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Northern raider Lance Cargill CREDIT: Veritas Communications Limited

Monday 7 May 2018, 11:08AM
By Mark Baker

An unlimited-class showdown is brewing at the opening southern round of the 2018 ORANZ Offroad Racing Championship.

With up to ten of the high-dollar ultimate offroad race cars lining up for the endurance race and half of those cars coming from the North Island, organisers are promising exciting race action as teams finish their preparations and the club finishes marking out the track.
The northerners confirmed so far for the unlimited class are John Morgan, Mike Fraser, Trevor Cooper, Lance Cargill and Alan Butler, all in V8-powered unlimited class cars except Butler, who runs a turbo Mitsubishi Evo engine. They go up against Kevin Nankivell, Geoff Densem, Daniel Powell and Jacob Brownlees.

The UTV or ‘side by side’ classes have been making an impact on the sport and race organizer Darrin Thomason says this event is no exception, with a big contingent of southern UTV drivers all aiming to get on the podium. With a week to go there are six modified S class entries, setting the scene for one of these fast, agile racers to finish the punishing Ruf'n'Tuf 250 in the top three. Thomasen says the tiny racers could even win the event outright, though the faster stretches will be ‘owned’ by the big class one race cars and class 8 race trucks.

“The UTVs are proven faster in twisty going, up and down hills and on firebreaks. The question is whether they can hang on to that advantage in the fast stuff,” he said.

Two U-class (standard spec) entries have been received so far including a surprise one for American Cameron Reeves in Ron Crosby's new racer, while Ron will run his trusty Mitsubishi Pajero. The championship also welcomes back U class regular Rosco Gaudin.

Organisers also report a massive upsurge in entries for 4WD Bits class 8, with some top northern machinery heading south this weekend.
The Ruff'n'Tuff 250 will see Palmerston North racers Martin van Der Wal and Grant "Rowdy" Rosenberg bring their V8 trucks out to race, with the possibility of more after the iconic Woodhill 100 north of Auckland has been cancelled for safety reasons. The Woodhill is New Zealand’s longest-running offroad race and its absence from the calendar leaves many teams looking for forest endurance racing to take its place.

Entries have now gone past 35. The 250 km event takes place on Saturday at Spooner's Forest, signposted from Wakefield, with a start time of 11.30.


Entries to date:

108 Alan Butler

116 Kevin Nankivell

118 Daniel Powell

133 Jacob Browlees

150 John Morgan

163 Lance Cargill (North Island, pictured)

177 Geoff Densem

180 Mike Fraser

190 Greg Winn

250 Ron Crosby

301 Nigel Sutherland

324 Brendan Midgley

371 Phil Howlett

379 Joel Green

444 Darrin Thomason

553 Daniel Rusbatch

577 Clint Densem

822 Graham Fleming

847 Bryan Chang

852 Blair James Prebble

866 Martin van der Wal

898 Grant Rosenberg

C16 Sam Jury

C52 Barry Phillips

U25 Cameron Reeves

U69 Rosco Gaudin

S12 Slim Slee

S30 Hamish McFedries

S31 Andrew McFedries

S32 Ian Uli Cowan

S36 James Fleming

S55 Brent McDonald

J23/NZ3 Jack Brownlees INDEX