Four Time Winner Lammers Takes Out the 2013 Enzed Taupo 100
Four Time Winner: Lammers Takes Out the 2013 Enzed Taupo 1000
Hikurangi driver Clim Lammers has won the 2013 ENZED Taupo 1000, becoming the only driver to have taken four victories in the punishing two-day, 1000 km offroad endurance race.
Lammers, driving a New Zealand-built unlimited class single seat race car with a turbocharged Nissan V6 engine, completed the race distance in a total time of 12 hours, five minutes 21 seconds. He crossed the finish line at 1.51 pm having set a new lap record for the 50.2 km course of 31:59.163 with an average speed of 94.166 km/h. His only vehicle problem during the punishing event was a flat tyre.
The race was held at a new course this year, just 13 km outside the resort town of Taupo with a prologue-style start-finish area set on rolling farmland and a mix of fast, open logging roads and narrower, slippery tracks in deep bush. Though heavy rain fell in the week leading into the race, both race days were mainly held in fine weather. The road surfaces were treacherous, with patches of clay retaining overnight rainfall and grip unpredictable where the track crossed from scoria to clay. These conditions caught out many of the front-running cars on the first day.
Second overall was Nelson's Ashley Kelly in his Cougar Evo VW, 16 minutes behind, while Tapanui's Hamish Lawlor was third after winning the first day of the race then smashing his rear suspension today (Sunday). Lawlor was 30 minutes behind the winner at the end of the race, driving a tiny motorcycle-engined class 10 car.
Fourth overall after a spirited drive was Tauranga's Ben Thomasen, first in the new UTV class but more than an hour down on Lammers. Thomasen also set the fastest time for the class with a 32.02.622 on Saturday.
Though there had been rain over the days leading up to the race, the four wheel drives were only able to set the pace in the opening laps of the first day, when Albany racer Raana Horan briefly held the outright lead in his unlimited class Nissan Titan V8. He struck mechanical problems soon after and was out of the event at the end of the first day. The unlimited-class Pro Truck of Canadian Richard Bachand worked its way up as high as fourth but fell back when he had an off-road excursion. The first truck home at the end of the event was Carter Strang and Grant Guy, tenth overall in a V8-engined Nissan Safari, edging Roger McKay's similar truck into 11th. McKay was the last driver to complete the full 20 lap, 1000 km distance.
The race had attracted an all-time record entry of 125 cars and four wheel drives; 90 of those survived the first day's 500 km distance to restart this morning. Only 11 teams completed the full 20 laps of the tight and challenging track. Six of the top ten finishers were driving unlimited-class race cars.
The leading international driver at the race finish was Richard Bachand of Canada, who was slowed during the second day by an off-track excursion but managed to make repairs and race to the finish, 17th overall with 18 of a possible 20 laps completed in his big American-built Ford Pro Truck.
The race claimed a number of fancied teams on the Saturday including Clive Thornton of Whakatane, who tore front and rear suspension off his car on Saturday in a high speed crash that uprooted a pine tree.
Manukau's Tony McCall and Auckland racer James Buchanan went out after just two laps (100.4 km) of the race on Saturday. McCall was third when he crashed in a high speed section. Buchanan was also pushing for a podium finish but rolled his car at the same spot as McCall.
Fiver former Taupo winners had started the race: Lammers, Thornton, McCall, Whangarei's Melvin Rouse, and Aucklander Alan Butler. Of the five, only Lammers completed the race.
Lammers said afterward he saw Saturday's mayhem, fought through to stay in touch with Day One leader Lawlor, and preserved his car for the sprint to the flag today. He had not let himself think about the possibility of winning until near the very end of the last lap.
"I had the other guys in my mirrors at times and I wasn't able to relax until I passed the final checkpoint on the way back out of the forest. It's been an incredible event, nobody could predict this morning how the event would end up," he said.
2013 ENZED Taupo
Top ten placings
Clim Lammers, Hikurangi, 1
Ashley Kelly, Nelson, 2
Hamish Lawlor, Tapanui, 3
Ben Thomasen, Tauranga, 4
Paul Smith, Hamilton, 5
Jardyne Lammers, Hikurangi, 6
Dave Bonniface, Auckland, 7
Colin Meredith, Hauraki, 8
Gregg Carrington-Hogg, Auckland, 9
Carter Strang, Invercargill, 10.