Suzuki Four-Wheel-Drive Tops

Published: Wed 15 Nov 2006 05:04 PM
Suzuki Four-Wheel-Drive Tops
Suzuki’s giant killing off road ability has been reconfirmed with another success in a New Zealand four-wheel-drive competition.
Nigel Reid has taken his 18-year-old Suzuki Samurai to overall victory in the 2006 New Zealand 4x4 Winch Challenge.
The Hawkes Bay Suzuki-backed Samurai fought off strong opposition that included larger and more powerful four-wheel-drive models.
The SJ series Samurai set the standard for compact four-wheel-drive models for many years before being replaced by the Suzuki Jimny hardtop.
Suzuki built much of its early automobile reputation on the model which began life as the small LJ10 in 1970 before developing into the LJ50, LJ80, CJ410 and SJ413 versions. The SJ Samurai was soon regarded as a four-wheel-drive icon in many world markets.
When Reid acquired his 1988 Samurai soft top eight years ago it was stock standard but he recently modified the Suzuki which has been consistently competitive in tough off-road events.
Reid emerged overall winner of the four round series this year after taking part in the championship for the first time in 2005.
A good crowd saw Nigel, with co-driver Aucklander Ben Towse, win the 32-inch tyre size class and take third overall in the first round at Kumeu, north of Auckland.
There were 12 stages involving a mixture of high-speed runs and winch pulls, with the object to complete the course as quickly and as safely as possible.
When the vehicle stops forward momentum or loses traction, competitors are then able to use the vehicle’s winch to continue. Penalties are given for unsafe winch and driving practices.
Despite a roll-over that cost the Samurai several places, Reid finished seventh and first in the 32-inch category in the second round at Whangarei. This farmland event with large hill climbs, tricky turns and reverse stages, was held on a venue overlooking the Northland city.
Reid and Towse recovered for an excellent second overall at Rotorua where round three was contested in the Mamaku Forest. A record number of 4WDs entered this round on muddy, slippery and tight conditions.
The final challenge was the Kiwi 4x4 Winch Challenge, west of Rotorua where Reid finished third overall in a five-day event that included hill climbs, forest, gullies, deep water holes and rocks.
Reid has equipped his Samurai with a carburettor eight-valve Suzuki Vitara engine and Vitara power assisted steering.
To meet the challenges of off-road competition, the Suzuki runs two alternators and two batteries, but the gearbox is standard.
Other modifications include Simex tyres on offset rims, a full six-point internal roll cage, Ricaro sports seats, four-point safety harness system, and rear disc brakes.
Side bars are fitted and bull bars house a Warn electric winch with a free spool system to feed the rope out faster.
“That Nigel Reid has finished the season with the number one ranking, beating much larger and more expensive competition, reinforces Suzuki’s four-wheel-drive expertise,” said Gary Collins, Automobile Sales Manager for Suzuki New Zealand Ltd.
Suzuki offers an extensive line-up of Grand Vitara and Jimny models with full off-road capabilities and dual-range four-wheel-drive.

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