Josh Howells has continued his impressive recent run of form with a convincing victory in the Hunter Valley Off Road Racing Association’s (HVORRA)Milbrodale Mountain Classic.
Acting as the third round for the CAMS New South Wales Off Road Championship, Howells was too strong for the huge 64-crew field, claiming all but one heat win for the weekend.
With competitors tackling more than 250 competitive kilometres across four heats made up of different length courses, it was the start to each heat that proved crucial for Howells as he built on his lead throughout the weekend.
The victory adds to Howell’s sensational runner-up finish in the Tatts Finke Desert Race last month, giving him the perfect preparation for the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship’s (AORC) season finale in Rainbow next month.
Making the well deserved win even sweeter for Howells was receiving the ‘Man of the Mountain’ award for posting the fastest lap time on the final heat.
It’s the second time in three years that Howells has won the Classic, his first coming in 2017, and while an electrical sensor issue put him out of contention last year, the determined Howells was thrilled to be back on top in 2019.
“We are really happy to take the win. It’s our local event and it’s a good track and atmosphere so we like going to that each year,” Howells said.
“It’s a lot of laps and it goes from being a speed way track to being a rutted out track so it’s definitely tough on the car and it was pretty brutal.
“I wanted to start out the front and qualify quickest which I did and then I managed to win all the starts, which helped me add to my lead.
“It was only Sunday morning that I lost a heat to Phil Lovett on Heat 2, but at the end of the day I am really happy to win and I am looking forward to Rainbow next month.”
In second place was another pro-buggy driver in Bryce Chapman alongside Mitch Warren, while SXS Turbo class winners Peter Carr and Mark Bernard took the podium bottom step.
Rounding out the top five were a number of AORC regulars with Glen Ackroyd finishing less than one minute ahead of Jay Neate. A further 15 seconds behind Neate was another AORC star in Matthew Huxley.
Pro-Lite class winner Ally Howells also took out the Best Female Driver award, making it a good weekend out for the Howells Motorsport team.
With one of the largest fields in off road racing, HVORRA assistant secretary Jan Hedley was proud with the hard work of all those involved.
“All in all, it was another successful Milbrodale Mountain Classic with many positive comments being relayed to HVORRA,” Hedley said.
“We would like to thank everyone involved in track preparation, race vehicle preparation, pit crews, navigators and all who helped in so many ways to make this event the best-Off Road Race in NSW.
“Also a huge thank you to our sponsors, Hedweld Group of Companies, Bulga Coal, Win TV, M&K Watercarts, Brison Contracting, Myne Signs, and our class sponsors who generously support this event.
“This event could not be conducted without the generosity of the land owners who allow us to run this great event on their property.”