The New Zealand 4x4 Trials Championship season and its big public companion the 2020 Suzuki Extreme 4x4 Challenge have both been postponed for the forseeable future, as both summer field sports and motorsports feel the pinch of Covid-19 restrictions and cancellations.

The final round of the six-round season was to be the Hawke's Bay National Trial, being held in the Tangoio Settlement on April 18.

On Thursday afternoon, the NZFWDA officially postponed the event, just a couple of hours after Turakina promotor and truck builder Dan Cowper announced the postponement of his sixth annual Extreme Challenge on May 10.

The Extreme Challenge can attract large crowds to the hillsides of Cowper's Turakina farm property, which meant the event was unlikely to proceed after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called for a halt to public gatherings of more than 500 people on Monday.


"Unfortunately due to the current COVID-19 situation and the recent announcement from the NZ Government in relation to public events, we have made the decision to postpone the 2020 Suzuki Extreme 4x4 Challenge," said Cowper on the event's Facebook Page.

"We are going to revisit the idea of running the event later in the year.

"Whether this will go ahead or not is anyone's guess at this stage.

"Thank you very much for your understanding and lets hope things get back to normal as soon as possible. In the mean time please take care."

Government restrictions on gatherings of 500 people made the prospect of the Extreme Challenge unlikely.
Government restrictions on gatherings of 500 people made the prospect of the Extreme Challenge unlikely.

The Extreme Challenge, designed to be a fan-friendly, all-star event, had changed from being invitation-only to qualifying by finishing in the Top 10 overall of the national series.

After the fifth round near Huntly in the Waikato last Saturday, the leading Top 10 drivers in order were Greg McDell, Scott Biggs, Jarred Biggs, Philip Walton, Neville Mather, Wayne Buckthought, Derek Smyth, Stuart Earle, Kevin Hermansen and Cowper himself.

This lineup could have changed considerably in the Hawkes Bay, however, as under new rules this season, drivers discount their worst round result or being absent from their final tallies.

Taupiri's McDell was leading the pack by virtue of being incredibly consistent, despite never winning a round.


Auckland's defending national and Extreme Challenge champion Scott Biggs won the season's opening round in Whakatane on November 2, with McDell second and Biggs' brother Jarred third.

A double round was held in Manawatu on January 24-25 at Rangiwahia Rd and Marshall Rd sites, with Manukau's Walton winning both of them.

On February 22 in Turakina, Jarred Biggs kept himself in the title hunt with a victory, with McDell again the runnerup with Scott Biggs was third.

McDell then stamped his mark last weekend in the title chase when he came second overall once again, this time to Palmerston North's Smyth, while the Biggs brothers were back in fifth and eighth place respectively.

The Wanganui 4WD club connections in the Top 10 were Hermansen and Cowper, while Palmerston North's Earle drives a former Cowper-owned and built truck.

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Saturday night's final event of the Fast Lane Spares Oceanview Family Speedway season has been cancelled.

In light of NZ Government restrictions on large public gatherings, the Wanganui Stockcar and Speedway Club Inc Committee announced the meeting's cancellation on Tuesday.

The event would have seen the West Coast Superstocks, along with the Noel Kensington, George Podjursky and Craig Heibner Memorial races.

Both Softball Whanganui and Manawatu have also ended their seasons early, meaning the Castlecliff Club Mustangs and Whanganui Athletic will not have their play off for third place in the Manawatu Men's Reserve A grade, while the Whanganui Athletic Women's Premier team will not have their semifinal with Kingswood Anahera.