A South Island success story, the 2018 Superwinch Mainland Winch Series attracted over 30 teams to a five round series that took them from one end of the Island to the other and even attracted three North Island Crews that competed in every round.
The headline Outlaw class of the Superwinch Mainland Winch Series, with its wider rule interpretations, was won by the Nelson-based crew of Scotty Newport and James Keys, who, on paper, seemed to totally dominate the series, in a practically stock Jeep Wrangler.
The pair won three of the five rounds and finished second in the other two for a series total of 490 points out of a possible 500. Under the series rules, competitors get to drop their worst round, imagine being so consistent over a winch series, you have to drop the points for a second place.
This pair was pushed more than the scorecard may show through by Christchurch pair of Andy Reeves and Aaron Eades in a purpose-built buggy that bears absolutely no resemblance to a production vehicle, or any other truck in the competition.
Powered by a tricked up high revving V6 Toyota Camry motor, the buggy beat the Nelson pair in one round, finished with two seconds and a third, and a disastrous 7th in the second round in Alexandra.
But what this meant was that when Reeves and Eades dropped their worst round, they only lost 69 points to Newports and Keys 95, finishing with 380 out of 400, only 15 behind the winners 395.
Adding to the mix was the very old school, but still, very competitive and reliable V8 Powered 40 Series Landcruiser of North Island regulars Stan Goodman and Chris Simpson.
Stan has been competing in the big, strong, but heavy cruiser for many years, and spent the season just outside the top three in all the rounds, but serious consistency and reliability brought the crew the reward of third place in the series.
It was a fascinating scenario all season, the all-Jeep Jeep, versus the homebuilt special with its extreme variety of parts, and custom fabrications, versus the historical mix of strength and power.
The competitiveness of the class and the importance of competing in all rounds was highlighted by the fact that the top five positions were taken out by the five teams that competed in all five rounds.
This was in contrast to the Open class, where the series was won by Brock Welsh, who only competed in the first four rounds, but won them all, finishing with a maximum possible 400 points anyway.
Second was Nathan Hammond, who won the final round, had two seconds and a third in his scoring round to finish on 380, just 10 points ahead of Rick Crosbie on 370. Crosbie had two seconds and two thirds in his scoring rounds.
With just five competitors entered for the series, and none completing all five rounds, the Superwinch Mainland Winch Series Clubmans division became a very close run race, with four of the five winning at least one round. Lockie Croskerie came out a narrow winner, with two wins and a second place.
Richard Gifford came home second, a mere five points pack with a win and two seconds, and Ben Simmons third, with a win and two thirds.
The 2019 series is already gearing up, with venues mostly confirmed, the first entries confirmed, and plans well underway to bring the NZ1 title event back down south to be incorporated into the Christchurch round.
Well done to all the winners of the Superwinch Mainland Winch Series. Check out more of the action in the gallery above.