how to drive to win so they will be worth watching over the season.
Andy Reeves (Christchurch) will be back in his home-built Buggy (Moon Buggy). He has done some mods though the off-season, mainly to the outside I hear.
Andrew Garratt (Christchurch) with son Joel are back. They have retired the Jeep Cherokee and built a new truck, another home-built Buggy. They have done a few seasons now but this is their first season in the new truck.
Stan Goodman (Wellington) in his Toyota FJ40. Stan has entered into a few rounds over the years but this is his first year to enter the series. Also a huge commitment.
Daimeon Veitch (Christchurch) driving his Toyota Hilux (nicknamed the Naked Lux) had a bad run last year. Hopefully those issues have been sorted as they are fun to watch.
Mike Holmes (Blenheim) back in his Toyota Hilux. Mike/ Sheryl and the Hilux had a rollover in Round 2 last season which put them out for the rest of 2017.
Mike and Sheryl came away pretty much unscathed but the Hilux had to have a total rebuild. Basically 10 months spent on the Hilux and it is looking brand new.
Skip Connor (Dunedin) in a Canam Maverick. First season for Skip and the second Can-am to have entered into the series.
Richard Wilson (Queenstown) is back in his Toyota Land Cruiser. Richard has done a lot of work on his truck in the off season and he also has a new co-driver for the season.
Lance Goodman (Wellington) driving a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. Lance has also done a few of our rounds in past years but never entered into the series. Again a huge commitment.
Mike McCarthy (Dunedin) in his faithful buggy. Mike and co-driver Tom have been a team since the start of the winch challenges. The winch challenges are always during the winter months and I don’t envy these guys in their Buggy. It doesn’t matter how much wet weather gear you have on they still get wet.
Nic Aymes (Wanaka), second season in his Suzuki SJ413. Nic has been a co-driver until he bought his own Suzuki.
That’s a run-down on the entries this season. Now some nuts and bolts.
Series Entrants are allowed to drop one round. To get to the top of the table it pays to do all five rounds then you can drop your worst. The Series Score Rules also say each team has to complete 60 percent of the Round and then 60 percent of the Series.
I will once again be following these teams through the season and will get highlights for my stories in NZ4WD mag. You can also follow our facebook page “Superwinch Mainland Challenge.”
Mike Holmes’ freshly rebuilt Toyota Hilux.
Brock Welsh’s new-build Jeep Wrangler.