The Counites Classic Series for 2024 wrapped up at Colin Dale Park in perfect weather and perfect track conditions.

The racing was close in the Junior ranks with the pressure taking out the hot favourite #M58 Tanner Willetts in Hairpin 1 during Heat 2. The wild ride resulted in damage that couldn’t be made good by his team in the Pits. With his retirement, the KiwiModified field took to the track for the rest of the racing with real determination. #M58 Luke Rowberry drove the ProTune-sponsored ride to the lead. Gaining maximum points for the third Counties Classic event in a row.

Tanner’s younger brother, #J34 Bryn Willetts has driven excellently all season, but at this race, Taranaki racer #Jack Rice hit his straps and surged to the front of the field and the front of the points. Together these two dominated the KiwiTruck field and walked away with a share of 2nd place overall trophy in the Junior competition. #M29 Vincent Joy took home the trophy for 3rd place in the Counties Classic Series 2024 Juniors competition.

Due to lower numbers in all fields, the option was taken to combine the Ultra 2, Ultra4, SuperBug, Challenger, Lite Buggy and ProBuggy racers. This created a well-populated field that gifted class wins to the racers who were alone in their classes across the race groups. The beauty of it was that all racers could drive their race. This provided great viewing of #1082 Ed Heistand perfecting his moves on a track he knows well. And, soon-to-be Counties Classic Champion 2024, #361 Aiden Hall worked on finding the edge as he threw his championship-winning racer into jumps and corners on maximum attack.

This paid off for Aiden in the all-in feature where he held off the fast-approaching #861 Nick Hall to take the victory.

Then there was the ProLite Cup. With only 3 ProLites in attendance, it was looking like an anti-climax. But it was any but that. #887 Nick Leahy lined up, fresh from his National Championship challenge in the South Island. His race face was well and truly turned on. #886 Ash Carlyle was sheer determination and he took everything he had ever learned about racing at the stadium and applied it. the third ProLite racer was the ranking national championship title winner #861 Nick Hall. Nick is so used to having things his way on this track. But this time it was all on. You could have thrown a blanket over this field as they battled for every inch of the race track. Ash Carlyle led multiple laps, fighting Nick Hall and Nick Leahy in equal amounts. The ProLite Cup Champion for 2024 is #861 Nick Hall.

There were plenty of other stories and great characters at the event. Our international for the day was Nevada Racer, via Canterbury Offroad Race Club, Jr Fernandez. At round 2 Jr drove his car, but at the Final, he hired Grant Sleeman’s Can-Am and put S21 on the side. He raced well all race but ran into ‘limp mode’ on the 2nd to last lap of the feature. He’s determined. He’ll be back.

The next time the track fires up will be the Mickey Thompson New Zealand Offroad Grand Prix on Saturday 30 November.

See you at the Races.