Racing Brothers Return To Off Road Nationals Battle
Four years after their last National Championship appearance, Papakura brothers Louis and Ash Carlyle made a welcome return to the Off Road Racing National Championship taking out podium place finishes in both their classes. Held at Colin Dale Park in Puhinui and hosted by Counties Manukau Off Road Racing Club, the event was the second round of the series, attracting racers from around the country.
Ash Carlyle’s 2014 championship campaign ended with a major engine blow in the final round, so he was keen to take up took up a sponsors offer to compete in the local round of the National Championship, the new expanded track perfectly suited to him. Although hampered by a high speed misfire, the 30yr old logistics manager managed a string of 3rd places, showing the field he has lost none of his pace and intelligent driving style. A blistering start to the feature saw him carve through to an early lead before having to retire with a broken throttle, giving him 3rd place overall for the round.
Since finishing the 2014 championship in 3rd place in the VW 1600cc Challenger class, younger brother Louis Carlyle has moved up to the higher horse power open buggy class, campaigning a dual seat 200HP Nissan powered machine with co-driver Matt Sparks. However, with the car in the Carlyle Motorsports workshop being fitted with a new Chev Ecolite power plant, Dad Craig Carlyle handed the keys of his impressive 500HP V8 powered Toyota Hilux Stadium Truck to the younger Carlyle to compete at the National round. Resplendent in a NZ style Blues Brothers theme, the American imported truck has been seen across the country at events such as Beach Hop and the Leadfoot festival. Louis Carlyle had only driven the truck once before, but Carlyle senior had no qualms about slotting the 27 year old race mechanic into the driving seat. “He is a talented and fearless driver who has learnt his craft from the likes of Greg Murphy, Paul Manuell and Kenny Smith. The opportunity for him to pit his skills against the best field in the country was too good to miss and he proved he can handle it.” said Carlyle snr. The class rookie made his mark on the day, overcoming initial setup issues to romp home in the latter races, thrilling the crowd with displays on two wheels and four, to come home in 2nd place for the day behind National Champion Nick Hall.
Off road vehicles are split into truck and buggy classes including a special “Kiwi-Truck” off road kart class for children as young as 8 years old. Buggy classes start with the well proven 1200cc VW engines while the truck and open buggy classes stretch out to 500 HP fire breathing V8’s. Colin Dale Park is the new Auckland Council developed motorsport venue rapidly taking shape on the city’s back door. With the infrastructure in place, Counties Club are embarking on building a USA styled Stadium off road track featuring 25m wide turns, huge jumps and the massive V8 stadium trucks seen on TV. With the stadium truck fields rapidly building and the new temporary track in use, stadium truck racing will soon be a regular feature on the Auckland calender.