Dirt Na­tion


It had its ge­n­e­sis back in the early days of the sport. First time most peo­ple saw it this thing was a red-over-white flash bel­low­ing through sand tracks in Wood­hill For­est. Built by Mike Parkes as a Holden Rodeo, this truck had a mighty V8 and auto tucked in its frame and it was fast.

Next time we saw it, it was a Chev and it was still mighty. Still a V8 – of course – it pro­gressed down the years un­til the new breed of V8 race truck started to ap­pear. Ant Ge­orge had it for some time but it never seemed to quite hit its full po­ten­tial up in the sands of Wood­hill.

The beast then ended up in the hands of Greg Hid­dle­ston, who drove it with verve and flair and kept it fed with fuel and axles. In fact I have pleas­ant mem­o­ries of go­ing wheel to wheel with Greg when he had this thing at West Mel­ton, back when I had the orig­i­nal GT Ra­dial Fal­con V8. It sure had some grunt off the line but if you chased hard enough you just knew at some point it would give up a rear axle.

Then the truck ended up parked, ru­mour has it with a chicken nest­ing in the cab. A sad end­ing for such a fa­mous truck. Or was it?

Back from the Brinck!

Now, the ru­mour is, the truck or many colours is to make a re-ap­pear­ance at the hands of bike racer and trans-Tas­man trav­eller Ricky Lane.

Is he good? He’s done the in­fa­mous Finke desert race – on two wheels! Hit Google or Youtube, you’ll see what I mean.

The in­ten­tion is to run it in the orig­i­nal metal pan­els and colour scheme it wore when it re­tired, then smarten up the cos­met­ics once it’s got used to some good race fuel squirt­ing down the lines and into the cylin­ders. I think there’s a good chance it will end up with one of the new Chev bod­ies – sim­i­lar to what we are run­ning – as long as they can get the fit right.

So the for­est beast is re­born, and it’s set to join the fun soon. Very soon.

Great to see!

Mean­while, it was great to see a big north­ern con­tin­gent at Nel­son’s open­ing south­ern round of the cham­pi­onship. A good long for­est en­duro is what many still seek from the sport, even as the per­ma­nent tracks get es­tab­lished and the sport starts to look like it’s head­ing in the other di­rec­tion.

Even bet­ter, Nel­son’s event wasn’t plagued by dust – most of the 4WD and truck class rac­ers much pre­fer wet roads and tracks to dust which just hides ac­ci­dents un­til they are un­avoid­able.

In­stead, we had an off-song en­gine for much of the event which was traced af­ter­ward to a bent valve – so ef­fec­tively for all of the laps we did we were run­ning a rough three cylin­der turbo en­gine! The en­gine is out, and it’s rings and bear­ings time and of course head work to get the truck in top con­di­tion for the com­ing rounds.

We spent much of the event chas­ing the mis­fire and won­der­ing what was go­ing on, so it was good to see one of the valves look­ing a bit bendy and have some cer­tainty about what had gone on.

The Rodeo is born. Out­side Mike Parkes’ North Shore Car­bu­ret­tors work­shop.

By 2007, the Chev was gone, and we were rac­ing against mad ma­chin­ery like An­drew Thoma­son’s Tun­dra – four-wheel-drive, Weis­man trans­mis­sion, mas­sive four-cam truck V8 en­gine.

2005, and the truck is up against some new de­signs but still a tough ri­val.

Greg Hid­dle­ston has the truck in typ­i­cal at­ti­tude mid cor­ner at West Mel­ton.

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