Woodhill Enduro Draws Fastest And Finest Drivers

Press Release – Veritas Communications Ltd

Legendary offroad race attracts fastest teams in the sport 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s toughest enduro 2010 Championship points at stake   The fastest drivers in the punishing sport of offroad racing are about to converge on the bumpy sand …
Woodhill Enduro Draws Fastest And Finest Drivers

Legendary offroad race attracts fastest teams in the sport
30th anniversary of New Zealand’s toughest enduro
2010 Championship points at stake
The fastest drivers in the punishing sport of offroad racing are about to converge on the bumpy sand tracks and fast logging roads of Woodhill Forest northwest of Auckland to contest the toughest event in the sport.

With a week before the 2010 Denny’s Woodhill 100 happens on Sunday June 6, racers throughout New Zealand are readying their vehicles for the toughest event in the sport.

Current AFWE production class national champion Anthony Hewitt, current ThunderTruck class points leader Gary Baker, the most advanced unlimited-class single-seater in the sport and four of the fastest BigPosters Super 1600 class cars in New Zealand head up the entry list for the 2010 Denny’s Woodhill 100, a 170 km one-day endurance race that is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

This year, the Woodhill 100 is a round of the 2010 Asset Finance New Zealand Offroad Racing National Championship.  With two rounds already run – one in the North Island and one in the South Island – Christchurch driver Wayne Moriarty holds a narrow points lead in his Super 1600 class Cougar Toyota.

Super 1600s set sights on the podium

Four West Auckland drivers are aiming to change all that.  Donn Attwood, James Buchanan and brothers Rick and Rene Sciarone are all driving fast, agile Super 1600 cars.

All four are well versed in the challenge offered by the Woodhill 100, and it’s arguably their “local” event, as all four hail from West Auckland.

Attwood, driving a two-seat RV Magnum with Toyota power, led the championship after the first North Island round following a fierce battle with Bu-Mac Motorsport team-mate James Buchanan, who has stepped up to the Super 1600 class this year in an all-new Evo-bodied Cougar Suzuki.

“Stepping out of a VW Challenger into a class 3 is amazing. The new car just fit, first time; it feels so perfect straight out of the box that it’s uncanny.”  Buchanan says the car is in many respects a rolling showcase for his engineering company’s work.  He is looking forward to his first Woodhill in a Super 1600 car.

“Woodhill’s THE race to try to win.  The first round was cool, a great battle in the enduro, but this is the one trophy to get your name on.”

Attwood and Buchanan are looking for a top result at Woodhill after swapping the lead in the enduro at the first North Island round, Attwood grappling with overheating and Buchanan only slowing when the choking dust at that event clogged his engine’s air filter.

“We had a great battle at the first round and we are both still well placed on points for the championship.  The Woodhill, being a forest race, will be a totally different challenge, but the course has some good fast sections with plenty of opportunities to overtake.”

The Kumeu-based Sciarone brothers, racing in a two-car team for Pinepac, are likewise tough racers, determined to get a clear run at the front of the field and score points in the championship.  Rick Sciarone runs an Eagle framed single-seater with Nissan power, while Rene has a Chenowth with a Toyota 4AGE engine.

“Racing’s always close and fierce in this class – at the first round there were 22 of us!  We’re confident of being able to get in front of the Bu-Mac guys and push for a win,” said Rick.

The Sciarone brothers are true locals, hailing from the Kumeu area.  But they are not sure there’s a home-town advantage in a race as hard as the Woodhill.

“All four of us are contenders for the win.  The biggest thing will be getting a good grid position and staying at the front in the early laps, then trying not to take each other out as the race settles down!”

Devlin Hill is also entered in the Super 1600 class in an Evo-bodied Cougar as are Simeon Gilbert, Mike Gibson and Albany driver Richard Crabb.

The Super 1600 class looks set to be the most numerous in this year’s event and may well deliver the race winner this year.  The 2009 race was won by Alan Butler in an Evo-bodied Cougar Toyota Super 1600, and both rounds of the championship this year have been won outright by Super 1600 entries. 

Unlimited race cars – Butler steps up

Mt Albert’s Butler is back for another run and this year will race his newly imported US-built Millennium single-seater in Southern Lakes Transmissions class one.  The Honda-powered car is the newest and most advanced race car in the sport.  With a long wheelbase and wide track for greater stability, it could prove to be the ideal car for a race like the Woodhill, where suspension set-up can be even more important that outright power.

Also in the top buggy class, Malcolm Langley is back for another run at the Woodhill in his Mitsubishi Evo VII turbo-powered Bakersfield race car. Langley won the enduro at the Whitianga round and will be on the pace in Woodhill’s unique mix of sand tracks and high speed rally-style gravel roads.

In the same class, Whakatane driver Clive Thornton hopes to bring his two-seater Southern Cross race car, newly re-powered from GM V6 to Chev V8, though he is unlikely to be taking the wheel himself, having fractured his back in a crash at the first round of the championship.  Thornton’s son Max is likely to take the wheel.

Other entries in the top buggy class are two racers making a trip south to compete.  From Whangarei comes experienced racer Melvin Rouse, in a Nissan-powered class one car.  Former Woodhill winner Clim Lammers of Hikurangi is notorious for entering the event at the last minute but is expected to turn out in his fast Nissan-powered class one car.

Mike Cox is bringing his Subaru turbo-powered Jimco “Baja” car, aiming to build on a strong performance at the first round.

Sound of Thunder

Waiting to take advantage of any weakness in the super-competitive buggy class are the AFWE trucks.

The Woodhill has never been won by a truck in its 30 year history.  But with South Head’s Raana Horan bringing his powerful four wheel drive Nissan Titan V8 ThunderTruck and current ThunderTruck class championship points leader Gary Baker bringing his rear wheel drive Nissan Navara V8, the race has two competitors well capable of circulating in the top five and snaring a win.  There are also rumours of an all-new ThunderTruck coming south from Whangarei with Ford V8 power.

The production class could turn up a strong result this year as well.  Traditionally, Woodhill has been too tough for the production trucks, which lack the suspension development possible in the faster, lighter buggies or the “unlimited” ThunderTruck class.

This year, production class entries are headed by Anthony Hewitt, “Mr Bilstein”, in his mighty red Dodge 1500 4X4 V8.  The truck is a mobile shop window for his business, Race Shock Specialties, which supplies and installs suspension components for race, road, rally and offroad race vehicles.  Hewitt is the defending national champion in the class, but trails Hamilton’s Nigel Newlands on points after the first round of the 2010 championship.

In the “improved” truck class, the first entry is Gary Scott in his Mitsubishi Pajero Evo.  Scott, an endurance race specialist, has won his class at Woodhill before.  He’s another semi-local, hailing from Waimauku.

Whakatane’s Peter Weatherly is the first to enter class six for Challenge (road-registered) Trucks; he will race against Darren Bell in the Denny’s Range Rover, Craig “Sooty” Lord in his Land Rover Discovery and warren Adams in a Nissan Patrol with V8 power.

All comers
In Richmond Autos class five for Super 1300 cars, Phil Finlay of Pukekohe is the first entry.

Wayne Rowe and Shane Campbell are the first entries in V-Dub Shoppe sponsored Challenger class, which is for cars with 1.6-litre VW flat four engines.

The 2010 Denny’s Woodhill 100 takes place at Queen’s Birthday Weekend, with scrutineering on Saturday June 5 at PinePac in Kumeu and the qualifying and the race itself happening on Sunday June 6. 

The new course has a total distance of 170 km and a lap distance of 28 km.  Top competitors are expected to complete a lap in 20 minutes.  The race starts in the forest north of Parakai and is signposted from Kumeu village northwest on State Highway 16, turning toward South Head at the Helensville-Parakai roundabout. 

Race headquarters is only two kilometres from the forest HQ, which is itself one km from the main road.  The qualifying sprint track is at the start-finish area, ensuring improved spectator viewing from 8.30 am onward.

Spectator admission is $10 per adult, children under 15 free.  A shuttle van will operate from the race headquarters throughout the event, taking spectators to vantage points in the forest for a gold coin donation.  As always, trackside food and drink will be available at the start-finish area at race HQ.


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