Bold & Austin Take Shock Win at Abridged National Final!

If the last round wasn’t close enough, The National 4×4 Final of the 2023/2024 Lucas Oil NZ 4×4 Trials Series produced one of the most interesting finales yet!

Event Results

Mt Egmont 4WD Club hosted the National 4×4 Final near Eltham, returning to the site which hosted the 2018/2019 Final. Leading up to the event, the rally site felt the brunt of the wet weather bomb moving up the country. Come Saturday the weather was in two minds, as miserable winds and rain would come in waves with mare glimpses of the sun in-between!

With the already soggy ground now chopped and turned with 40+ Trials Trucks competing in the rain, the access tracks between courses became more akin to a mud slide by the end of the morning! Come early afternoon, the difficult decision was made to pull all the afternoon stages to end the day, as the access tracks posed a safety risk in case of an emergency situation.

As such for the first time in the sports 49-year history, the day was taken from the morning scores. Producing some interesting results!

D Class – Super Modified 5+ Cylinder

Ryan Bold & Brendan Austin were faultless in the morning, taking their first win by the now closest ever margin of 1.27 points in their Homebuilt Trials Truck! Their significant achievement comes with some firsts and updated stats:

  • Ryan Bold’s first win as a driver in 19 years since debuting in 2005, First win in 15 years since navigating for Layne Jones at Round 3 in 2009
  • Brendan Austin’s first win since Round 3 2020 alongside Phil Walton
  • The first Homebuilt win in 9 years since Scott Biggs & Steve Kitchener’s success at Round 3 2015
  • On the topic of 3’s, the third Top 10 for the Bold Built
  • First win in 16 years for an IFS (Independant Front Suspension) buggy since Terry de Grauuw at the Deadwood Safari in 2008

In season marred by reliability issues, the result bumps Bold & Austin to 15th Overall for the year.

The Top 4 positions came down to the sole timed section on the day. Chris Gifford & Shan Joblin claimed 2nd and their 2nd podium of the season with their new Nitro Custom. The result good enough to see them claim 6NZ for the season! 0.02 points back in 3rd was returnee Reuben Mason & Paul Chapman in the Biggs-Howat! After sitting the whole season off, the former 2022 7NZ was still sharp as ever with an impressive result with no room for error on the day.

Reuben Mason & Paul Chapman in The Hurricane took third on their return!

Half a second behind the podium finishers was Mitch Caldow & Jamie Elms in the leading Cowper Truck, their result enough to beat Gifford & Joblin by 1 point to 5NZ for the season.

Scott Biggs & Phil Walton were 6th place, but more importantly ahead of title rivals on equal points Sam Thomsen & Caitlyn Thomsen who were 11th! The result meant Biggs & Walton finished 4 points ahead at seasons end to win their 4th National Title in the NZ 4×4 Trials Series, more on that later!

Brent Ward & Mickey Ward took 6th place once more with their LSA powered Homebuilt, the team on strong form in the later half of the season after battling mechanical issues at the start.

Ash Tonkin & Dyon Ross were in the battle for 3NZ against last round winners Craig Potter & Mike Hill. With the intra Nitro battle going down to the wire, Tonkin & Ross took 7th and ahead of Potter & Hill to equalise them on 481 points! With the points now on countback, Potter & Hills win saw them win the fight and claim 3NZ for the 2024 Season.

In 9th place was Russell Hall & Glen Hall with their 3rd Top 10 finish of the season. Their result was good enough to claim 7NZ for the year in their second full season! Having just missed out the year before coming in 12th place.

Rounding out the Top 10 at Round 6 was Shaun Nicholson & Mike Fergusson who finished the season the same way it started! Since taking 9th at Round 1, the team from the Waikato have been up-and-down with a few summersaults in-between in their first season in Barry. With a DNF at Turakina with a major rollover, the team have claimed a respectful 14th overall at seasons end.

C Class – Super Modified 0-4 Cylinder

Nathan Fogden & Cody Fogden took their first win of the season

Nathan Fogden & Cody Fogden took their first C Class win of the season and finished 18th overall on the day. With the Zook-Sport team only completing four rounds this season due to mechanical dramas, they were out of the running to compete for the class title and another Top 10 finish.

Shayne Towers & Tony Hadland took 2nd in class and 3rd in C Class outright for 2024. It marks a strong finish in a challenging year for the Whakatane based team who finished Top 10 last season, with power steering issues persisting throughout half the year. Like Fogden & Gibbons, the two will regroup over the off season for another attack in 2025!

In third place was Rhys O’Brien & Clarrie Vazey taking their third podium of the season to sit 4th in C Class outright with their K24 powered buggy.

Former C Class champ John Hawken & Haare O’Brien finished 4th on the day and claimed 2nd outright in C Class, their best result since returning in 2021!

Rebekah Templeton & Jenni Templeton were 5th & 5th on the day and for the season. Newly crowned C Class champs Caleb Adlam & Jarrod Moss took their lowest placing of the season in 6th, but with only their best 5/6 rounds counting towards points the result made no difference to their end of season score. Taking the C Class title, Malcolm McLeavey Memorial Trophy for 1st C Class in Central Zone and 11th overall for the 2023/2024 season, in what is an “old skool” Trials Truck built on a Suzuki chassis!

K Class – Modified 5+ Cylinder

Geoff Butcher & Sean Cushing in Danger Mouse

In K Class Geoff Butcher & Sean Cushing finally had a day free of dramas, as they stormed through to win by 140 points over John Sheridan & Matt Wilson! Their score was good enough to finish ahead of six Super-Mods. Sheridan & Wilson also had a drama free day to finish without serious breakages, after a DNF at their last round in Turakina. Local team Graeme Goble & Brody Thomason rounded up the field in 3rd in their Homebuilt V6.

The Top 3 at Round 6!

Reuben Mason, Ryan Bold & Chris GIfford

Photo’s courtesy of Kirstie’s Creative, Sam Bolton Photography and TJW Photos.

The first round of the 2024/2025 Lucas Oil NZ 4×4 Trials Series begins early November, with Hawkes Bay 4WD Club kicking off the season!


Leading into the National 4×4 Final was a near three-way-tie between South Waikato 4WD Club, Wanganui & Counties 4 Wheelers with only 1 point in it!

However, the Mt Egmont 4WD Club would throw a spanner in the works with a strong home turnout. Club regular Graeme Goble & Brody Thomason would enter K Class and finish 3rd in class to bring in 98 points. Reuben Mason & Paul Chapman’s 3rd position in D Class would also bring 98 points, with Mitch Caldow & Jamie Elms’ 4th placing in D Class and 97 points would give Mt Egmont a total of 293/300 points!

South Waikato with their one-point advantage over the others would take the 2nd spot with 287 points, along with the Biggs Family Cup for 2024. Counties would take 3rd on the day ahead of Off-Road Wairarapa, with Wanganui 4WD Club finishing 5th.

The end result would see the South Waikato 4WD Club win the Biggs Family Cup for the first time, ahead of Counties 4 Wheelers by 2 points with Wanganui a further point back in third.