On Day 3 of the 2nd round of the Comeup Xtreme Winch Challenge, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the extreme sprint run. The final two stages were a combined run in the same area as the Saturday Morning stages and there was very little winching to be seen. The competitors kept driving the winch walls starting with Phil Bell and Ian Hughes in the Toyota, setting a combined time to beat of 4 minutes 49 seconds over the two stages.
Rod Rathbone was struggling in his Landcruiser, The car wouldn’t steer and it looked like another problem with the front end. But it was actually a steering wheel problem and it was sorted, but all a bit too late and with the amount of running needed, Navigator Russell Rathbone was exhausted.
Another truck to have problems was the 60 series of Kevin Gorrick. They needed to winch one of the hills, but the car stopped and wouldn’t start. The battery was flat. A grand plan was hatched for navigator Josh Rathbone to use the High Lift jack to jump start the car off the winch power, but it all went wrong …. Let’s see that again in slow motion. Spectacular stuff, but they were out.
John Adamson and Mick Weinert in the 60 series were the first to go to the top of the first winch hill without a winch and set the precedent for those that followed. They did, however need to winch on the second hill, providing the spectators with a bit of winching at least.
Mani Kafantaris and Tristan Saunders were one of the teams that needed to get the winch rope out more than once. But the second run through, they drove the hill, good work team.
Quickest on the first half of the combines SS9 and SS10 was the 100 series of Steven Reid and Alex Gordon. But on the 2nd traverse of the main hill, the car got off track taking out the log AND the bunting. The winch combined with the penalty would be a huge disappointment for the pair.
Another team to finish the course without the use of their winch was the red undies racing team of Matt Holgate and Issac James. At the end of the stage, it was all smiles and they’d finish the event in 5th overall.
Starting the Sunday stages in third was Steve Howarth and Glen Rodgers in a GQ Patrol. They needed to finish the stage without winching if they wanted to secure a top 3. But the first winch hill caught them out and with the winch rope out, they dropped a position, finishing 4th.
The speed of Bell and Hughes in the FJ Toyota, was enough to bump them up to 3rd place overall from further down the leader-board. Showing that you should never give up at these events.
Without his regular navigator Nathan Mills, who was sitting at home waiting for a baby to be born, Paul Semmens was using navigator and Stand in Ranga, Dave Rowland. They did there best to drive all the hills, but were another to be caught out on the first winch hill. They drove the rest and were rewarded with 2nd overall.
But with the most spectacular drive and win to date, was the boys in the Mav. Getting the name for the Ford Maverick they drive, Pete Bannister and Tim Simpson were flying. Driving every winch hill and looking spectacular over the entire course, this team was on fire. In fact literally. A power steering hose had broken and the car came into the final stop gate to awaiting fire extinguishers. A top result that could have easily ended very differently.