Spectacular offroad racing action
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Meremere “Stadium” Event Kicks Off 2011 Championship
Intense competition is expected when the North Island’s fastest racers meet at the first round of the 2011 Mickey Thompson New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship at Meremere on March 27.
Organisers say this weekend’s racing is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Based on the northern side of the main access road to the established Meremere dragway, the Meremere event is all short course, the sport’s spectacular stadium-style racing format.
The 2011 championship will feature seven rounds, with the fastest teams in the north and south coming together at Nelson in early October for the national final where the in-class and overall champions will be decided over two days of racing.
Off Road Association of New Zealand president Tony Gardiner says the 2011 championship season is shaping up to be one of the best in recent years. With new cars coming into the championship in most classes, he’s expecting the first northern and southern rounds to give an early indication of the strength of the sport.
“We have all-new cars coming in every class, including an American-built Desert Dynamics two-seater Chev V8 race car for Bay of Plenty driver Clive Thornton, a Mitsubishi Evo re-power for the stunning Millennium race car of Alan Butler, several new builds under way in the truck classes and of course multiple champion Tony McCall has a clean-sheet unlimited-class single-seater build under way that will run a big Chev V8 engine. Add to this the number of competitors who have spent the off-season upgrading their current cars and trucks and the sport has some excellent racing ahead.”
The 2010 national champion Donn Attwood of West Auckland will be back to begin his title defence racing in class 3 for Super 1600 cars. Attwood runs his RV Magnum Toyota in a two car team with James Buchanan, who races a Cougar Evo Suzuki.
A highlight of the Meremere round will be the debut of Whakatane driver Clive Thornton’s new American-designed Desert Dynamics Chevrolet-powered two-seater race car, built during 2010 from a fresh “rolling” frame purchased from Australia and fitted with a six speed sequential transmission and Thornton’s powerful American-built Chev V8 race engine.
The new car will come up against Mt Albert driver Alan Butler’s Millennium single-seater, now with Mitsubishi Evo power, which will also make its championship debut after running at selected events in 2010.
The third class one car spicing up class one is the Bakersfield single seater of Malcolm Langley, Whakatane. Langley won championship events and the class in 2010, and with the car’s Evo engine well sorted can be expected to make things tough for the rest of the class 1 field.
Gates open at Meremere at 7.30 am on race day; racing starts at 10 am. The racing will be in three heats of five laps per class, with the fourth heat a 15-lap all-in event.
The 2011 Mickey Thompson New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship will feature three North Island and three South Island regional rounds before all leading teams come together at Nelson in early October for the national final, where the in-class and overall champions will be decided over two days of racing.