Whanganui 4x4 truck driver becomes first Kiwi to to 360 degree flip

By Jared Smith -
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Driver Hamish Auret with Navigator Paul Barnes perform the first ever backflip in a 4-wheel-drive car. Photo / Murray Cottle
Driver Hamish Auret with Navigator Paul Barnes perform the first ever backflip in a 4-wheel-drive car. Photo / Murray Cottle

Whanganui 4x4 truck driver Hamish Auret did not even hesitate.

The former national champion had one goal in mind for the second annual Suzuki 4x4 Extreme Challenge at Turakina on Sunday - become the first New Zealander and only the second person ever to complete a full 360 degree flip.

Challenge organiser Dan Cowper had built the final obstacle on the course - the Hermansen Contracting Ball Buster - specifically so drivers could attempt the feat if they wished.

"The brief wasn't to do a [mandatory] back flip, but they wanted it and I built it out.

"The last part was so steep they were just falling on their back anyway.

"That's what [Auret] wanted to do and he did it."

The rest of the drivers did not try for glory but Auret, with his new 7-litre LS7 engine in the Pirtek Wanganui Corvette, gunned straight up the climb and got the 7000cc power surge he needed to go right over and land back on his tyres.

Photo / Murray Cottle
Photo / Murray Cottle

"He just nailed a perfect one," said Cowper. "Full credit - he's the man."

For Auret, it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment given his attempt could not have gone better, with little damage to the truck's suspension.

"It was pretty awesome, it was well planned and I was keen to do it because no one's done it," he said.

"I'm not going to rush to do it again. It's high risk."

No surprise, Auret received the "Best in Show" award for having treated the large crowd on the adjacent hillside to a sight they will never forget.

"The second I landed I heard a huge roar," he said.

"I jumped out of the truck and threw my arms in the air. None of that was planned."

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