Lotto winner Trevor Cooper drew crowds of media to his New Zealand off-road debut last night.

Trevor was running fourth at the New Zealand Endurance Championships in Nelson until his buggy got a puncture. He ended in 12th place.

"It's a bit disappointing for the boys, there will be a lot of catch up tomorrow," said Cooper, 34.

"We had to drive 15km on a flat tyre and then the tyre choice we made wasn't the correct one and I ended up not being able to control the car as well and ended up in a big drain for two laps."


Cooper, who won $26 million in April, said media attention at the event wasn't off-putting. "I didn't mind the cameras there because it meant the sport got into the limelight a bit."

Cooper is due back for another seven laps of the 35km course at Dovedale's Hancock Forest today.

"We are hoping for a better run, the car has the potential to win it."

Cooper's brother-in-law is his spotter. "He sits in the tower and navigates me, tells me when to turn and reminds me to breathe," Cooper said. "My life is in his hands."

Cooper said the sport was dangerous but no more so than rugby or soccer. "It's not nice when those pine trees jump out at you though - you have to watch those."

Since his PowerBall win Trevor had bought properties for himself, his parents and his sister, and has filled his new garage with street and race cars.

Next weekend, the former trainee check-out operator will race alongside his motor-sport heroes in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series in California in another new purchase - his coveted American-built buggy, a Geiser Bros No 71 Pro 2.

"For the next few months we will be going back and forth to America for racing. They have so much of it over there, it is really competitive."