High Stakes As Championship Reaches Legendary Woodhill Race   28 May 2012

• Technology battle takes over the front end: US vs Kiwi ingenuity
• Record entry expected for longest, toughest championship race
• Youngest racer arrives at enduro with championship lead
• 32nd Woodhill 100 tests the best in the sport

The oldest, longest and toughest endurance race in New Zealand offroad racing offers North Island racers a final chance to top up their championship points tally this weekend.

The 32nd Woodhill 100 will test the best racers in the sport over a record 246 km of flat-out racing in a forest that is otherwise closed to motorsport. This year, the race is shaping to be a showdown between imported American technology and the best of Kiwi race car design and engineering. It offers race fans a rare chance to see top-level race action in the vast pine forests of the northwest, up close and personal with the fastest offroad race drivers in New Zealand.

The 2012 Woodhill 100 has announced backing this year from Frontline Projects and will run this year to a record 246 kilometres, up from 210 in 2011. The race distance, plotted on the fast logging roads and sand tracks of Woodhill Forest, makes this the longest endurance race in the 2012 Mickey Thompson New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship.

Old Glory – the USA’s stars and stripes flag – could be proudly flown at the Woodhill podium this year with two leading unlimited-class teams running the very latest US-built desert race cars.

Recent Woodhill and Taupo 1000 champion Clive Thornton of Whakatane will be a top contenders in their new Desert Dynamics two-seater race car with Chev V8 power; Mt Albert’s Alan Butler has finished upgrading his American-built Millennium single-seater from Honda power to a race-prepared Mitsubishi Evo turbo engine and will make his first championship appearance of the year. In class three for Super 1600 cars, Auckland’s Devlin Hill and Nick Hall of Pukekohe will also field American cars. Hill was the outright winner of the previous northern round of the championship, held at Mangawhai over Easter.

This year the race will be a showdown between these late-model American race cars and the best Kiwi cars. Flying the American flag are Alan Butler (Millennium single seater with Mitsubishi Evo power), Devlin Hill (Hustler) and Clive and Max Thornton (Chev powered Desert Dynamics two – seater) and 2011 North Island champion Nick Hall in a class three stadium car. Heading up the top Kiwi cars is multiple national champion and five-times Woodhill 100 winner Tony McCall of Manukau in his all-new BSL Terra Chev. The blond racer in his all-new single-seater car dominated at the second round until the BSL Terra destroyed a cv joint on the second day with just 10 laps of the enduro left to run. McCall says he’s still in the hunt for the outright title.

“The genesis of this car from CAD drawing to turnkey racer has been extremely fast. The thick mud at Mangawhai identified a need for more engine cooling capability, and the CV joint we broke there showed the articulation at the rear was too much so we have come down in ride height to reduce the angle from 25 degrees to 20. That means we reduce our suspension travel by a couple of inches – but there’s still around five inches more than the previous car had,” he said.

In addition, McCall has switched to series sponsor Mickey Thompson’s tyres.

“We’ve now reached a point where case and compound matter as much as tread design, the power of the engine is just massive and we need a good set of covers to get the power down. That’s going to be critical in the sand at Woodhill.”

Leading the championship to date is 14 year old Taine Carrington of West Harbour, who is the youngest ever racer to lead the points chase. Carrington is running a new class 7 car this year after crashing at last year’s Woodhill 100. He won his class at the first and second North Island rounds of the championship, but now must focus on running consistently at Woodhill to secure as many points as possible ehading into the championship final.

Now in its 32nd year, the Woodhill 100 is the oldest event in New Zealand offroad racing and is the longest continually-running endurance race in New Zealand motorsport.

Organisers say they have plotted a new race course that uses the best of last year’s roads but will take the drivers further into the northern end of the forest than last year, and will start the event from a new pit/start area accessed in the same way as in previous years. Entry numbers are expected to follow the strong upward trend at the first and second northern rounds of the championship, with drivers who have raced at both rounds able to net an additional 20 points by contesting the Woodhill.

There will be a separate race for the Kiwitrucks youth category at 7.30 am on race morning using part of the main event race course. Though it is a forest endurance race, spectators turn out in significant numbers to catch the action - more than 2500 paying race fans through the gate in 2011 - with plentiful vantage points close to the start-finish area and the leading racers topping 220km/h on the faster sections of the course. Ollie McCall leads the “M” class Kiwitrucks championship race while Fergus Crabb leads the “J” class.

The first chance to see the cars will be at scrutineering on the Saturday of Queen’s Birthday Weekend between noon and 3 pm at PinePac Kumeu. Qualifying and the race will all take place on the Sunday, June 3; with the qualifying sprints run from 8.30 am and race start at 11.00 am. The forest access for the race will be signposted for northern and southern traffic at the roundabout on SH16 near Parakai. Admission is $10/adult, children under 15 are free.

31 years of the toughest race in New Zealand

The Woodhill 100 winners
1981 Daryll Carson
1982 Emil Versalko
1983 Daryll Carson
1984 Nigel Barton
1985 Ian Foster
1986 Emil Versalko
1987 Lindsay Pointon
1988 Des Warrington
1989 Ian Foster
1990 Ian Foster
1991 Ian Foster
1992 Ian Foster
1993 Trevor Hackett
1994 Emil Versalko
1995 Daynom Templeman
1996 Mike Cameron
1997 Daynom Templeman
1998 Ian Foster
1999 Tony McCall
2000 Grant Ferguson
2001 Trevor Hackett
2002 Lindsay Pointon
2003 Clim Lammers
2004 Tony McCall
2005 Tony McCall
2006 Tony McCall
2007 Tony McCall
2008 Clive Thornton
2009 Alan Butler
2010 Raana Horan
2011 Raana Horan

(Veritas Communications Ltd)

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

NZ Election 2017: Labour’s plan to unlock Canterbury’s potential

28 Aug 2017 News
Jacinda Ardern on August 28, 2017 Christchurch’s rebuild will be fast-... more

Updated plan to address Auckland’s growth

11 Aug 2017 News
11 August 2017 Transport Minister Simon Bridges has released a joint report by the Government and Auckland Council, which updates work... more

Business

Rocket launch a huge step for New Zealand’s space industry

25 May 2017 Business News
25 May 2017 Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges has congratulated the team at Rocket Lab on the successful launch of... more

Increased investor confidence welcomed

29 May 2017 Business News
29 May 2017 Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today welcomed the Financial Markets Authority annual survey results... more

Living

Austen vs Ashton - NZ's Penny Ashton is back with "Promise and Promiscuity"

17 Sep 2017 Arts By Penny Ashton
In 2016 all my Jane Austen dreams came true when I married my own personal Mr Darcy. I say that not because he had a universally... more

Straight out of Edinburgh - NZ's Modern Maori Quartet heading back to London - interview

28 Aug 2017 Entertainment By Charlotte Everett
Fresh from their critically acclaimed debut season at the Edinburgh Festival, Auckland’s Modern Maori Quartet are heading back... more

Property

New Zealand Housing Affordability Measure released

10 May 2017 Property
10 May 2017 The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) new Housing Affordability Measure will allow the market... more

NZ house prices gain 11% in October

14 Nov 2016 Property
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 14 November 2016 10:28 AM NZ house prices gain 11% in October, driven by sales of higher value homes By... more

Migration

Suspension of decision making authority

25 Apr 2017 Migration
24 April 2017Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is taking steps to improve Immigration New Zealand’s decision making... more

Recognised Seasonal Employers employ more Kiwis

8 Feb 2017 Migration
7 Feb 2017 Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse welcomes a report showing the vast majority of employers who take on seasonal... more

Travel

NZ Election 2017: Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation

28 Aug 2017 Travel & Tourism
Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation Posted by Kris Faafoi on August 28, 2017 more

International visitors projected to spend $15 billion

12 May 2017 Travel & Tourism
12 May 2017 New Zealand’s tourism sector is forecast to grow significantly over the next seven years, with international... more

Sport

OPINION | Wallabies came out firing and didn’t wilt

27 Aug 2017 Opinion By Jim Kayes
27 August 2017 @JIMKAYES   Jim Kayes has been covering rugby since the late 1990... more

Praise flows for world champion Black Ferns

26 Aug 2017 Rugby
New Zealand's winning of the Women's Rugby World Cup has been hailed as one of the great women's games as the Black Ferns' powerful... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome more

Kiwi Success

Law Commissioner appointed

29 May 2017 Appointments
29 May 2017 Former Secretary for Justice Belinda Clark has been appointed as Law Commissioner, Justice Minister Amy Adams announced... more

Spencer to be Acting Governor of Reserve Bank

8 Feb 2017 Appointments
7 Feb 2017 Finance Minister Steven Joyce will appoint current Deputy Reserve Bank Governor Grant Spencer as the Acting Governor of... more

Recruitment

Online job ads continue growing strongly

26 Jun 2017 Recruitment
23 June 2017 Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says the latest Jobs Online report shows strong growth... more

New employment resource for young people

1 Mar 2017 Recruitment
28 Feb 2017 Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Education Minister Louise Upston have... more

s