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The 2007 New Zealand IC Off-road Nationals were held in Hamilton at a busy time of the year between December 14th-17th. Numbers were very good with 63 buggies and 49 truggies with a few drivers from Australia attending. The track was newly revamped and looked in great shape when we arrived. It held together great over the weekend and even showed a few signs of blue groove through the infield section. Lap times were on average about 34-35sec, with the fast guys getting down into 32–33sec and even one 31sec lap by a truggy during the A final.

Three rounds of controlled practice were held on Friday, two of 10min and one of 5min with 1 round of qualifying. The practice sessions were pretty much races, as no one seemed to be doing much in the way of setup changes, just getting in laps and getting used to the track and surface. The first qualifying round at the end of the day gave everyone a chance to have a decent look at setups and get a good idea if they were on pace.

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XRAY drivers – New Zealand Nationals
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Saturday saw the remaining 5 rounds of qualifying. Out of the 6 rounds, the worst 2 were dropped. There were a few weary faces due to the “interesting” accommodations that the majority of the racers were coping with… lack of sleep was a major issue. Tim McKay had a few engine issues and eventually swapped to OS engines in both buggy and truggy. Greg Mawson had steering issues with his truggy, but still made quick lap times. After six rounds, Tim qualified 3rd in buggy and truggy; Greg was 12th in buggy and 7th in truggy. Even though there was only about 10sec between best race times, there was a drop back to 29th for the next XRAY buggy driver (Bradley Morgan) directly followed by Russell Cloughy and Trevor Winter. James Tacon and Mike Young had good times in qualifying, but didn’t get in four good runs which pushed them down the qualifying order to 37th and 40th respectively. Geoffrey Fleming, Peter Knight and Charlie Kim rounded out the remaining XRAY buggies in 50th, 57th and 59th positions respectively.

Truggy was just as tight, with Trevor Gillard in 23rd and Reece McGregor in 39th.

These positions put Tim and Greg into the semi-finals as there were no direct entrants into the final. You had to be in the Top 4 or be the next 2 fastest from the semi-finals to make the final. Tim moved up to both finals and Greg into the buggy final, narrowly missing getting into the truggy final in the final minute of the semi, due to steering issues which forced his retirement. Trevor Winter and Mike Young bumped up in their buggy 1/8 finals into the quarter-finals, and Reece McGregor did the same in truggy, but couldn’t do it again.

Both finals were 60min long truggy being the first up. Tim had a bad start from 4th on the grid, ending up 8th after the first lap. He quickly moved up the field to 3rd before running out of fuel just short of the 10min mark and he dropped back down the order. Once going again Tim moved his way back up and battled for 2nd place, eventually finishing 3rd overall.

Truggy final results:

1st Peter Brimmer
2nd Mike Stratford
3rd Tim McKay XRAY XT8
4th Alan Looi
5th Daniel Yarrow

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Tim McKay & Greg Mawson — A finalists – New Zealand Nationals
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The buggy final saw a good start from everyone. Tim started from 9th and Greg started from 10th on the grid. A few tangles happened in the early stages before the field spread out. Aussie driver Wayne Walker pulled out in front and didn’t look back, holding 1st place for the entire race and he was never challenged… thus finishing a few laps up on the field. Tim eventually moved up the field and held 4th place. The only real battle near the end was between Greg and Losi driver Adrian Lorenzen who battled for 6th and 7th places. Adrian eventually got 6th place after a roll and flameout by Greg.

Buggy final results:

1st Wayne Walker
2nd Peter Brimmer
3rd Ryan O’Connor
4th Tim McKay XRAY XB8EC
5th Billy Looi
6th Adrian Lorenzen
7th Greg Mawson XRAY XB8EC
8th Graeme McDougal
9th Chris Banham
10th Zac Ryan