NZ 4x4 Trials: Thrills and spills
Crews tested during third round of NZ 4x4 Trials Championship
A course stacked with technically difficult hazards – several of which would remain unconquered - tested 63 crews at the third round of the New Zealand 4x4 Trials Championship last weekend.
The extreme branch of off-road motorsport showcases highly specialised four-wheel-drive machines. Many of the purpose-built Super Modified trucks in Class D - mainly powered by V8 engines – also boast four-wheel-steering and height adjustable air suspension systems.
Gravity proves too strong for the Class D machine of Paul and Dave McKie. Picture/Colin Smith.
The sport runs a six-round national series with the Eastern BOP Twin Diff Club organising Sunday’s third round at Kutarere (near Ohope) to complete the first half of the title chase.
Experience proved decisive with October’s first round winner Dan Cowper (Turakina) accumulating the lowest penalty total to post another victory in his 6.2-litre Chevrolet-powered Cowper Truck.
Auckland driver Scott Biggs placed second to continue a sequence of runner-up finishes which puts him into the overall series lead.
Phillip Walton (Counties) was third ahead of Warren Jeffrey (Wellington) as a quartet of Class D Super Modified trucks led the way.
Event winner Dan Cowper steers his 6.2-litre Chevrolet powered Class D truck to the finish line of a mud hazard. Picture/Colin Smith.
Second round winner and defending national champion Hamish Auret (Wanganui) was an early retirement in his 7.0-litre Corvette-engine machine.
The leading contenders in Class C (Four-cylinder Super Modified) were Kevin Hermansen (Wanganui) and Phil Conwell (Wellington). They ranked fifth and sixth overall on the leader board on Sunday and are both well placed in title contention against the D-Class machines.
Brian Hall took the Class E Super Production honours in his Suzuki Vitara. Picture/Colin Smith.
The Super Production category winners at Kutarere were Brian Hall who won class E (four-cylinder) in his Suzuki Vitara and Dave Hintz won Class F (five-cylinder plus) driving his Toyota LandCruiser.
The climbs and descents on steep hillsides and some tight course layouts resulted in high penalty totals along with a number of rollovers. Several deep mud bog sections kept the club’s vehicle recovery crews busy.
The second half of the series gets started next month with the Counties Four Wheel Drive Club hosting the fourth round on Sunday February 14 at Findlay Rd, Maramarua.
See picture gallery below this attacking approach from the Class C crew of Darrell Osborne and Mike Hill which came spectacularly unstuck. Pictures/Colin Smith: