Knack of keeping your wits about you

Event 'one of the best ones ever'

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013
Wayne Buckthought
ANDY JACKSON/ Fairfax NZ
STEEP WORK: Wayne Buckthought handles his 4WD up a slope.

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Vertical hill climbs proved problematic for some competitors in Saturday's national 4X4 trials near Inglewood.

For the third year in a row the Mt Egmont 4WD club hosted the New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association trials at Durham Rd.

Mt Egmont 4WD club spokesman Reuben Mason said a crowd of about 1500 spectators turned out to watch 70 vehicles compete across five classes at the "Egmont Amped" round.

"There were droves of people out here," Mr Mason said.

Vehicle classes ranged from standard, roadworthy 4WDs to a top class featuring highly modified machines.

"It's not to do with speed, it's about agility on the track."

The course featured 30 hazards with competitors tackling 15 before lunch and 15 after.

"You've got to have your wits about you the whole day. It's mentally draining, there's no doubt about that," Mr Mason said.

Hazards included near vertical hill climbs, side-winding tracks and other technical obstacles. Conditions were not too muddy this year, he said.

It required a lot of commitment to get up and over the steep hill climbs.

"The odd one got it wrong and ended up rolling."

This was the fourth of six rounds in the national series which ran throughout the year, he said.

"As far as rallies go, it's probably one of the best ones ever held."

The Mt Egmont 4WD club organised the event, which ran well thanks to the club's 50 or so members pitching in, he said.

Big winners on the day were the Inglewood team of Bryce Hunger and David Smith of the Mt Egmont 4WD club.

Whakatane's Ron Sturne was second, Derrick Smythe of Palmerston North third and Mr Mason and his brother Shane Mason were fourth.

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