DIRT NA­TION

NZ4WD - - CONTENTS -

Sheesh, it’s been a fair few hair­cuts since I first raced. With a bat­tered truck in the garage and a few sore bits to deal with, I’ve been look­ing back at some high­lights.

All those Taupo 1000s, all those Race to the Sky Hill­climbs, all those na­tional cham­pi­onship rounds. Even with the cur­rent truck, we’ve been ev­ery­where.

And ever since we built the new truck to the Pro­lite chas­sis blue­prints – in a sub­ur­ban shed – we’ve been push­ing bound­aries, run­ning the rear wheel drive truck in the 4WD Bits un­lim­ited class where its four cylin­der turbo en­gine and Jaguar gear­box con­sis­tently out­run the ‘big banger’ V8 and four-wheel-drive trucks.

We’ve been ev­ery­where, man!

We have run at all but one of the world-fa­mous Race to the Sky events staged by Grant Aitken and more re­cently Tony Quinn at the Lee fam­ily’s Snow Farm on the Crown Range near Queenstown.

We have run at ev­ery Taupo 1000 of­froad race since the flag­ship two-day event started in the early 1990s. We have also logged the most starts and runs of any of­froad racer at the Ash­ley For­est Hill­climb, though usu­ally re­quired to run as a ‘demon­stra­tion’ en­try.

This truck – and its stan­dard­chas­sis, beam front end, V8 pre­de­ces­sor – has taken me to count­less class wins and na­tional class ti­tles. My son Owen also took the out­right ti­tle in the truck a few years back. It hasn’t stopped.

Just a few weeks ago we took the un­lim­ited class ti­tle and then went on to win the class na­tional ti­tle at Labour Week­end. That was de­spite a rollover in the se­cond heat, when I’d got past the big V8 trucks into the long right han­der at Can Am West Mel­ton Speed­way and the truck skewed side­ways in a soft spot. We tum­bled through the berm and out­side, land­ing on our wheels and re­gain­ing the track be­fore the mar­shals re­alised what hap­pened. All-up a hard­won ti­tle.

Cheers, mate!

In the way of all good ret­ro­spec­tives, I thank War­ren Adams and 4WD Bits for their on­go­ing sup­port of the truck classes. It’s been fan­tas­tic hav­ing War­ren on board like this, and I re­ally hope it con­tin­ues long into the fu­ture.

One of the other ini­tia­tives I’m ap­plaud­ing is to up­date M Class trucks with a new Li­fan en­gine which of­fers sig­nif­i­cant cost sav­ings – ap­par­ently with no down­side in terms of re­li­a­bil­ity.

Ap­par­ently there will be three M class Ki­witrucks run­ning in the south next year, all us­ing the Li­fan.

Mean­while, there’s a fur­ther ru­mour that cur­rent M class cham­pion Harry “Hedge­hog” Hodg­son may de­cide to come race in the south next year – so that might make for some good rac­ing at south­ern rounds.

A keeper

Still on the topic of the Ki­witruck youth classes, big thanks to the Cooper fam­ily (Kevin and Shirley) and to the sport’s PR con­sul­tant Mark Baker (Veritas) for pro­vid­ing a new ‘keeper’ tro­phy for Ki­witruck.

That prize went to Harry Hodg­son for 2018, and it’s be­ing in­scribed right now.

The Yoda-mo­bile on the way to its lat­est ti­tle win.

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