Racers contesting the stock class for UTV race vehicles are the most numerous as the northern region competition reaches its decisive round at Makarau.
The short course event was to have been held in the fast logging roads of Woodhill Forest, but recent cyclones have damaged the track plotted for the event. With the co-operation of sister club ATR, the Auckland Offroad Racing Club has secured the use of the ATR’s farm-based track at Makarau for the replacement event, the JG Civil short course.
The UTV classes will put ten cars on the grid at Makarau: six U class standard cars and four S class modified cars are entered. In JG Civil U class Carl Ruiterman of Pukekohe goes up against Dion Edgecombe (Matamata), Shane McWatt, Leigh Bishop, Brian Rutgers and Scott Mitchell.
Defending national champion Ben Thomasen heads the grid for the modified JG Civil S class and faces tough competition from former NZV8 circuit racer Andrew McKenzie, class sponsor Joel Giddy (Silverdale) and hard-charging rookie Nathan Moore with two further entries possible before race day.
The 4WD Bits truck and 4WD category has attracted entries in the standard and unlimited classes.
Damion Gilberd is the leading class 2 (production) entry; Nick Hall leads the championship outright and is the first entry in the unlimited truck class.
For one competitor in the crowd pleasing unlimited race car class, the build-up has been a race against time. Lance Cargill of Warkworth blew his Jimco’s Chev engine at the Nelson Ruff’n’Tuff 250 two weeks ago and has been hard at work organising a complete rebuild. Having won the unlimited race car class at the second round but missed the opening round in Taranaki, Cargill is third in class going into this round with 66 points.
The unlimited class is led outright by the spectacular Tony McCall of Manukau, who is a multiple national champion. McCall, like Cargill, has a Chev V8 engine in his single-seater car. With two rounds behind him, He has 126 points. Between them is the unique Porsche-engined car of Alan Hilliam who is on 76 points; while Justin Davies is stepping up to the class and makes his second class 1 championship start.
Brendon Old of Taranaki is one of the leading class three entries, and goes up against Andrew Green, class points leader Jarrod Marwood and David Forsyth.
In class five, Nick Magness leads the points battle from Todd Graham and Regan Swensson.
Class seven for VW 1200 cars has two entries: Connor Nicklin and Boston Morgan-Hogan.
The VW Challenger class also has two entries: Ollie McCall and points leader Mark Goldstone.
Racing at 532 Burnside Road, Makarau starts at 10.00 am on Sunday 3 June.