This was the ‘home’ round for our loyal Su­per­winch Main­land Chal­lenge re­porter Vicky Newport… mean­ing she, daugh­ter Megan and hubby Scotty were busier than ever!

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS - Story and (most of the) pho­tos by Vicky Newport.

That’s right. Nor­mally I’m on the out­side look­ing in at the var­i­ous Su­per­winch rounds I cover. This time though I was on the in­side look­ing out. Nor­mally we just have to load up and do the road trip to the dif­fer­ent rounds. Even Nel­son, be­cause though our lo­cal crew have al­ways been in­volved in run­ning a round, we’ve al­ways had Sav or­gan­is­ing a fair bit of it. Also, we had last year off. This year a Nel­son round was not only back on the sched­ule it was go­ing to be on a new farm so we pretty much had to start from scratch. Luck­ily the new venue was a bit of a play­ground for one of our club mem­bers so he knew the farm in­side out. Be­fore I start into my story of how the event worked let me out­line for you a lit­tle bit about what ac­tu­ally goes into run­ning a round. Firstly to be part of the Su­per­winch Main­land Se­ries you have to run un­der the Main­land rule and regs, with the host­ing club to be af­fil­i­ated to the NZFWD As­so­ci­a­tion and all com­peti­tors to be a mem­ber of a NZFWD As­so­ci­a­tion-af­fil­i­ated club. That part was easy. Now to get a core group of mem­bers (or non-mem­bers) to build stages or tracks and or­gan­ise and run the days. Ob­vi­ously, it helps if these peo­ple have been part of a Winch Chal­lenge, driv­ing or co-driv­ing at some stage. These are the peo­ple who need to be able to read and drive the stages, put some va­ri­ety in, sort stages so they work if it’s fine for a week be­fore hand or rain­ing on the day. With hubby Scotty Newport lead­ing the crew he had about six core peo­ple help­ing, then down to the ad­min, side of thing was where I came in; from tak­ing en­tries and fees, sort­ing din­ner, prize-giv­ing etc, plus all the other as­sorted pa­per work to go with run­ning a round. In all, four solid week­ends plus a few week­days were spent get­ting our round ready. Be­fore the event we also had a work­ing bee with club mem­bers, who were paid back with a play day to make sure all the tracks were and could be driven. To be ab­so­lutely fair on all com­peti­tors, any­one that was go­ing to be com­pet­ing could work on the stage but not drive them and on the day they had to step away and be­come com­peti­tors.

The week­end of 14/15 Septem­ber was our date and the weather couldn’t have been bet­ter – typ­i­cal of Nel­son I might say, but then I would, wouldn’t I? Teams started ar­riv­ing from all over at around 2.00pm with sign-in be­tween 3.00 and 5.00pm. We had 22 teams, four from Welling­ton and the rest from all around the South Is­land.

All go!

With ev­ery­one signed in, and driv­ers’ brief­ing done the three night stages started at around 6.45pm. The Out­law teams got through all three with just the one DNF, though Robin and Paul from Welling­ton came pretty close but man­aged to get back to the fin­ish box in 28:29 min­utes (30min DNFs in all stages). The prob­lem was that in the first stage they broke a front drive shaft as well as the ex­haust man­i­fold. For­tu­nately, Newport En­gi­neer­ing opened up the work­shop for Robin and with help from Scotty they man­aged to get the buggy re­paired and ready for the Satur­day stages. Mike Holmes and co-driver An­drew on their last night stage (Stage 3) came to a sud­den stop on the winch wall, Mike find­ing he had left an oil rag un­der the bon­net and it had got sucked into the al­ter­na­tor. They called a DNF, fixed the prob­lem on the side of the stage and drove out and ready for Satur­day. All the Club­man got through the three stages while in Open Class all but Tom Green fin­ished them. On stage 3 Tom’s Jeep Wran­gler stopped dead just out of the start box. Sus­pect­ing a sen­sor fault they shot off to Sav’s to pinch parts and also re­placed a fuel pump sup­plied by Scotty. Lucky the Nel­son club ba­si­cally all run Jeeps, mean­ing there are al­ways a lot of spare parts float­ing around. Nathan Ham­mond and co-driver Daniel were the only ones to drive the Winch Wall in Stage 3, so they were stoked. The night stages fin­ished around 10.00pm but Scotty was at the work­shop un­til around 11.00pm help­ing Robin. Pete Leslie was also there re­build­ing his PTO winch.

Early start

Satur­day morn­ing and we were wo­ken pretty – 5:30am in fact – by a phone call and soon af­ter Scotty was up and gone. The joys of be­ing an or­gan­iser. He and the other guys still had to check that all pegs were still stand­ing, signs were out, toi­lets set up etc. Me? I got to sleep in a bit later but still had to be at the Wake­field Carpark at 7.00am to meet the mar­shals so they could fol­low me up to the farm. We ended up with 25 mar­shals, an awe­some com­mit­ment by these peo­ple. We had club mem­bers, mo­tor­bike club mem­bers, club mem­bers’ fam­ily or friends plus some guys who came all the way from Christchurch to help out. Scotty did his usual mar­shals’ brief­ing (to which driv­ers and co-driv­ers were also en­cour­aged to at­tend) which in­cluded a run down and demon­stra­tion on rules and regs, what to watch out for and how to han­dle the com­peti­tors. Their day would fin­ish at the lat­est at 4.30pm and to show our ap­pre­ci­a­tion for their ef­forts all mar­shals and or­gan­is­ers plus our two first aiders went into a draw to win a Su­per­winch winch kindly given to us by Main­land se­ries spon­sor Su­per­winch. Driv­ers brief­ing was held at 8.45am and the Stages started at 9.00am. All-up we had ten day stages, with the last truck to en­ter a stage no later than 4.00pm. The stages had a va­ri­ety of ev­ery­thing. Bogs, swamp, ponds, winch walls, forestry tracks, off-cam­bered an­gles and ground an­chor­ing. Early in the day a cou­ple of Stages (4 and 5) had a sec­tion which got changed, and teams who had al­ready done them had the op­tion to re-run them. Some did just that, oth­ers kept the time they al­ready had. This was a de­ci­sion by the or­gan­is­ers.

Some of the stages got harder as the day went on and some be­came more drive­able so, re­ally, there was no ad­van­tage or dis­ad­van­tage for the teams. We on look­ers and crew had 4 stages that were eas­ily viewed. Plenty of winch­ing, a nice long swampy bog and a cou­ple of winch walls to view.

Out­law Class

This was the fourth round for Mike Holmes (Blen­heim), Scotty Newport (Nel­son), Richard Wil­son (Queen­stown), Andy Reeves (Christchurch), and Welling­ton trio Robin Scaife, Stan Good­man and Lance Good­man. It was a first for Michael Dun­can (Welling­ton) in the Su­per­winch Main­land Chal­lenge and our youngest driver yet. Michael has been fol­low­ing the Main­land se­ries com­peti­tors for about six years so it was great to see him in a driver’s seat of his own. Mike Holmes had a new co-driver (Tom Jessep) for the Satur­day stages due to An­drew fall­ing ill, and the new pair­ing com­pleted all stages. Tom should know this truck like the back of his hand, he has been work­ing on it a fair bit this sea­son! It was a home round, of course, for Scotty and co-driver James, a bit of an ad­van­tage, guess ev­ery­one gets that in at least one round. Andy and Ar­ron had a great round, get­ting the fastest time in stage 12. Robin and Paul com­pleted four stages but DNFed their fifth stage of the day with a bro­ken rear diff lock, bent front diff and bro­ken CV. Not a good day for them then. Both Stan and Lance Good­man had a good round, with both com­plet­ing all stages and get­ting good re­sults. Young Michael Dun­can started all 13 stages but got one DNF. Awe­some driv­ing by this team. Michael also got third fastest time in two of the stages.

Open Class

This was the fourth round for Rick Cros­bie, Adam War­dle, Nathan Ham­mond, Steve Bruer­ton and Brock Welsh, all of Christchurch. All com­pleted all stages apart from Steve and Matt, who started four of the day stages but DNFing stage 11 saw them out for the rest of the day. It was a home town round for Rowan/Chad and Tom/Zinny. While Rowan and Chad had a great run, com­plet­ing all stages, though Tom man­aged to fix the prob­lem from the night stages, a late start saw he and Zinny run out of time to com­plete all of Satur­day’s stages. The Leighs (Mr & Mrs) from Blen­heim started all stages but ended with two DNFs, Mr Leigh putting the Hilux on its side in Stage 9 and both winches packed it in in Stage 4. Greg and son Cul­lum in the wee Suzuki started eight stages but DNFed in Stage 7, and af­ter get­ting re­cov­ered from there they called it a day. Mal­colm and Robb (Ti­maru) started six of the day’s stages but, need­ing to spend a bit of time in the pits they de­cided to call it a day also.

Club­man Class

We had four en­tries in the Club­man Class this round, the most we have had all sea­son: Pete Leslie and Richard Gif­ford from Blen­heim, Tony O’Don­nell and John Boylett from Nel­son. Pete/James, Tony/Rus­sell and John and wife Tyra com­pleted all stages. This was only the sec­ond Chal­lenge John and Tyra have en­tered and they were pretty stoked when they topped the Club­man class on seven of the 13 stages. Richard and Son Wil­liam started four day stages but af­ter a DNF in stage 12 they called it quits for the day. The day started to wind down with the first of the teams fin­ish­ing at around 12.30pm. It was a great day, lots of smiles all around, even from the guys/girls that broke. They got a lot of winch­ing, chal­leng­ing tracks and both driver and co-driv­ers got plenty of seat time. By 5.00pm the stages were closed, most of the teams were gone and the or­gan­is­ers (that’s us!) even had all the stages packed up. Megan again had the scor­ing un­der con­trol and by 6.00pm had the com­peti­tors' score cards printed out for them to be checked off. Din­ner and prize-giv­ing was held at the Ocean Lodge in Tahu­nanui, Nel­son. With over 100 meals catered for by 7.30pm we were ready for prize-giv­ing at 8.00pm. Nel­son chose the two Su­per­winch Op­tion prize pack­age from the spon­sor Su­per­winch with one winch put aside for the mar­shals and or­gan­is­ers, and the other for the com­peti­tors. We had a great night. Thanks to all in­volved.

Scotty and James wad­ing thru the pond.

Mike and Tom driv­ing out of stage 9.

Chad and Rowan in stage 9.

Oopps Mr Leigh has rolled it again. Photo by Alf Rus­sel

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