Opening round of the Asset Finance Offfroad Racing National Championship at Meremere in the north Waikato kicking off this Sunday
The 2009 New Zealand offroad racing championship roars into life this weekend at Meremere with a strong field of the fastest drivers in the country all keen to take an early points advantage in the seven round series.
Racing on Sunday 12 April is in short course format, with three heats for every class at the event and an all-in feature race. The course is designed to place the most exciting action close to spectators, and all parts of the track are visible from the approved spectator areas.
The heats will be raced first, then during a re-grouping break before the feature race the All Terrain Racing Club’s Kids’ category will stage demonstration races. The feature race is rated the most spectacular of all, pitting trucks against single-seater and two-seater offroad race cars in a mad scramble for track position.
Confirmed for the Challenge Massey short course round at Meremere is an all-new production race truck, the first ever application of American muscle to the sport’s popular production class. The massive Dodge Ram V8 utility prepared by Bakersfield Racing and Race Shock Specialists is being run as a shake-down at this event with a view to contesting the big enduro races later in the year.
Strong entries promise spectacular racing in the fast Pine Harbour Painters Super 1600 class, with front-runners Rick Sciarone, Richard Crabb, Malcolm Langley and Alan Butler among the ten or more cars set to take the starting grid.
The “anything-goes” Kumeu Transport Engineering class one is headed by Drury’s Grant Ferguson (pictured), Whakatane racer Clive Thornton and Whangarei’s Melvin Rouse.
Making the longest trip to compete are Wellington drivers Glenn Turvey (Camco class four Toyota Hilux V6) and Justin Leonard (Camco class eight truck).
The event gets under way at 9.30am, admission is $5.00 for adults with under 15 year olds free.
The 2009 Asset Finance National Championship starts on 12 April; racing resumes on June 27 at Palmerston North with a combined enduro/short course meeting; followed a month later on July 26 by the third and final North Island round, an endurance race in Gwavas Forest southwest of Napier.
The first South Island round is an endurance race at Dunedin on April 25. The second round on June 20 is a short course event at Christchurch, with the south’s regional rounds concluding at Nelson with a short course and endurance race weekend August 15-16.
Racers can only score points in North Island or South Island events, and each regional event series will name a northern and southern champion, titles that stand in their own right below the overall national championship title.
The nation’s fastest racers come together for the national final at Christchurch over Labour Weekend, 24-25 October, where they will compete in both endurance and short course events to decide the in-class and outright New Zealand champions.