|Australia 2012: Teams preparing for 3rd round of Australian Championship.|
The "Australian Off Road Championship" heads to Millicent in South Australia on September 7-9 for the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro. Held amongst the tall pine trees of the Tantanoola State Forest and based out of the stadium style arena at Teagle’s Quarry, the event is the third round of the 2012 AORC.
Heading into round 3 of the championship, the leaderboard has been blown wide open with Brad Prout taking the outright win at the MBL SeaLake Mallee Rally and Brad Gallard taking the honours at the Albins Goondiwindi 400 in August. Four different drivers filled the rest of the podium at these two events, making a good performance at the Pines imperitive to the championship contenders.
Leading the charge amongst the 80 strong field will be Matt Hanson and Leigh Wells, who will be returning to the Pines with the aim of completing some unfinished business in the #7 SMU Jimco. The pair led the race in 2011 until overheating issues ended their assault and after a narrow defeat at SeaLake they are hungry for their first round win.
While Aaron Haby will be looking to recapture the form that took him to second outright at the event in 2011 in his single seat Element Racing A-Arm. The pressure will be on at the front from the talent packed Proclass with Matt Coleman and Shawn Teagle looking to bring their Finke Desert Race form to the pine forests and Mark Burrows, Terry Rose, Nev Taylor, Joe Bulmer all on fire this season.
The 3500cc Prolite drivers have continued to prove they can mix it with their big brothers at recent events. After finishing third outright at the opening round of the season, Lindsay Foster leads an all star Prolite line up which includes the Milbrodale Mountain Class winner, Matt Martin and reigning class champ Aaron James. While Matt Owen, Andrew McClelland and Andrew Mowles will continue to be some of the pace setters.
The Super 1650 class will feature a good mix of local and interstate talent, with reigning class champ and Alumicraft pilot, Darryl Smith, facing off with the Razorback of Queenslands Jared Melville and Cougar pilot Russell Hartnett. While Peter Stevenson will lead the local charge in his Toyota powered Rivmasta. Murray England will be looking to keep the Super 1650’s honest in his Sportsman buggy.
The big trucks have continued to lift their pace during 2012, with top results at Goondiwindi, Sea Lake and Finke. Chris Western, Greg Gartner, Danny Brown, Byron Murfett, Geoff Roe and company will be hot on the heels of the Proclass buggies and will add some Stadium style racing excitement to Saturday afternoons Dash for Cash. While Greg Campbell will be unleashing trademark red Porsche in a David and Goliath battle with the trucks. While in the Performance 2WD category Loader, Gould, Michelson, Clohesy and Bowden will compete fiercely for class honours.
The Production 4WD Class has one of it’s strongest fields in recent years. The entry list is dominated by Queenslanders with Rob Chapman, Mike Topfer, Evan Burns and Geoff Pickering all making the trip south to hit the track in their Mitsubishi’s. Whlle Andy Fox, Thomas Garner and Darran Vanderwoude will fly the flag for those south of the border. The Extreme 4WD Class will once again be headlined by the battle between New Zealands Raana Horan and Victoria’s Sandy Bowman. While Clayton Chapman and Colin Hunter will be on a mission to regain some ground on their compatriots.
Saturday promises to be an action packed afternoon of offroad racing at Teagle’s Quarry, located on the Princes Hwy at the edge of Millicent. At 12.30pm, the buggies, trucks and 4WD’s fire up their engines in anger for the first time at the event and get down to business in the prologue to determine the starting order. The stadium style arena has proven to be a favourite with the spectators in previous years, as Australia’s leading offroad racers launch their high octane machinery over the jumps and slide through the bends.
The "Top Ten Shootout" after the prologue traditionally sees the lap times tumble, as the outright contenders hit the track again to take a final lunge at pole position. On its completion the quickest 4 race cars in each class (excluding those in the top ten) roll on to the starting grid for a two lap door to door blast around the arena in the "Dash for Cash", a spectacle that is not to be missed.
Saturday afternoon also provides the rare opportunity for one lucky spectator to pull on a helmet, tighten up the seat belts and go for a hot lap of Teagle’s Quarry alongside Matt Hanson in his twin turbo V6 powered SMU Jimco A-Arm race car. To win the ride of their life, the spectator just needs to find the lucky spot in their event program.
On Sunday morning a new challenge greets the offroaders, as the wide open spaces of Teagle’s Quarry give way to the the tall pines of the Tantanoola State Forest. The six laps of the 65km course will be broken into three 2 lap sections, with a half hour service interval between them. Action kicks off at 8:30am with a two at a time drag race out of Teagle’s Quarry and off into the pine forests.
Where the drivers thread their high octane machinery through the heavily wooded forestry tracks and open the throttle to fly high off the blind crests on the straights. The drivers will have to walk the tightrope of speed and endurance as the race progresses to join the likes of Shannon Rentsch and David Fellows as winners of the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro.
The final round of the 2012 Australian Off Road Championship will be the Lockyer Valley 300 in South East Queensland on the 9th – 11th November.
2012/09/05 | 18:01 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/KILNER