Three race truck teams have taken the maximum 72 points by winning all their heats at the last North Island round of the 2017 Polaris New Zealand Offroad Championship.
Competing on a spectacular farm-based race hilly track at Raglan, Wellington’s Glenn Turvey won class four for modified truck and 4WDs in his Toyota Hilux V6; Warren Adams in a V8 engined Nissan won class six for modified road registered ‘challenge’ trucks and Nick Hall (Drury) likewise took top points in the unlimited truck class in his Chev powered Toyota.
They tied on 72 points with another two race car competitors, 16 year old Jack Hellier (winner, class 7 VW) and Campbell Witheford (winner, HasTrak Challenger VW class). Hellier has won his class at all three rounds and takes maximum points forward to the national final at Nelson over Labour Weekend. Witheford was pressed hard in every heat by a new arrival in the class, Mark Goldstone, who took a string of second placings in a car formerly campaigned by Dyson Delahunty and Nick Leahy.
In the unlimited race car class, Tony McCall set himself up for a clean sweep with spectacuklar wins in the first two heats but overheated his BSL Chev’s engine in the third before rebounding to win the fourth. Whangarei’s Jardyne Lammers won the class with McCall second, six points adrift. Trevor Cooper destroyed the transmission in his massive Jimco Chev, while Colin Meredith had a strong of second placings in his Southern Cross V6 but did not finish the final heat.
The defending champion in HasTrak class three, Brendon Midgely, won his class but was second in the first heat so missed top points. The class attracted the biggest entry on the day, with six cars gridding up for the class-by-class heats and Midgely, Brendon Olds and Craig Patching leading the battle for class honours.
Class five for cars with engines up to 1.3 litres saw a pitched battle between Taine Carrington (Auckland) and Todd Graham (Hawkes Bay) that was resolved in Carrington’s favour, Graham taking the first two heat wins but then falling out of contention with fifth in the third heat. The pair resumed their battle in the final heat which was won by Carrington.
After a break away from national-level racing, Tauranga’s Dyson Delahunty returned to UTV U class competition in dramatic fashion, fighting all the way through the heats with Pukekohe’s Carl Ruiterman and Matamata racer Dion Edgecombe. Delahunty’s flamboyant style in his 2017 Polaris RZR 1000 XP netted him a third place in the first heat (won by Ruiterman) and then a string of wins.
Nick Hall quickly showed his racing form in the 4WD Bits unlimited truck class, taking his American-built and locally-developed ProLite Toyota Chev to the front of each heat to take a perfect clean sweep. Dale Buckley was second in a similar truck with turbo four cylinder power; while Jono Climo’s 4WD turbocharged V8 Toyota destroyed a front drive hub in the first heat and was out for the day and Mal Langley went out of the final heat with a blown transmission.
In JG Civil S class for modified UTVs, defending class champion Ben Thomasen was on a run to top points but that ended with fourth place in the third heat behind a flying Joel Giddy winning ahead of Haydn McKenzie and Rick Field. Thomasen fought back in the final heat to win the class with 66 points in his 2017 Polaris RZR 1000 XP.
In separate races for the Crabb Racing Kiwitruck youth category, Maiya Tiufnell won the K class in a Polaris; Andre England and Holly Russell were first equal in J class Kiwitrucks and Harry Hodgson won the M class for motorcycle-engined Kiwitrucks.
The championship battle heads for Nelson next month where the northern and southern races meet to decide outright and class titles in two days of racing over Labour Weekend.