With the date (Sunday May 21) locked in the calendar the preparations for the inaugural Suzuki Extreme 4x4 Challenge began months ahead at Dan Cowper’s farm near Wanganui.
The idea was to create a spectacular course which would give the 4X4 Trials enthusiasts good coverage on TV.
Entry was limited to 15 teams (vehicle, driver and co-drivers) and six purpose-built obstacles were created and named (Maximum Attack, Axle Twister, Need for Speed, Walls of Death, Balls of Steel and Full Noise Mud Run).
Organiser Dan ran a tight ship, creating a new scoring system (to make it more interesting and easier for the spectators to understand) and tight time schedule to make the day go smoothly.
The teams and seeding order:
15. Brent Ward & Mark Smith – Wairarapa 4WD Club
14. Wayne Buckthought & Paul Green – Mt Egmont 4WD Club
13. Phil Cameron & Shane Hazelden – South Waikato 4WD Club
12. Warren Jeffery & Mark Pincock – Windy City Offroaders
11. Graeme Kingstone & Tony Hadland – Bay of Plenty 4WD Club
10. Brian Howat & Ash Senior – Valley 4WD Club
9. Kevin Hermansen & Kirk Grant – Wanganui 4WD Club
8. Raymond Hill & Karl Looney – Mt Egmont 4WD Club
7. Dean Foster & Jarred Biggs – Counties 4WD Club
6. Phil Conwell & Paul Chapman – Windy City Offroaders
5. Martin Walton & Phil Walton – Counties Manakau 4WD Club
4. Rowan Huckstep & Hendrik Hofstee – Mt Egmont
3. Andrew Garner & Paula Hadlin – Bay of Plenty 4WD Club
2. Mitch Seymour & Will Sturme – Valley 4X4 Club
1. Hamish Auret & Paul Barnes – Wanganui 4WD Club