Scott Biggs claims victory at a drama-filled 4x4 Rampage
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Defending champion Scott Biggs (Manukau) staged a fight back drive during a challenging afternoon session to win the opening round of the New Zealand 4x4 Trials Championship on Saturday.
The Black Robin Contracting 4x4 Rampage was the first of six days of competition in the 2019-20 national series and saw 47 teams in action at the Eastern Bay Twin Diff Club organised event near Awakeri.
Biggs and co-driver Sam Thomsen had headed back into the fray following the lunchbreak in only fifth place but moved up the order by making the lowest-scoring run through the afternoon hazards.
‘‘We had steering issues in the afternoon but still managed a great afternoon score to come back from a 100-point deficit at lunch to win the day,’’ said Biggs.
The afternoon was judged by many crews as more difficult than the morning session and included two hazards that denied the entire field a clean score sheet.
After collecting penalties on four of 15 afternoon hazrads Biggs drove to the overall win in his 6.0-litre Chevrolet-powered Nitro Customs truck by just over 30 penalty points from the Hamilton crew of Greg and Chris McDell (Cowper 6.0-litre).
Jarred Biggs – Scott’s twin brother and runner-up last summer - moved up one spot during the afternoon to secure third place ahead of Northland’s Aaron Guest, who had won the previous Eastern Bay national event two years ago at the same property.
The early pace steer has been Whakatane’s Shayne Towers and Tony Hadland who cleared all of the morning hazards and only incurred penalties on the short time trial sections to take the lead ahead of the McDell brothers.
Towers’ Nissan turbo-powered Class C truck experienced engine troubles in the afternoon and tumbled down the order. In the process Turakina driver Dan Cowper moved up to claim the Class C honours and finish 10th overall.
Wanganui’s Dave and Reece McKie finished fifth while Taihape’s Dave Hintz and Ethan Breuel survived a spectacular backflip in their truck when attempting a steep hillclimb to finish sixth.
The championship is in action again in the New Year with a double-header event at Rangiwahia in the Manawatu over the January 25-26 weekend.