Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Here's the press release from the last round of the south Island nationals

Christchurch driver Wayne Moriarty has retaken control of the 2010 Asset Finance New Zealand Offroad Racing Championship with a dominant performance at the latest round.

Wayne Moriarty of Christchurch - Mainland Challange Winner

Competing in the most hotly contested class in the championship, Moriarty took his Euroblast Cougar Toyota Super 1600 single seater to wins in every heat on the first day of the Cruzin Limousines Mainland Challenge and followed that with victory in the following day's all-in 165 kilometre endurance race.

Moriarty defeated all challenges in Big Posters Super 1600 class heats at the short course racing held Saturday 19 June at the Rock FM Raceway at West Melton. Even the presence of one of the North Island’s top racers, Richard Crabb, did not phase the local racer.

Even the arrival in the South Island of one of the north’s fastest Super 1600 race cars proved no problem for the dominant Moriarty, whose car ran without problem the entire weekend. Nigel Sutherland has bought the Cougar Evo Toyota previously campaigned by Alan Butler in the North Island. The car, which has won both the Taupo 1000 and Woodhill 100, is rated among the top three Super 1600s in the north, but Sutherland was not able to translate that promise into results at the weekend.

Bruce Rolls, in the Chenowth Honda raced in past seasons by Moriarty’s former Super 1600 rival Dennis Andreassend, shared the short course podiums with Crabb and Sutherland, but none were able to challenge Moriarty.

33 cars entered this year’s event.

On the following day, the 22 cars remaining in the field tackled a 165 km endurance race at Swannanoa, near Oxford.
Moriarty qualified second behind the Cougar Evo VW of defending national champion Dennis Andreassend, with the fast and agile Barracuda odyssey-class car of Hamish Lawlor close behind in third.

Andreassend’s race lasted a handful of laps before the Cougar’s transmission jammed, letting Moriarty through and into a lead he never relinquished.
Behind him the tussle for second place was between Lawlor, whose diminutive Barracuda stayed with Moriarty through the opening phase of the race; former national champion Daniel Powell in his Jimco Nissan turbo; and Bruce Rolls.

Lawlor set the race fastest lap, 4.00 minutes for the 5.2 kilometre course; Moriarty set a 4:02.
Powell was finding the course did not suit the big Jimco – “it had way too many corners and not enough straights” was his summary of conditions – and was taking risks to close in on the leaders.

He had come up to third when Lawlor dropped out of second place, and was then second behind Moriarty when his car broke an oil fitting exiting a slow corner.
“It dumped ten litres of race oil into the bash plate in an instant. I shut it down, so hopefully we won’t have too much of an engine bill, but the DNF puts us out of the running for the championship which is disappointing.”

Behind them, and circulating steadily in an unfamiliar car, Clint Densem upheld local honours in Autoworld Richmond Super 1300 class and stayed in contention for top points.
In AFWE truck classes, the competition was most intense in production (class 2) and sport truck (class 4). In class 2, Steven Boyd pulled out a useful lead after earlier battling side by side with Ron Campbell. He pulled away and closed in on sport truck class leader Simon Smith, making his second appearance in his new Nissan Terrano V6.

In the sport truck class, Smith was holding off two fast Nelson drivers. Neighbours Paul Milne and Darrin Thomason were chasing the Terrano in their new-for-2010 trucks, Thomason in the 4.0-litre Nissan Navara he first brought out at the Nelson championship round and Milne in the Toyota Hilux formerly campaigned by Thomason.

Both struck mechanical problems and fell back, Thomason dropping out altogether and Milne completing enough laps to be classified a finisher and lead the class for the series.
The V-Dub Shoppe Challenger and Baja classes had attracted one entry each, as had AFWE class six and class eight. In the latter class, Dunedin’s Donald Preston had a nightmare weekend of breakages in his Lexus-powered Toyota Hilux V8, breaking the front differential and blowing front and rear driveshaft joints on both days of racing.

But Wayne Moriarty’s race weekend held no such dramas. In a testament to its immaculate presentation and the team’s careful preparation, the Cougar ran flawlessly all weekend. In the closing laps of the enduro he even had time to pit to check fuel levels without losing his lead. He was the only competitor to complete all 30 laps of the race; only 12 cars completed enough laps to be classed a finisher.

Moriarty is the first racer to have won more than one round of this year’s championship.
The points battle now intensifies. Moriarty has taken a 12 point lead in the championship over the North Island’s Malcolm Langley, 144 points to 132. Another North Island racer, Nick Hall, is third on 118. With the next round due to take place in the South Island, Moriarty stands to extend his lead further, and other South Island racers may step up into the top ten outright and into national class leads before the final round, held at Manukau’s Full Throttle weekend in October.

Mark Baker

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