Bryan Chang and the GT Radial Chev Silverado Bryan Chang and the GT Radial Chev Silverado CREDIT: Mark Baker


Tuesday 11 September 2018, 5:24PM
By Mark Baker

An all-new track faces the fastest drivers in New Zealand offroad racing when they arrive in Kurow for a last shot at points in the 2018 New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship over September 15 and 16.

The two-day Southern Dirtfest event features a fast and spectacular day of short course racing on the Saturday followed by a 200 km endurance race over an extended 20 km lap that includes parts of the short course track. By the end of the weekend regional class titles will have been settled and an outright southern champion named.

Heading for the north Otago farm owned by Slim and Janina Slee are the elite of southern offroad racing – and a couple of quick northern raiders for good measure.

In the unlimited race car class. leader John Morgan, has maximum points in his American-built Desert Dynamics Chev two-seater. He also leads the southern region points race outright on 133. Second in that class is Christchurch racer Jacob Brownlees in his Mitsubishi Evo-powered single-seater ahead of another northern racer, Mike Fraser. Also looking to upset the championship battle is Daniel Powell in his Mazda Rotary powered Tatum single-seater. Last-minute problems with his Arctic Cat UTV have compelled Southland’s Donald Preston to switch to his massive Porter two-seater unlimited class race car. Adding to the mix is a new car ex-Australia for motocross/enduro rider Dan Fisher.

In class three for race cars with engines up to 1.6-litres, Phil Howlett, Joel Green and northerner Brendon Midgely are the leading contenders.

Daniel Rusbatch is the first entry for class five, which caters for cars with engines up to 1.3 litres.

In 4WD Bits class 8 for unlimited trucks and four wheel drives, current points leader Bryan Chang of Christchurch in his Chev Silverado will go up against Blair Prebble in a Toyota Hilux turbo along with former class 1 and class 3 racer Cam Stratford of Nelson. Stratford will debut the Ford Ranger V8 ute he has just bought from Craig Westgate in Whangarei.

There is a seven-strong entry for the Challenger VW race car class including hard chargers Barry Phillips, current class leader Andrew Knight, Gordon Adamson and Rob Palmer.

In the JG Civil UTV category, U class leader Rosco Gaudin will go up against James Dickson, while in the S class for modified UTVs mayhem is assured with an eight-strong entry that includes all of the sport’s fastest UTV racers, headed by double champion Bob Uttridge. Yamaha racer Uttridge won both the New Zealand Endurance Championship at Nelson in July and the New Zealand short course title at Palmerston North in August. The class is currently led by Ian Cowan.

The event also includes a separate set of races for the younger set, who compete in the Crabb Racing Kiwitruck championship. Jack Brownlees leads the points race with Kelan Keith close behind and Kadyn Thomason third.

The Southern Dirtfest will be held at Slim Slee’s property, which is signposted from  State Highway 83 and Otiake Road, Kurow. Spectator admission is by gold coin donation at the gate.








2018 New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship

Southern points standings as at 5 September 2018

Name                                              Competition number


Class 1 unlimited race cars

Donald Preston                             104

Dan Fisher                                     112
Daniel Powell                                118
Jacob Brownlees                          133

Josh Rutledge                               175
John Morgan                                 150
Greg Winn                                     190
Mike Fraser                                    180


Class 3 1600 cc

Joel Green                                     379
Brendon Midgely                          324
Phil Howlett                                   371


Class 5 1300 cc

Daniel Rusbatch                          553


4WD Bits class 8

Bryan Chang                                 847

Blair Prebble                                  852

Cam Stratford                                836

VW Challenger class

Jorja Storer                                     C24
Brooke Storer                                C42
Barry Phillips                                 C52
Andrew Knight                              C69

Ian Simcox                                     C73
Rob Palmer                                    C82
Gordon Adamson                         C            99

JG Civil UTVs

U class

James Dickson                             U07
Rosco Gaudin                               U69


JG Civil UTVs

S class

Ian Cowan                                     S32
Andrew McFedries                       S31
Bob Uttridge                                   S36
James Fleming                             S36
Grant Dickson                               S51
Brent McDonald                            S55
Gavin Storer                                  S84
Slim Slee                                        S12


Crabb Racing Kiwitrucks

J class

Jack Brownlees                            NZ3

Kelan Keith                                   J26

Kadin Thomason                          J97