Woodhill offroad enduro reborn
Oldest, fastest race gets a new look
New Zealand’s oldest and fastest forest off-road endurance race is reborn. This year’s Woodhill 100 will be run over an 11 km lap at the Auckland 4X4
Adventure Park. It returns to its traditional 160 km (100 mile) race format, with a course plotted for speed and excitement.
The sport’s Kiwitruck junior category has its own separate short endurance race run from the venue.
There are now three championshiplevel forest endurance races in 2022: the Nelson-based Enduro Championship title, the Woodhill 100 in June and a further Woodhill event proposed as the final race of the championship in October.
At the June event, Manukau multiple Woodhill winner Tony McCall can beat off-road legend Ian Foster’s tally of six Woodhill 100 victories. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, McCall and Foster went wheel to wheel in the sand tracks and rocky logging “highways” of Woodhill Forest. The pair are tied on the same number of wins.
McCall’s Chev LS-engined Buckleybuilt single-seater has been developed to its fastest and strongest specification ever. It now features a speedway-style rear wing that calms the vehicle at high speeds when all of its 16-18 inches of suspension travel is being used.
He will face a strong entry list of the ‘new breed’, most of whom are racing imported or locally-built V8-engined machinery. Auckland Offroad racing Club president Donn Attwood will front up in his unlimited-class race car.
This year the race will run on a short lap of 11km in the Auckland 4X4 Adventure Park.
Carl Ruiterman and Joel Giddy will contest the event in their modified-class Yamaha UTVs. Both are front-runners but neither has yet won a Woodhill.
Shayne Huxtable is bringing his unlimited-class truck north from Napier; Martin van der Wal (Palmerston North) is bringing his similar race truck.
Auckland’s Leigh Bishop will front up in his Chev-bodied truck, which has been heavily redeveloped for speed in the rough and tumble of an endurance race.
The Auckland Offroad Racing Club will run the event on Queen’s Birthday weekend, its traditional date. Qualifying happens on Saturday and the race on Sunday. Access is from Rimmer’s Road near Helensville.
In late May, NZ4WD was given an exclusive preview of the course for the 2022 Woodhill 100.
This is what we found: once a ‘car breaker’ that was distinctly unfriendly to production-class vehicles, the new Woodhill’s course is short, fast and spectacular. It has numerous wide sections that will enable faster cars to get safely past lapped traffic.
Hazards are few – a handful of slow sandy corners that will chop up and one washout that will be fixed by track crews before the race weekend. The slow corners are all wide enough to enable driers to choose their own line if the inside is cut up rough late in the race.
We completed the recce lap in a road-going 2016 Ford Ranger without needing to air-down or engage 4WD.