|Australia 2012: Fantastic Flinders 400 - Aaron James winner with his Buggy.|
Victorian based offroad racer Aaron James crossed the border and raided the South Australians trophy cabinet on the weekend, winning the Exact Mining Bentley’s Cabin Park Flinders 400 with navigators Robert and Brett Plant in their #101 Razorback Prolite buggy.
The race was held over 12 laps of a condensed 35km track at the Baroota Off Road Racing complex 40 kilometres north of Port Pirie. The technical flowing track produced some spectacularly close racing with Brenton Forsyth, Jack Rhodes, Andrew Kittle and Hayden Bentley all taking their turn at the top of the leaderboard, before Aaron James stepped into the fresh air at the front in his 3.5 litre Nissan V6 powered Razorback at the halfway point of the race.
Once in front James didn’t look back, charging around the 35km course like a freight train with Port Augusta local, Brenton Forsyth, the Haby brothers and Andrew Kittle, who had returned to the track on Sunday after fuel issues the day before, all snapping at his heels. The tightly grouped pack made for entertaining racing as they roosted huge plumes of red dust on the sweeping corners and leapt off the massive jumps in front of the spectators.
When the clock stopped on the 400km race it was #56 Carl Haby and Brenton Gallash who had tamed the dust to move into second outright, a slender 16 seconds behind the race winner Aaron James. Brenton and Terry Forsyth greeted the chequered flag 17 seconds behind Haby to lock in third outright in their #47 twin turbo V6 Southern Cross.
Pouring the pressure on to the leading trio on Sunday was #57 Aaron Haby, who was forced to settle for fourth outright after an engine misfire on Saturday cost him a few precious minutes. Stepping into the drivers seat for 2012, Macca Kittle made an impressive Baroota debut in the #23 Peter Kittle Motorsport Jimco, locking in fifth outright ahead of local favourite Hayden Bentley in the #18 Probuggy.
Bentley had started on pole position after Saturday’s top ten shoot out and looked to have cemented his position at front on Sunday. However a lengthy pit stop to replace a broken brake caliper early on Sunday morning saw him surrender the lead to James.
Another Port Pirie local Sam Gadaleta finished 7th in the #38 V8 Jimco ahead of #102 Wes Cowie who was second in the Prolite Class in his mid-engined Jimco. #274 David Adams picked up the Super 1650 Class win and 9th outright after a close battle with his 1600cc classmate #280 Roger Cox in tenth.
After dropping two laps on Saturday due to an old knee injury, Ivan Robertson returned to the track on Sunday to take the Extreme 2WD Class honours in his brand new Micklefab mid-sized trophy truck.
Brad Gallard was another heavy weight to hit the track again on Sunday with a fresh drive train after Saturday’s auto transmission failure 3km into the prologue in the Monster Energy Geiser truck. Gallard wasted no time getting up to speed, hammering the TT off the startline and through the man made whoops like a man possessed. However broken axles would end his day later that morning.
A Trophy Kart Parade was held at the conclusion of the Top Ten Shoot Out on Saturday. The Bentley and Gadaleta kids cruised their pint sized trucks over the jumps and through the whoops to demonstrate the new junior offroad racing category currently under development. Adding another exciting element to the event.
Supported by Extreme Motorsport, Nyrstar, Neill Automotive, ARB and Performance Metals, the action and entertainment wasn’t just limited to the race track at the Exact Mining Bentleys Cabin Park Flinders 400. The Baroota skyline lit up early on Saturday night with a massive fireworks display that would rival local New Years Eve festivities. While during the day the free jumping castle, rc car track and helicopter joyflights added to the family friendly line up.
Congratulations must go to the newly formed Baroota Off Road Association and the Bentley family for turning on one of the showcase events on the Australian off road racing calendar.
For complete race results visit: [ FLINDERS 400 RESULTS ]
2012/05/02 | 18:21 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/KILNER