It's going to get loud, muddy and dirty on Flooks Farm on the Hauraki Plains next week, when four wheel drive racers compete in the National 4x4 Trials raising funds for Hikutaia School.
On the day of the event, Saturday, January 23, about 50 contestants from all over the North Island drive four-wheel-drive vehicles – up to 900 horsepower.
Their challenge is to navigate through a field with 30 hazards trying not to get stuck in mud and to stay in the course.
Sponsors are still being sought for some of the hazards; each one will be named after the sponsor and have signage from the sponsored business.
Thames Valley 4WD Club president Aaron Beattie says: "There will be high-speed obstacles, and hazards different in height, angle and steepness. It is impossible for people to tackle the obstacles walking."
Mud pools, noisy engines, vehicles flipping over and sliding around: "There will be action going on all over the place," says Beattie.
Every vehicle is custom-built and driven by a driver and co-driver. The vehicles can cost up to $100,000 and are categorised in seven classes, according to their modifications and engine power.
Hikutaia School PTA chairperson Olivia Robinson says they need 10 helpers for parking and hazard marshalling. Helpers would get free entry.
Main sponsor, school board member and Thames Valley 4WD Club member Richard Cox of Richard Cox Contracting says: "Spectator-wise the event is awesome to watch, because there will be lots of action on the track. All the money will go towards the school."
The school's PTA has taken on the event to raise money for student resources.
Cox says: "We have a very proactive PTA. The goal is to raise $20,000."
The money will go towards the renovation of the school pool and upgrading the front garden, adding a vegetable area.
There will be food stalls on the property, and a prizegiving ceremony, organised by Hikutaia School. Beattie says they expect between 1000 and 2000 visitors on the day.
The National 4x4 Trials have been going for about 40 years and consist of six rounds in total. Hikutaia School hosts the second round of this season, ending around Easter.
The Hikutaia School fundraising round of the National 4x4 Trials will take place on January 23 from 8am at Flooks Farm, 8795 Paeroa-Kopu Rd, Puriri / Thames. Tickets are $10 per person or $30 per family.
More information on the sport and the trials can be found at https://nz4x4trials.co.nz/