Mike Fraser, Albany Mike Fraser, Albany CREDIT: Mark Baker


Tuesday 9 July 2019, 9:14AM
By Mark Baker


  • Nelson’s Ruff’n’Tuff 250 continues southern points battle
  • Northern driver Mike Fraser will defend his lead
  • Local V8 race army to battle Fraser in the forest

Albany (Auckland) driver Mike Fraser has his work cut out for him this weekend as the 2019 New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship thunders into the Spooner Range Forest southwest of Nelson.

Fraser cleaned up last month in the opening southern round of the championship, opening an early points lead in the seven-round series. The recipe for success in the unlimited class now starts with a massive and durable race-tuned V8 engine – usually a Chevrolet – driving through a purpose-built race transmission to the rear wheels. The Fraser car – appropriately backed by automotive cleaning brand Motomuck – is a single-seater built in the USA, modified for local conditions and fitted with a four-cam Toyota V8 engine.

Ranged against Fraser are some of the best unlimited class racers in the country Greg Winn, Jacob Brownlees and two relative newcomers to the sport, Dan Fisher and Alex Bright. These four along with 4WD Bits class 8 racer Cam Stratford in his Ford Ranger make up a Nelson-based V8 ‘army’ preparing to deny Fraser further time at the top.

Fisher and Bright are also separately registered as a team for the championship.

The event currently has 39 entries, 30 per cent of them raiders from the North Island, and the likely total entry on Saturday could reach 45. This is the first year that race teams have been able to enter all six regional rounds to build a points tally to carry into the finals.

Race organiser Darrin Thomasen says the 20 km lap will have ‘something for everyone’ including an opening six km of logging highway that will enable the fastest cars to rise safely through the field, and a downhill ‘firebreak’ return road that some braver racers are saying will be run in third gear. The course has been designed to work around logging activity in the forest.

“We have completed our final full-track check and I can guarantee the course will challenge everyone. There are a handful of creek crossings which could be pretty full after the weekend as rainfall works its way down off the hills. There are bumpy log ‘skids’ to go through and more water crossings before the course lands back at the pits – and that’s one lap of 12!”

Racing starts at Spooners Forest Saturday July 13 with the Kiwitruck youth category at 10 am, followed by the main event at 11.30. Spectator admission is free.




Youngs Automotive Ruff’n’Tuff entries to date 38

Class 1

104 Donald Preston

110 Alex Bright

112 Dan Fisher

116 Kevin Nankivell

133 Jacob Brownlees

173 Nevil Basalaj

180 Mike Fraser

190 Greg Winn

192 Ash Kelly


Class 3

324 Brendon Midgley

333 Brendon Old

375 Grant Adamson

379 Joel Green

381 David Forsyth


4WD Bits class 4

464 Richie Ryder


Class 5

507 Todd Graham


4WD Bits class 8

800 Paul Preston

836 Cam Stratford

844 Darrin Thomason

847 Bryan Chang

858 Bruce McKenzie

866 Martin van der Wal


Class 10

1006 John Hodgson


JG Civil UTV Class U

U31 Shane Mcwatt

U87 Dyson Delahunty

U90 Jamie McKinstry


JG Civil UTV Class S

S12 Slim Slee

S16 Joel Giddy

S31 Andrew McFedries

S32 Ian Uli Cowan

S43 Brian Rutgers

S55 Brent McDonald

S66 Rick Field

S89 Trevor Cooper


Challenger VW

C16 Sam Jury


Kiwitruck youth category

J81 Reeve Giddy


M12 Harry Hodgson

M23 Jack Brownlee