Biggs & Walton First Repeat Winners for 2024 at Whakatane

Scott Biggs & Phil Walton scored their second win of the season by a narrow margin, ahead of Craig Potter & Mike Hill at Round 4 of the 2024 Lucas Oils NZ 4×4 Trials season!

The Whakatane Region returned to the calendar for the first time in three years, with this seasons event held in the Manawahe Hills. The infamous sandy soil proved tricky to some, as the unique terrain requires its own expertise!

Competitors were left to their skills and wisdom to master the terrain. Some trying different driving styles whilst others opting to use aggressive tyre’s similar to the Formula Off-Road Series in Iceland, which also takes place on volcanic soil.

D Class – Super Modified 5+ Cylinder

Biggs & Walton were trailing 70 points in the morning from defending champ Sam Thomsen & Caitlyn Thomsen, with Craig Potter & Mike Hill sitting 2nd at midday only 24 points back. The southern men Andy Canning & John Boylett were a strong 4th on 413 points despite a mishap in the speed section gaining 50 penalty points. Stand-in driver Reece McKie & Tom Baeriswyl were an impressive 5th in the new Nitro Customs LS7 buggy. Canning & Boylett would ultimately fall back to 12th, whilst Mckie & Baeriswyl would suffer engine dramas in the afternoon.

It was a tough day to be a Wairarapa entry – as they were the only DNF’s for D Class! Top 10 hopefuls Russell Hall & Glen Hall were out after just two stages in the morning. Former 3NZ Brent Ward & Mickey Ward could only do a further four till their front diff broke leaving them out for the day. Luke Donald & Braden Tagg would at least finish the morning, with mechanical dramas in the afternoon calling an end to their day.

Tomalin & Mickell would take their best placing in The Ninja

The afternoon would see Biggs & Walton storm back to the front with a score 50 points ahead of the also improved Ash Tonkin & Dyon Ross. Craig Potter & Mike Hill were two points further back to claim 3rd for the afternoon. Biggs & Walton’s resurgence saw them take the win by 9 points over Potter & Hill, who take their first podium since the final round last season where they were only six points from a maiden win! Thomsen & Thomsen would drop back to 3rd but continue their strong consistent points haul, carrying the title lead over the four rounds to date.

Tonkin & Ross finished 4th and currently sit 3rd outright for the season. Their strong performances to date putting them favourably for a #NZ position! Chris Tomalin & Stu Mickell had a stormer of a day to take their best ever result of 5th in The Ninja since debuting the Tomalin Engineering special in 2021. With a troublesome season to date, this result puts Tomalin & Mickell in the hunt for a Top 10 placing and a return to the Suzuki Extreme 4×4 Challenge.

Russell Luders & Neil Moratti return after a DNF at Round 1 and follow it up with 6th to make up for lost time! The new pairing were the only ones to complete Course 7 in the morning with some clever usage of the CowperTrucks 4-wheel-steering.

Seventh belonged to Chris Gifford & Shaun Joblin who continue their consistent string of Top 10 finishes in The Punisher. Ryan Bold & Brendan Austin would score their first Top 10 placing of the season after a difficult start facing mechanical problems. The Homebuilt buggy is one of two D-Class trucks to feature IFS, with Bold refining the suspension over the off-season.

Mitch Caldow & Jamie Elms were 9th as they keep within a shot of a National Placing. Phil Cameron & Todd Charman backed up their impressive showing at Turakina with another 10th placing – as their season comes alive with Cameron & Charman holding good form to make a return to the Top 10!

Dean Wells & Ben Harvey continue their David v Goliath battle with another superb 11th placing in the 3.0L V6 Homebuilt. Although yet to finish in the Top 10 for this season (and for the first time in 5 years!) their consistency sees them 11th outright just two points behind 10th.

C Class – Super Modified 0-4 Cylinder

Towers & Hadland

In C Class 402c Shayne Towers & Tony Hadland took their first class win of the season and first at home! The duo admitted to ‘plodding along’ during the day, battling an engine miss during the morning which saw them down on power. A replacement fuel filter solve the problem, with the team finishing 60 points clear of second.

Caleb Adlam & Jarrod Moss took 2nd once again as they cement their hold on the C Class title chase. With two wins and two 2nd place finishes, the team from Wellington now sit 7 points clear on top of the charts! In overall positions Adlam & Moss are the only C Class entry still in with a shot for a Top 10 placing, as they currently sit 13th Overall.

Debuting on the podium was former J Class champs Hayden McGill & Barry Williams. With a morning score leaving them mid-pack, the Wellington team pushed hard in the afternoon narrowly missing on the afternoon win by four points! This was more than enough to give them a 50-point buffer to Nathan Fogden & Mike Gibbons, taking 3rd in their second season in C Class.

The current 4NZ Fogden & Gibbons scored their first proper finish of the season that has been riddled with drama. The first round saw them only finish 75% of the day after their gearbox broke, followed by a return at Round 3 which bent their rear diff into a boomerang!

Further back in C Class saw Daniel Morris & James de Cleene battle with the head on their engine, as the head bolts on the turbo-diesel started to come loose. Last round winner Rhys O’Brien & Alex Cameron could only manage 3 sections in before the end of their day at home. Jon Bolton & Stu Earle were mid-pack in the morning in the ex-Fireman Homebuilt, before a fuel pump failure in the afternoon ruled them out for the day. David Doree & Helen Nicholls also had a short-lived day, retiring in the morning.

K Class – Modified 5+ Cylinder

Butcher & Cushing

Geoff Butcher & Sean Cushing were the sole entrants in K Class at the rally, enjoying a drama free day to finish ahead of two D Class trucks at the end! As the only K Class entry contesting the full season, Butch & Cushing only need one more finish to claim the K Class trophy for 2024!

The Top 10 so far…

The Top 10 for 2024 is starting to form with two to go, with the Top 15 all with a shot!

Over the last ten years, on average 453 points is the magic number that teams need to collect over the season to guarantee a place in the Top 10. This works out to be placing at least 10th at five rounds! With teams able to drop their worst round towards their points tally. This offers more incentive to fight hard early in the season knowing you’ve got one get-out-of-jail-free card!

In the top 3, Scott Biggs leads by a singular-point ahead of Sam Thomsen & Ash Tonkin on Best 3/4. On Best 4 however, Thomsen leads by a huge 7 points (7 places!) thanks to consistency during the season. What this means is that Thomsen could place lower than 4th at an event where Biggs or Tonkin would win, but equal the former on total points of 394.

For Biggs & Tonkin however, a placing lower than 12th or 8th respectfully at an event could see Mitch Caldow or Craig Potter leapfrog them if they took the win!

It would be too early to call, but 6th & 7th Place is looking safe for Chris Gifford/Shaun Joblin & Russell Hall/Glen Hall. Their points tally to date means they only have to finish at least 14th at the next two rounds, with their average score being at least 8th!

8th onwards is anyone’s guess, with the gaps between the teams around 2 points apart. However, the mountain to climb gets increasingly bigger the further back you are. Whilst Jarred Biggs/Fleche Crawford only have to finish at least 11th at the next two rounds, 10 points further back Chris Tomalin/Stu Mickell would need to score at least 6th at the final two rounds!

This season is still full of surprises, as the magic number could be 10 places lower at 443!

Standings after Round 4 (Best 3/4)

1st: Scott Biggs & Phil Walton

Nitro Custom

298 Points (387 out of 4)

Best Result: 1st

2nd: Sam Thomsen & Caitlyn Thomsen

Nitro Custom

297 Points (394 out of 4)

Best Result: 1st

3rd: Ash Tonkin & Dyon Ross

Nitro Custom

294 Points (387 out of 4)

Best Result: 2nd

4th: Mitch Caldow & Jamie Elms


289 Points (370 out of 4)

Best Result: 1st

5th: Craig Potter & Mike Hill

Nitro Custom

288 Points (374 out of 4)

Best Result: 2nd

6th: Chris Gifford & Shaun Joblin

Nitro Custom

285 Points (285 out of 4)

Best Result: 2nd

7th: Russell Hall & Glen Hall


280 Points (280 out of 4)

Best Result: 4th

8th: Jarred Biggs & Fleche Crawford

Nitro Custom

274 Points (359 out of 4)

Best Result: 3rd

9th: Wayne Buckthought & Paul Green


272 Points (350 out of 4)

Best Result: 5th

10th: Scott Dickson & Mike Thomsen


271 Points (355 out of 4)

Best Result: 9th

11th: Dean Wells & Ben Harvey


269 Points (269 out of 4)

Best Result: 11th

12th: Phil Cameron & Todd Charman

Nitro Custom

268 Points (354 out of 4)

Best Result: 10th

13th: Caleb Adlam & Jarrod Moss


266 Points (348 out of 4)

Best Result: 6th

14th: Chris Tomalin & Stu Mickell


264 Points (342 out of 4)

Best Result: 5th

15th: Andy Canning & John Boylett


263 Points (263 out of 4)

Best Result: 7th

16th: Shaun Nicholson & Mike Fergusson


260 Points (260 out of 4)

Best Result: 8th

NZ 4×4 Trials return to the King Country for the first time in ten years, with the penultimate round held in Te Kuiti. The event is not open to public; however the following round aims to bring all the thrills!

Mt Egmont hosts the National 4×4 Trials Final for 2024 on April 13th, near Eltham in South Taranaki.


The closest thing to a “Constructors Standings” of sorts in NZ 4×4 Trials, is the Biggs Family Cup introduced by Russell Biggs in 2018. With majority of championship winning Trials Trucks being Homebuilt and teams typically made up of one vehicle each – a typical constructor/teams trophy would not work.

Instead, the Biggs Family Cup sees the many 4WD Clubs across the country go head-to-head, with competitors choosing their club to represent!

The Biggs Family Cup is awarded to the Club with the highest amount of class points from their best three finishers. This means clubs with more entries in smaller classes like A & B, J & K are more likely to score high points with a 1st or a 3rd in class, compared to finishing 10th in C or D Class.

For example, last season saw the Bay of Plenty 4WD Club score maximum points over all six rounds for the first time in the Cup’s history! With the Zook-Sport 4WD Team fielding entries in A Class and E Class, Brinn Fogden & Cody Fogden were sole entrants in their respective classes taking 1st place and 100 points each. With Nathan Fogden & Mike Gibbons placing 1st or 2nd in C Class, the B.O.P. club members would outscore the other clubs with ease to take the trophy with a round to spare. For 2024 the B.O.P. powerhouse is no more, with only Nathan Fogden & Alastair Bevege representing the club.

This opens the door for a new winner, with the Wanganui 4WD Club a single point ahead of South Waikato & Counties!. Both clubs field a C Class entry, with the other results coming from D Class

The inaugural winners Wanganui 4WD Club lead for the first time since 2018. In the club John Hawken in C Class brings in consistent points, whilst Top 10 regulars Sam Thomsen & Scott Dickson represent the club in D Class.

In South Waikato, Rebekah Templeton & Glenn D’Ath bring in good points under C Class whilst Phil Cameron, Chris Gifford, Shaun Nicholson & Craig Potter share top D-Class duties.

Two-time winners Counties 4 Wheelers are in the mix with all their D-Class entries often in the Top 10. Shayne Towers is a recent addition to the club, helping bring Counties right into the mix with a win in C Class.

Rhys O’Brien & David Doree bring in the golden C Class points for EBTDC, with Jamie Larsen, Wayne Weatherly & Gary West performing well in D Class.

In 5th Off-Road Wairarapa perform well making the most of the two K Class entries of Geoff Butcher & John Sheridan whilst Scott Donald & Luke Donald grab the 3rd lot of points in D Class.

Mt Egmont and the remaining clubs in this Top 10 only have two representatives, preventing a full points haul.