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Media Release - BEN THOMASEN IS NZ 1 for 2017


Polaris Champs-Small

His rivals made him work hard for it – but Tauranga’s Ben Thomasen has ‘done the double’, winning the punishing Polaris NZ 1000 in September and now the 2017 Polaris New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship.
“I didn’t really expect to be in the fight for the championship this year because it’s been such a tough championship and across the S class field the level of competition has increased hugely,” said the factory-backed Polaris racer.
The final round of the championship was held over two days in Nelson, with short course (stadium-style) heats on Saturday and a 225 km enduro on Sunday.
Thomasen said as the modified UTVs become more popular, they are drawing more and more fast drivers into offroad racing, making outright titles hard and harder to secure.
“Added to that there were massive fields in U class and the unlimited race car and truck classes,” he said.

The year-long championship battle came down to the UTV classes, but the weekend was a duel between Thomasen and Manukau racer Tony McCall. The pair scored equal points in Saturday’s spectacular short course racing with three second placings and a win each; Christchurch racer Daniel Powell taking top points in McCall’s class with local driver Greg Winn third and Joel Giddy ahead of Thomasen in JG Civil S class with Nathan Moore third.
The close result meant the title would be decided the following day’s 225 km farm/forest endurance race.

Grid positions for the enduro were decided by fastest laps set by each competitor. McCall had set a 47.745 sec lap (fastest of the day) to take pole, Powell alongside him on 48.354. Thomasen and Giddy were P3 and P4, separated by fractions of a second: 48.408 and 48.440 respectively. Because of the dry dusty conditions, the field were started in groups.
McCall had the upper hand in the early running, his pole start giving him clear air. He tangle briefly with Powell, the clash spinning the latter wide as McCall left the start-finish compound for the one kilometre straightline drag into the forest.

Ben Thomasen had meanwhile started P4 in his Polaris RZR 1000 XP and soon got past Giddy’s Yamaha despite the thick dust clouds now cloaking the course.
McCall was revelling in the challenge, powering up the steep firebreaks and along the ridgeline roads in the forest. His opening lap of the 15 km course took just 13 minutes.
After that first lap, the Manukau driver was lapping backmarkers in the field.

At middle distance Thomasen began to mount his fightback, drawing closer and closer to the flying BSL Chev of McCall. He was aided in his chase when McCall’s car developed a sticking rear brake.
The dust and traffic had added 30 seconds to McCall’s lap times, but Thomasen said he was having to push harder and harder to close in on the leader.
Crashes were the order of the day across all classes. On the second lap, Tyler Castle had a lucky escape when he crashed his class five car in a fast section of the forest, coming to rest upside down alongside a water pond. Taine Carrington in another class five followed him in on lap four, both cars stranded there for the remainder of the race.

Also on lap four, and just a few hundred metres before the pair, 4WD Bits class 8 front runner Bryan Chang flipped the GT Radial Tyres Ford Falcon.
“I was following something – couldn’t see what sort of car, just its tail-lights – and completely lost sight of the road. Next thing I know I’m up and bank and upside down!”
Similarly unsighted, 4WD Bits class six points leader Warren Adams had smashed into a tree on lap two in his V8 Nissan Safari, the uncharacteristic crash destroying the truck’s bullbar, puncturing a tyre and peeling the truck’s left front guard back.

Out the front of the field, McCall was putting in a masterclass display, even posting fastest lap late on the race.
On the same lap Wayne Moriarty overshot the turn-off back into the start-finish area and crashed deep into a stand of broom and gorse lining the road. Three more cars would follow him, spearing off up the escape road, before the Christchurch driver and his car could be extricated and resume racing.

McCall took the chequered flag in fine form, well clear of Thomasen in second place and John Morgan – winner of this year’s Woodhill 100 race – third.
Powell, second in unlimited class, had lost a lot of time in the opening laps but then fought back to finish sixth.
McCall set the course lap record, a 12:02.146. He finished the weekend with top points, 138 to Thomasen’s 136, but his points deficit going into the weekend meant he could not overcome Thomasen’s strong season-long race form. In the championship, Thomasen headed a UTV 1-2-3 finish.


2017classIssued on behalf of the Off Road Association of New Zealand by Veritas Communications. For more information contact:

Mark Baker, media and sponsorship manager, Phone 021 2120607,


2018 Thomsons ITM Counties Classic Series
Round 3 (the final) of the 2018 Thomsons ITM Counties Classic Series is NEXT WEEKEND on Saturday 17 Feb 2018. There are less than 10 points separating the Top 5 so it all comes down to this round.
In the Junior Series, its a two-way battle for the win between Andre England and Brooklyn Horan.
At the conclusion of the days racing, we will be all heading to the Weymouth Cosmopolitan Club for PRIZEGIVING where we will crown new Series Champions. Entries Available here.
The final round can also serve as the ideal testing day for those planning on racing the first round of the NI Nationals Series on 11 March 2018 in Taranaki.
CMORC have arranged a quality sound testing machine to be undertake the standard ORANZ exhaust noise sound test at the track as part of scrutineering - more detail to come on this.
So get those buggies and trucks ready to race!
2018 Thomsons ITM Counties Classic Series
Results! Round 2 of the 2018 Thomsons ITM Counties Classic Series was a blast!!! Thanks to all our volunteers and competitors. Check out the latest standings here.
Media Release - Experience brings top result for racer Moriarty

Christchurch’s Wayne Moriarty, one of the fastest and most experienced offroad racers in New Zealand, has once more scooped the Mainland Challenge trophy.

Moriarty took a clean sweep of the first day’s short course (stadium) racing at the Canterbury club’s purpose-built West Melton track.

Driving his Alumicraft Toyota single seater he bested the times of many more powerful unlimited class cars to line up P3 on the grid for Sunday’s enduro, and chased pole man Jacob Brownlees and P2 Daniel Powell into the rock-strewn forest course of the 200 km endurance race the following day.

Powell, grappling with engine concerns, settled into second place behind the flying Brownlees while Moriarty had a rock smashed his power steering and had to pit for repairs.

A late race stop for fuel put Powell at a disadvantage and he too was on the comeback trail, carving through the field aiming to chase down Moriarty and gain sight of the rear of Brownlees’ car. The leader had gone without a fuel stop, banking on his car’s ability to run 200 km on one fill.

In the end there were not enough laps for Powell to close the gap. Brownlees swept to a well-deserved win with 10 mm of fuel swishing around the base of his fuel tank – an improvement on the previous year when he ran out of fuel crossing the finish line.

Wayne Moriarty put in the fastest lap of the race, a 15:44.706 on lap six of ten.

Running in second place for the later stages of the race, Moriarty found himself nursing a crippled car after the rocky surface eliminated first his front and then rear brakes, leaving him only with the car’s ‘cutting’ brakes as he held on to third overall.

The effort was worthwhile, the Euroblast car finishing just 1:35 behind the more powerful car of Brownlees and 34 seconds ahead of a charging Powell. Brownlees also won the unlimited class and Moriarty took out HasTrak class three.

Fourth overall after a determined drive was Paul Preston, who won 4WD Bits class 8 in his V8 four wheel drive Toyota Hilux. Bryan Chang, who led the class after the first round, had his GT Radial Ford Falcon ute cut out deep in the forest but had completed enough laps to be classified a finisher and continues to lead 4WD Bits class 8.

Dunedin’s Dave Ballantyne won 4WD Bits class 4 in his Nissan Terrano after fellow Otago racer Wayne Wilson went out of the enduro.

In Class 5 for cars with engines up to 1350 cc, Christchurch’s Clint Densem scored a clean sweep of the class heats but was hit from behind on the opening lap of the enduro, delayed with a damaged front suspension and brakes. He finished 10th overall for the weekend and continues to lead class 5.

Daniel Rusbatch put in a storming drive over the two days to win class seven for cars with 1.2-litre VW engines or 1.0-litre water cooled engines. He climbed from 20th to 11th in the enduro, completing eight of a possible ten laps.

HasTrak Challenger class for cars with 1.6-litre VW engines was won convincingly by Andrew Knight.

In the sport’s ‘new wave’ – the side by side or UTV classes, there were standout drives from Roger McKay in U class for the more standard vehicles and from Bob Uttridge in the more modified JG Civil S class. Roger McKay finished fifth overall, just ahead and thus ahead of all the S class entries. Rosco Gaudin, the other U class entry, did not finish the distance in the enduro but was classified 22nd and with three second places on the first day is still handily placed in the championship.

The 2017 Mainland Challenge was the fourth round of the Polaris New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship in association with HasTrak. Round five brings the championship back to Christchurch in early August.


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