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Ernie Hogg & Graeme Sandford Win Twizel 250 Enduro in the General

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TV COVERAGE FOR TAUPO 1000 – TV3 CRC Motorsport Show 2:30pm Sunday 12 January 2014

Taupo1000onTV3TV COVERAGE FOR TAUPO 1000 – TV3 CRC Motorsport Show 2:30pm Sunday 12 January 2014


James Buchanan is congratulated by 5 time winner, Tony McCall on his historic second victory. ©Mark Baker (all rights reserved)

James Buchanan is congratulated by 5 time winner, Tony McCall on his historic second victory. ©Mark Baker (all rights reserved)

04 Jun 2013
By Veritas Communications
He outlasted the fancied big-bangers in front of him, slotted his Bu-Mac Cougar Suzuki cleanly past the UTV-class cars that set the top qualifying times, survived a mid-race puncture and the loss of all but two gears – and James Buchanan has made history, becoming the first class three racer to win back to back titles at the 2013 Stihl Shop Woodhill 100.
Blown engines, flat tyres, smashed cars: the annual Woodhill 100 delivered its customary trail of destruction on Sunday 2 June.
The qualifying sprints on the previous afternoon set the tone for the day with favoured racers including Tony McCall (BSL Terra Chev) and Raana Horan (Nissan Titan 6.0 V8) spinning out of contention and Jono Climo hitting a silage bale with his all-new Kumho Toyota Hilux V8 truck.
Fastest time in qualifying fell to Tauranga’s Ben Thomasen in one of the new UTV-class Polaris race cars, ahead of Whakatane’s Clive Thornton in his Desert Dynamics Chev two-seater, with Michael Small in another UTV third and Alan Butler fourth in his Chenowth Millennium single-seater.
When the green flag dropped, though, Thornton was left behind by Thomasen’s Polaris and Michael Small surged through to hold second, leaving Thornton to chase down the agile UTV-class cars and defend his third placing from a charging Alan Butler. Five kilometres into the lap Thornton saw his chance as the course opened out and swept past Small, then set about chasing down the leader. Thomasen had got a break on the field but the big Desert Dynamics car was chasing him down and soon Thornton grabbed the lead. Not long after, disaster struck – the big car’s Chev V8 dropped off peak revs and began to splutter to a stop, eventually coasting to a halt one checkpoint short of a full lap. Thornton said his son Max told him there was ‘quite a lot of oil and some big bits of piston’ sitting against the spark arrestor on the car’s muffler – testament to mechanical mayhem inside the big 6.0-litre Chev V8.

That brought the UTVs back into contention, more so as Alan Butler also went out with a chronic and worsening misfire. Thomasen held the lead, Small behind him untilhe was hit by Mal Langley and had to pit with a flat rear tyre.
The first-lap attrition was significant – 20 cars and trucks went out before they had completed that first 28 km. Some of those would return to the race, but the running tally as the race went on edged relentlessly down from the entry list of 60 toward the final 20 that would complete the event.
Behind the leaders, two former Woodhill champions were on the attack. Five-times champion Tony McCall was on a charge up from a mid-20s start, reaching as high as third place in a handful of laps.
Likewise Paremoremo’s Raana Horan, starting off 33 after his spin in qualifying, was edging up into the top 10. His strong run was slowed when Jono Climo hit Andrew Gate from behind in rough going, Horan’s big Nissan ploughing into the back of Climo’s Toyota. With his bonnet flapping loose, Horan was forced to stop at a marshal point to get the offending fibreglass section ripped clear. Then on the second lap, the alternator/water pump belt flew off, ending his charge.
By this time James Buchanan, who had started from fifth on the grid, had gone past the big unlimited-class cars, avoided the UTV of Michael Small when it was hit by Malcolm Langley’s unlimited-class car, and closed in on Ben Thomasen. With the UTV only able to complete two or three laps on their limited fuel tanks, Thomasen could not hope to hold out last year’s champion, and Buchanan forged through to lead.
Just when he thought he was clear of the pack, though, Buchanan’s Cougar suffered a right rear flat tyre, forcing him to make a pit stop. An anxious few minutes passed while the change was made, and the car was out in the pit exit when Thomasen went past, Buchanan exiting in second place and racing off into the forest, determined to win back his lead. The next lap saw Buchanan back in front of Thomasen and in control as Thomasen pitted for fuel.
With less than 100 km completed, the race had lost four former champions – Butler, Thornton and Horan were joined on lap three by six-times winner Ian Foster, who hit a tree in rough going, and then by five-times winner Tony McCall, who had carved through to second overall and was lining up to take the lead from James Buchanan until the BSL Terra Chev destroyed a driveshaft constant velocity joint.
The battle for the lead developed into a champions’ duel, with Thomasen falling back and Hikurangi driver Clim Lammers (who won the race in 2003) working his way up the field toward the flying Buchanan. Lammers was six minutes behind Buchanan when he was slowed by a collision with a deer that bent his steering and suspension out of alignment.
Behind him, Melvin Rouse of Whangarei was also closing in until he suffered a flat tyre several kilometres from the pits and was forced to make a frustratingly slow trip back through the rutted sand tracks to change his tyre.
Hamilton racer Paul Smith was also quietly positioning himself to take a shot at the leader, and emerged as a strong third when Rouse’s car pitted.
He in turn was slowed in the final laps when the roll cage on his car fractured. Smith continued one at reduced pace to make sure of a finish.
So with drama behind him at every corner, Buchanan could have been forgiven for thinking he could manage the race from the front – until his car’s transmission began to fail. Eventually, he was left with only first and third gears, and nursed the car home the final four laps with little ability to extend his lead if Lammers or Smith and been able to force the issue.
Now in its 34th year, the Woodhill 100 is the oldest event in New Zealand offroad racing. It is the toughest one-day enduro in the sport in this country, and is the longest continually-running endurance race of any type in New Zealand motorsport. A field of 60 competitors entered this year’s race; twenty were classified as finishers and only four completed the full 252 km race distance.