|Australia 2013: 10th Gascoyne Dash race with 40+ degrees in Australia|
After seeing a successful and action packed prologue on Friday in Carnarvon and a scorching first day of racing at Bidgemia Station where temperature exceeded 40+ degrees on Saturday - the 2013 "Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash" in Australia wrapped up with some predictions ringing true as well as some blindsiding moments.
The standard Gascoyne Dash format was modified for 2013, with the famous river leg from Gascoyne Junction through to Carnarvon axed, and replaced with a second 200 km loop of Saturdays track around Bidgemia Station. However in a nod to tradition, a new 50 km section of river bed was switched in for the Sunday loop, providing riders and drivers the chance to open the throttle wide and gain some respite from the rock and shale hammering the suspension.
On completion of the two days of racing, it was Shane and Curt Elphinstone who were triumphant in the #44 Holeshot Pro Buggy. Starting the final day of racing in second, the brothers quickly moved into first when the overnight leader, Brett Renton rolled the #74 Jimco not far from the start. From there they didn’t look back, with even a near rollover on the entry to the final section of river, which saw the Holeshot buggy lurch precariously up on one wheel, not slowing their charge, completing the race with a total time of 4hr 28min 59sec.
Second was #811 Dave McShane and William Kirkhope in the Extreme 4WD Tacoma. In outright contention from the start, McShane had to withstand a charge from the #968 BAT Probuggy of Brad Cooper and Ken Styles who were on a mission to make up for lost time after flat tyres on Saturday. In a great act of sportsmanship, McShane let Cooper past at the exit of the river section, but it wasn’t enough for Cooper, as he was forced to settle for third outright.
"The new river section was fun and it felt like you had raced in the river, it was full noise in top gear and you could hit the drop offs hard." Said Brad Cooper
Brett and Kevin Renton regrouped after their roll in the #74 Jimco to finish in 4th outright. Fifth outright and the first Prolite was Peter and Corinna Lindeboom in the #112 A-Arm. Brad Krepp and Steve Hart piloted the #823 GQ Patrol to second in the Extreme 4WD Class, ahead of David Fong and Lee Coupe in the #881 V8 Defender.
Rod Barton and Geoff Butler took the Super 1650 honours and 8th outright. While Murray and Tyron Swain finished 9th outright in the #108 Prolite Jimco. Chris May and Paul Zano rounded out the top ten in a car which has competed in every Gascoyne Dash, taking the Production 4WD Class honours and also the Suzuki Cup in their #766 Sierra.
After taking command of the moto division on Saturdays first loop, Ben Grabham built on his overnight lead on the #111 KTM to win in a total time of 4hr 4min 4sec. An effort which also rewarded him with the "King of the River" title, for the quickest competitor in any category.
"I forgot how tough it was here yesterday, it’s pretty knarly out there with high speed gullies and the heat takes it out of you. I was better prepared today and had a really good run," said Grabham
Third overnight, Grabham’s KTM team mate, #29 Matt Fish stepped into second after battling with Black and Russell for most of the race. "I really enjoyed today’s course and the 50k of river was fun," said Fish
Gavin Russell #378 rounded out the podium, 2min 17 seconds behind Fish. While #49 Brodie Black who had held the lead earlier in the event, finished fourth after a major cart wheel on the Honda saw him snap his handle bars in half, forcing him to dig deep to make it to the chequered flag.
The quad division saw #921 John Iuliano victorious, after annihilating the rocky terrain of the Kennedy Ranges and the soft sandy riverbeds in 5hr 5min 01sec. #229 Logan Trigg had dominated day one of the Dash, but 20km in to Sundays loop he lost a rear wheel off his quad. Implementing a quick trackside repair with cable ties and race tape, Trigg quickly rejoined the race to greet the chequered flag at the Coonatha base camp in second, just 19 seconds behind Iuliano. #411 Daniel Starling was rewarded with third in the quad division after a tough weekend in the saddle, which included a flat twenty kilometres from the finish and ECU dramas on Saturday.
The Gascoyne Dash is supported by the Western Australian Government, via Eventscorp, the Department of Regional Development and Lands, and Royalties for Regions. All of the race results, pictures and more are up on the official event website [ GASDASH.COM ].
2013/11/05 | 14:31 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/KILNER