Sam Thomsen & Mitchell Caldow are the newly crowned winners of the Lucas Oil NZ 4×4 Trials Series, after a dominating performance at the Darby & Helm Counties 4×4 Trial held in Ohinewai.
The Counties 4 Wheelers Club hosted the penultimate round of the season near Huntly, with the dry & dusty conditions catching many competitors out. Whilst the dry terrain provided excellent traction it also presented a risk, with any mistake punished by the concrete-like ground.
Five time national champ’ Dan Cowper made his first appearance since winning C-Class at Counties in 2020, driving the ex Hamish Auret LS7 Cowper Truck on loan from current owner NZ2 Jetsprinter Scott Donald. The day was short lived, with Cowper and navigator Luke Donald rolling over backwards on Course 13, their second of the day, resulting in irreparable damage leaving them out of the competition.
A further eight teams would find themselves out before midday, including NZ2 Jarred Biggs & Fleche Crawford who suffered from engine issues putting them out of contention for the season.
Sam Thomsen & Mitchell Caldow put in an impressive display throughout the day, taking the lead in the morning and afternoon to finish 130 points clear of Stuart & Liam Earle, followed by Reuben & Shane Mason. With the teams best four-out-of-six rounds going towards end of year placings, Thomsen & Caldow’s consistency was enough to clinch the title with a round to spare, after a strong season where they finished no lower than 3rd!
The fight for the remaining podium spots are wide open, with Stuart Earle, Kevin Hermansen & Neville Mather in contention for NZ2 and Dave Mckie, Reuben Mason & Scott Biggs in with a chance of NZ3.
Nathan Fogden & first time navigator Brinn Fogden took out C-Class and finished a strong 5th overall, the class win their 4th of the season giving the Zook-Sport crew their third C-Class title in four years. Rhys O’Brien & Clarrie Vazey finished 2nd and 10th overall followed by Rebekah & Jenni Templeton.
With Counties hosting the final Northern Zone round this season, the fight was on for the Acker Bilt Cup which is awarded to the 1st overall Northern Zone competitor out of the Northern Zone events. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown affecting those in the Auckland & Waikato regions late last year, only a teams best 2/3 scores would go towards a final placing.
Neville Mather & Richard Verner edged out Nathan Fogden & co to the Cup by a point, closely followed by Scott Biggs & Jamie Taylor. Both Mather & Biggs were affected by the lockdown that took place during the first round in Whakatane, but returned strong at Waikato where they finished 1st and 2nd respectfully before following it up with 3rd & 4th at Counties.
In E Class Archie Griffin & Bradley Laird kept it together to win for the first time since Whakatane in 2008, beating Cody Fogden & Jacob Muir in the morning. Fogden & Muir suffered a woeful day, rolling during the morning breaking an engine mount before parking up in the afternoon.
Brent & Michael Ward scored their 4th win of the season in K Class, taking out class honours for the 5th year straight. Daniel Whiting & Willow Eayrs finished a distance 2nd.
The National Final for the 2021-2022 Lucas Oil NZ 4×4 Trials Series takes place on April 9th in Putaruru, with the South Waikato 4WD Club hosting the Battery Town National Four Wheel Drive Trial.