Rookie An­drew McFedries might have won the week­end, but Auck­lan­der John Mor­gan ex­tended his south­ern re­gion lead at the two-day Main­land Chal­lenge meet­ing near Christchurch in June.


De­spite his best ef­forts, John Mor­gan was only third for the week­end, with the ‘Mayor of Mil­ford’ – Rosco Gaudin – sec­ond on points. As al­ways, the Main­land Chal­lenge was held over two days of rac­ing, 15 and 16 June. And though the Satur­day fea­tured three short course heats for ev­ery class, it was the Sun­day’s 250 km en­durance race that proved piv­otal in de­cid­ing the week­end. The first day’s ac­tion was held on the Can Am Speed­way at West Mel­ton on the club’s pur­pose-de­signed course; the sec­ond day used part of that course and then sent rac­ers out on a fast and rocky chase through the tracks along­side the Waimakariri River. North­ern driver Bren­don Mid­g­ley had won the Class three heats ( for cars with en­gines up to 1.6 litres) and in the process set fastest time of the day, put­ting him on pole for the sec­ond day’s en­durance race. Andy McFedries was sec­ond fastest, Nel­son racer Greg Winn third, then John Mor­gan. Fastest in the 4WD Bits Class was lo­cal Bryan Chang, ninth over­all. Ricky Lane hadn’t been able to set a fast lap time, the big Chev truck strug­gling in the soupy con­di­tions.

Fly­ing McFedries

At the race start, Midgely was over­taken in a mat­ter of 200 me­tres by the fly­ing McFedries, who surged to the lead in his Can-Am. Midgely lasted only two laps but set fastest time of the day, a 54.184 lap. McFedries dropped sharply down the race or­der at the end of lap one with a long stop in the pits, fought his way back to third at lap six, dropped back once more then fought his way up to third at the fin­ish. Jar­dyne Lam­mers had brought his Nis­san V8-en­gined un­lim­ited class car south all the way from Whangarei. The short course heats didn’t suit the big car, he Lam­mers took the lead halfway through the sec­ond lap of the En­duro... only to DNF with a blown trans­mis­sion at the end of the fifth lap.

At­tri­tion took its toll

He was not the only front-run­ner to strike trou­ble ei­ther. Nel­son’s Greg Winn took the lead briefly but lost a wheel a lap later and was out. Mike Fraser was next into P1, tak­ing the lead as Greg Winn parked ‘ The Gen­eral’ and hold­ing it un­til the white flag lap, when he was forced to take on more fuel in a ‘splash and dash’ stop that al­lowed John Mor­gan into the lead and set up an epic bat­tle over the fi­nal 25 km lap. Push­ing to ex­tend his mar­gin over Fraser, Mor­gan set the fastest lap of the race, a 22.32.301 on lap eight of ten, 12 sec­onds clear of Fraser who was sec­ond fastest on 22.44.634 on the same lap. “I knew we had to stop for fuel and it wasn’t worth risk­ing a fin­ish to try to run with­out a stop so we took on 25 litres,” ex­plained Fraser. “Glad we did, be­cause next thing we saw John stopped halfway round the lap and I knew what had hap­pened – he’d gam­bled on fuel. A re­ally hard way for the bat­tle to end, but that’s rac­ing,” he said. With Mor­gan out, Nel­son racer Cam Strat­ford came up to sec­ond over­all at the fin­ish in his class three car. Only seven drivers com­pleted the full dis­tance.

Kids’ tuff

In the sep­a­rate Crabb Rac­ing Ki­witruck youth cat­e­gory, eight-year-old Jack Brown­lees con­tin­ues to pile up the points and with a clean sweep at the Main­land Chal­lenge is now sit­ting on 144 af­ter two rounds. He amassed his to­tals de­spite rolling in one race and was chased home by Kadin Thomasen ( sec­ond on the day and now third for the regional Ki­witruck stand­ings) and Ke­lan Keith. The south­ern rac­ers and their north­ern foes now take a break un­til the third and fi­nal south­ern round at Otago in Septem­ber.

Class 1

Race 1 was the slip­peri­est of the day, and John Mor­gan made the most of his Desert Dy­nam­ics Chev’s wide track and long wheel­base to take the lead on lap one and win as Ja­cob Brown­lees spun out of con­tention. In the next heat Mor­gan won again, this time from pole with Nel­son’s Greg Winn bring­ing The Gen­eral, his Scor­pion Chev two seaters, home sec­ond. Whangarei’s Jar­dyne Lam­mers was the big mover, up from P6 at the start to the third podium po­si­tion at the fin­ish. This time it was Mike Fraser’s turn to spin out of a promis­ing fin­ish to be eighth. The fi­nal heat saw Mor­gan com­plete his tri­fecta, Winn add an­other sec­ond place to his points tally, and Ja­cob Brown­lees tamed the power of his Mit­subishi Evo en­gine to be third. Bro­ken steer­ing handed Mike Fraser a DNF.

4WD Bits Class 2

Ron Crosby ( Christchurch) was the sole en­try in the class, tak­ing top points across the heats.

Class 3

North­ern driver Bren­don Mid­g­ley surged through from a low start place of P5 to hold the lead on lap three and on to the flag. Joel Green started on pole, faded to sec­ond and held that po­si­tion to the end. Grant Adam­son ( Nel­son) im­proved from fourth at the start to third. In the sec­ond heat Mid­g­ley again won, this time from pole, with Adam­son sec­ond and Braden Hill third. The fi­nal heat handed Mid­g­ley his third win for a clean sweep, the north­erner start­ing from third on the grid. Grant Adam­son took a sec­ond and Braden Hill was third.

4WD Bits Class 4

Sole en­try Dar­rin Thoma­son of Nel­son was an early scratch­ing from the heats when he nose-dived his Mit­subishi Pa­jero Evo on the big front-straight jump, wind­ing him­self and in­jur­ing his back.

Class 5

Sole en­try Daniel Rus­batch made the most of the day, max­i­miz­ing points to­ward the south­ern re­gion class ti­tle.

4WD Bits Class 8

Ricky Lane brought Greg Hid­dle­ston’s Chev pickup out for its first run in al­most 15 years but went off in the first heat, beach­ing the big truck on a tyre wall. He scored a sec­ond in heat two but was a DNF in heat three when a ra­di­a­tor hose blew. Christchurch racer Bryan Chang took a per­fect three from three wins in his GT Ra­di­als Chev turbo ProLite. Blair Preb­ble blew the en­gine in his Toy­ota Hilux turbo.

Class C

Former pro­duc­tion class 4WD racer Ian Sim­cox won the first heat, leap­ing from a start po­si­tion of P5 into the lead at the end of lap one. An­drew Knight fol­lowed him through, start­ing in sev­enth place and fin­ish­ing sec­ond. Sam Jury was third. Race two: Knight jumped from third at the start to go past Ian Sim­cox and win, Jorja Storer started fourth, dropped to fifth then worked her way back to be third. Build­ing on race two, in the third race Knight surged from P5 at the start to the front on lap one, and held po­si­tion to win. Like­wise Ian Sim­cox came from P4 to be sec­ond at the flag. Jorja Storer was third.

JG Civil UTV Class U

Rosco Gaudin put in his best per­for­mance of the year, win­ning race one off pole ahead of ex-pat Amer­i­can Cameron Reeves. In the sec­ond heat he won again, over­tak­ing Reeves who tucked in be­hind the Yamaha of Gaudin but stayed far enough back that his vi­sion was not af­fected by the fly­ing gravel and mud. In the fi­nal heat Gaudin sealed a hat-trick of wins, Reeves once more close be­hind.

JG Civil UTV Class S

James Flem­ing won the first S class heat from pole po­si­tion, Ian Cowan in sec­ond and An­drew McFedries leap­ing from eighth to be third at the fin­ish. In heat two, there was a mo­ment that may have been his­toric in the sport of of­froad rac­ing in New Zealand: broth­ers An­drew and Hamish McFedries won the heat in a 1-2 ahead of Slim Slee. In the fi­nal heat, An­drew McFedries made sure of a per­fect three-from-three re­sult with Slim Slee sec­ond and Hamish McFedries third.

Crabb Rac­ing Ki­witruck Youth class. Class J

In the sep­a­rate Crabb Rac­ing Ki­witruck youth cat­e­gory, eight-year-old Jack Brown­lees con­tin­ues to pile up the points and with a clean sweep at the Main­land Chal­lenge is now sit­ting on 144 af­ter two rounds. He amassed his to­tals de­spite rolling in one race and was chased home by Kadin Thomasen ( sec­ond on the day and now third for the regional Ki­witruck stand­ings) and Ke­lan Keith ( third on the day and now sec­ond for the series thanks to a strong sec­ond place at the open­ing round).

Week­end win­ner An­drew McFedries (Can-Am UTV).

Braden Hill emerges from the fog…

Jack Brown­lees was the dom­i­nant driver in Class J/Kiwi Trucks.

Josh Rut­ledge get­ting his drift on.

Jar­dyne Lam­mers on the gas be­fore his trans­mis­sion fail­ure.

Slim Slee get­ting some air in a short course heat.

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