Nelson is the battleground as the fastest southern racers line up for their first chance to grab points in the 2016 Polaris New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship.
They won’t have things all their own way, with a contingent of northern bandits heading south aiming to steal points and championship glory. Racing on a new farm-based short track course at Kinzett Creek Road, Tadmore, the southern racers will be looking to fend off an aggressive challenge from the northerners.
Leading the charge for the south are local racers Nevil Basalaj (Jimco Chev), Ash Kelly (Cougar VW Evo) and Cam Stratford; all three in the spectacular unlimited race car class.
Also racing in that class and making a debut of his new Maxda rotary-engined car is former national champion Daniel Powell of Christchurch. From the north, and making possibly the longest journey to race, is Clim-Tristan Lammers of Hikurangi, near Whangarei..
Bryan Chang, also Christchurch-based, brings his GT Radial Ford Falcon turbo out for the first competitive run of the season, and goes wheel to wheel with the biggest unlimited-class truck grid so far this season. Even with the withdrawal of Gavin Storer due to illness the ‘big banger’ grid is packed with trucks including Carl Gardiner’s big black Nissan, the Nissan Navara of Andrew Johnston, Mike Blackmore’s Honda, and the double northern threat of Martin Van Der Wal in his four wheel drive Hilux V8 and Grant ‘Rowdy’ Rosenburg in his bright green truck, now repowered with a big Chev V8.
The 2016 Nelson Ruff’n’Tuff gets under way at 11.00 am on Saturday. The new race venue will be signposted from the Kohatu/Tapawera turn-off, south of Wakefield. Spectator admission is $5 per person, $20 per car load with under fives free.
Leading entries in the 2016 Nelson Ruff’n’Tuff
Class one, unlimited race cars
118- Daniel Powell
128- Clim-Tristan Lammers (Hikurangi, Northland)
175- Josh Rutledge
192- Ash Kelly
4WD Bits class two for production utes and 4WDs
218- Steven John Boyd
250- Ron Crosby
Class three, race cars with engines up to 1650 cc
312- Wayne Moriarty
333- Brendan Old
354- Daniel Rusbatch
371- Greg Winn
375- Grant Adamson
379- Joel Green
399- Alex McIndoe
4WD Bits class four for modified race trucks
444- Darrin Thomason
454- Wayne Wilson
497- Dave Ballantyne
Class five, race cars with engines up to 1300 cc
572- Graham Fleming
577- Clint Densem
V Dub Shoppe class seven
Class eight, unlimited race trucks
829- Martin Vanderwal (Palmerston North)
838- Michael Blackmore
841- Carl Gardner
847- Bryan Chang
898- Grant Rosenberg (Palmerston North)
V Dub Shoppe Challenger class
C22 John Strickett
C93- Brad Harvey