Potter & Hill take Maiden Win at Te Kuiti by Closest Ever Finish!

The penultimate round of the Lucas Oil NZ 4×4 Trials Series came down to just 1.5 points as Craig Potter & Mike Hill took their maiden win ahead of Jarred Biggs & Fleche Crawford at Te Kuiti.

It was a wet one! The day started out with torrential downpours which lasted the morning, leaving the course a slip-n-slide! The weather eased for the afternoon creating similar conditions to Turakina which saw the first wet rally. The second wet rally of the season was hosted by the South Waikato 4WD Club in Te Kuiti. It was the first rally in the King Country for 16 years since Taupo 4WD Club hosted Round 3 of the 2008 season in Piopio. Whilst Dan Cowper, Andrew Graham & Warwick Dahlberg would not be present to defend their podium positions, some new faces would make up the rostrum.

D Class – Super Modified 5+ Cylinder

Potter & Hill started the day strong although very very tight leading J. Biggs & Crawford by one singular point! Sam Thomsen & Caitlyn Thomsen were 20 points further back in 3rd. Chris Gifford & super-sub Cody Fogden were just four points back in 4th, impressive considering the team had numerous engine issues the day before and ultimately had to manage the problem throughout the day! The next three places were split over 1.3 points as Phil Cameron & Todd Charman lead the way ahead of Brent Ward & Michael Ward and Scott Biggs & Phil Walton.

3NZ Neal Turner & Wade Alexander returned with a new Powerglide transmission in their CowperTruck, after breaking the Toyota Windom box at Round 1 putting an early end to their season. Their luck is still yet to return, as they were the only DNF for D Class with electrical issues putting them to an end just another six courses into the day!

Dickson & M. Thomsen scored their best ever result with third, putting them well into Top 10 contention.

The afternoon saw Scott Dickson & Michael Thomsen come back through to take it by storm, leading the way with 140 points to take their first ever podium with third! The team from Whanganui would ultimately be 70 points back from the leaders, Potter & Hill would finish 0.5 points ahead of J. Biggs & Crawford in the afternoon to take their first win in the NZ 4×4 Trials Series. A relief after losing out on some of the closest finishes the sport has seen; From 6 points behind at the 2023 National Final and 9 points behind from a win at the previous round! It also marks the first win for one of the A Class alumnus since fellow Suzuki Vitara driver Rowan Huckstep took his first win at the 2015 National Final.

Phil Cameron & Todd Charman took fourth place and the Cameron’s best ever finish, as one of the sports oldest competitors still has a trick or two up his sleeve! Last round winners S. Biggs & Walton were behind in 5th, however with S. Thomsen & C. Thomsen finishing 9th the two teams now sit on equal points at the top heading to the final round.

Brent Ward & Mickey Ward took 6th in a well-deserved place after suffering numerous issues through the season. Gifford & Fogden would place 7th and continue their consistent string of Top 10 placings. Mitch Caldow & Jamie Elms took 8th.

Coming in 10th was Luke Donald & Braden Tagg, taking their first ever Top 10 finish in the ex 222 Racing CowperTruck. It marks a return of luck after DNF’ing at the previous round. Donald is also one of the youngest debutants in the Top 10 at just 18 years of age!

C Class – Super Modified 0-4 Cylinder

Adlam & Moss on their way to seal the C Class title with a round to spare.

Caleb Adlam & Jarrod Moss took out the win in C Class and with it the C Class title for 2024! The team from Wellington have been in a league of their own for the season, with consistent scores putting them well out of reach from the rest of the field. With a 14th overall finish on the day, they still stay within shot of a Top 10 placing at the end of the season.

John Hawken & Haare O’Brien finished second in class on the day and will take out a Top-3 position for C Class at seasons end. Last round winner Shayne Towers & Tony Hadland took 3rd and are the only other challengers for 2nd outright in C Class.

4NZ Fogden & Gibbons finished another 4th place after enduring electrical issues during the day. Glenn D’Ath & Danielle D’Ath finished a fine 5th place in what is the least powerful vehicle in the whole field, running an 80hp Nissan K12 1200cc!

Rhys O’Brien & Clarrie Vazey finished the round to take 6th, so did Jon Bolton & Stu Earle who also recovered from a DNF at Round 4 to take 7th. Rebekah Templeton & Zak de Crom placed 8th whilst Hayden McGill & Barry Williams rounded up the field in 9th after issues with wheel brakes and lockers.

K Class – Modified 5+ Cylinder

Geoff Butcher & Sean Cushing suffered mechanical issues on the day, with an incorrect gasket on their gearbox causing them to DNF. Nevertheless, as the only K Class truck to complete three rounds this season, they take out K Class honours for 2024! With a rather underwhelming way to win a Class title, the duo from the Wairarapa will aim to beat fellow club members & class mates John Sheridan & Matt Wilson at the National Final.

The Top 10 so far…

Six teams are guaranteed to be in the Top 10 for 2024, with the last four positions up for grabs!

Scott Biggs & Phil Walton now lead the way although tied on 394 points with defending champs Sam Thomsen & Caitlyn Thomsen. Over all five rounds to date Thomsen & Thomsen have a three-point advantage which means they must finish within two placings of Biggs & Walton at the National Final in order to stay ahead.

Craig Potter & Mike Hill with their win have jumped up to third and only six points behind. After only completing 4/6 rounds last season the South Waikato team are now locked in with a Top 10 finish. For them to win the title they must finish at least second at the National Final, with Biggs & Walton and S. Thomsen & C. Thomsen placing no better than 8th.

Ash Tonkin & Dyon Ross sit fourth and also with a secured spot in the Top 10. They too have a mathematical chance at 1NZ, requiring them to take the win and current Top 3 not improving on their worst score over the season! Currently sitting one point behind Potter & Hill, a chance at 3NZ looks likely, but not without some competition!

5th place Mitch Caldow & Jamie Elms and 6th place Chris Gifford & Shaun Joblin are within a shot of 3NZ in their first season of new-to-them trucks. For Caldow & Elms, they must finish at least 8th and six places ahead (e.g. 1st with Potter & Hill and Tonkin & Ross lower than 7th). For Gifford & Joblin, they must finish at least 6th and nine places ahead.

Jarred Biggs & Fleche Crawford in their new radical Nitro Custom are the last team with a safe spot in the Top 10. They sit at 458 points over five rounds and clear of those in 11th onwards with a best score of 455. Scott Dickson & Michael Thomsen are almost within the 455-point magic number, as they currently have 453 points over five rounds. Only a podium finish by Dean Wells & Ben Harvey would put them at risk.

In 9th is Russell Hall & Glen Hall in the ex-Hijinx CowperTruck, who only need a 13th place finish to stay in the Top 10, with their lowest scores both being 13th place. Phil Cameron & Todd Charman’s superb 4th place have bumped them up into the Top 10 on 365 points over four rounds, which based off their current run together makes a return to the Top 10 for the first time since 2021 increasingly likely!

A whole 10 points/10 places further back are the challengers looking for an opportunity to sneak in! Dean Wells & Ben Harvey lead the pack with an underdog performance keeping them in the hunt. With a previous best of 13th overall in 2018, the new combination for 2024 need a podium (something Wells has done before!) and a bit of luck to fight their way into the Top 10. The same can be said for Caleb Adlam & Jarrod Moss in the leading C Class truck and Wayne Buckthought & Paul Green. The two teams would benefit from some hard luck for Chris Gifford and Russell Hall, as a second DNF for either would see them out of the running. As long as Gifford and Russell finish roughly halfway through the field at the Final, their positions will be safe such is their points advantage.

Standings after Round 5 (Best 4/5)

1st: Scott Biggs & Phil Walton

Nitro Custom

394 Points (483 out of 5)

Best Result: 1st

2nd: Sam Thomsen & Caitlyn Thomsen

Nitro Custom

394 Points (486 out of 5)

Best Result: 1st

3rd: Craig Potter & Mike Hill

Nitro Custom

388 Points (474 out of 5)

Best Result: 1st

4th: Ash Tonkin & Dyon Ross

Nitro Custom

387 Points (472 out of 5)

Best Result: 2nd

5th: Mitch Caldow & Jamie Elms


382 Points (463 out of 5)

Best Result: 1st

6th: Chris Gifford & Shaun Joblin

Nitro Custom

379 Points (379 out of 5)

Best Result: 2nd

7th: Jarred Biggs & Fleche Crawford

Nitro Custom

373 Points (458 out of 5)

Best Result: 2nd

8th: Scott Dickson & Michael Thomsen


369 Points (453 out of 5)

Best Result: 3rd

9th: Russell Hall & Glen Hall


368 Points (368 out of 5)

Best Result: 4th

10th: Phil Cameron & Todd Charman

Nitro Custom

365 Points (451 out of 5)

Best Result: 4th

11th: Dean Wells & Ben Harvey


355 Points (355 out of 5)

Best Result: 11th

12th: Caleb Adlam & Jarrod Moss


353 Points (435 out of 5)

Best Result: 6th

13th: Wayne Buckthought & Paul Green


350 Points (428 out of 5)

Best Result: 5th

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


As explained last month, The Biggs Family Cup is the closest thing to a “Constructors Standings” of sorts in NZ 4×4 Trials.

The 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.

With Potter & Hill taking the win, Cameron & Charman in 4th and D’Ath & D’Ath with 6th: the South Waikato 4WD Club took 293/300 points to take the win and the lead at their home round! This gives them 100 points towards the end of season tally.

Counties 4 Wheelers were equal on 293/300 points, losing the win on countback as J. Biggs & Crawford, Towers & Hadland and S. Biggs & Walton did not score a class win.

Wanganui 4WD Club fell from 1st to 3rd, as Hawken & O’Brien, Dickson & M. Thomsen and S. Thomsen & C. Thomsen accumulated 289/300 points to take third place.

This leaves us with an interesting battle for the final round, with the three clubs separated by just one point! Each of the three clubs also has a club member chasing 1NZ, and if they fall short due to a DNF then South Waikato with its strong C Class field look set to pick up the pieces.