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Beau Robinson and Ken Skinner struck gold in their #413 OBR Trophy Truck this weekend, taking their maiden "Australia Off Road Championship" AORC round win at the opening round of the 2014 season, the "Kalgoorlie 400" Rally. The Perth based team thrived in tough, dusty conditions, finishing in a time of 04:46:15 hours, picking off the twin turbo V6 powered buggies one by one in the Tonka & BF Goodrich backed V8 Truck as the five lap race progressed.
"It was tight and twisty and I thought it would have suited the lighter turbo buggies. But we kept it consistent and had no issues, so it goes to show what a clean run can do. Everyone has done a great job with the new event and we’ll now look forward to keeping everyone on their toes at Finke."
Reigning AORC Champions, Shannon and Ian Rentsch picked up where they left off in 2013 to finish second outright in the #1 Hogs Breath BFGoodrich Jimco. After qualifying fourth, Rentsch had moved into second heading into the final two laps, but was unable to haul in Robinson during the closing section to finish 2min 01sec behind the West Australian.
"The track chewed up a lot across the weekend, in some spots the wheel ruts were deep and we were bellying out, so it was a challenge to get through sections without stopping. It’s probably one of the toughest we have raced on for a while, so it was good to get the finish."
Matt Hanson and Leigh Wells rounded out the podium in third after a testing the weekend. The pair won Saturday mornings prologue in the #3 Snap SMU Jimco, but then battled with turbo boost and brake issues in the top ten shoot out and first lap which followed. Hanson then charged on Sunday, battling through the dust to be second quickest in the final section, which was enough to secure third in a time of 04:48:36.
"It was a real offroaders track that we enjoyed once it became more settled and defined, and we really enjoyed the final section. It is a good start for future nationals here in West Australia," said Hanson
North Queensland’s Michael Marson and Steven Gates were 4th outright in their Ford V8 powered #32 Racer Pro Buggy, ahead of fellow Queenslanders and the Prolite Class winners, Tony Fehlhaber and Garry Howell who finished fifth outright. Fehlhaber had initially piloted the #138 Karcher Prolite into third, but was relegated to fifth after a five minute penalty was applied for hitting a marker.
After blitzing the top ten shoot out and opening up a comfortable lead in the first section, Travis Robinson and Paul Currie looked set to claim a one, two victory for Outerbound Racing in the #13 OBR Jimco until an alternator failure on lap four saw them relinquish first place on the road. A quick pit stop saw them rejoin the race to finish in Eighth outright.
While the overnight race leader, Jack Rhodes fell prey to the bull dust in the #91 Jimco on lap 3, becoming bogged and loosing in excess of half an hour before he was recovered. Rhodes then wound up the pace again in the final section to climb back into 10th outright.
Paul Youman and Mitch Marsden took the Performance 2WD Class win and 11th outright in the #502 General Tires V8 Hilux. The team almost threw in the towel with one lap to go, with the cab starting to come loose, but Paul’s wife Simone spurred them on to keep going and get to the finish.
"The track sorted the men out from the boys in places, but I loved the fast sweeping stuff where you were hanging on the berms, but the white powdery stuff was just out of control," said Hillbilly Racings, Paul Youman
Extreme 4WD Class winners, Clayton Chapman with TV presenter Kate Peck in the navigators seat were the 14th and last car to complete the entire race distance. After giving the top ten a good nudge in the Mitsubishi Triton on the first couple of laps, the Triton required all hands on deck during the service interval when it limped into the pits at the end of section two.
With the rear diff, clutch and starter motor all needing to be replaced, the Chapman Offroad Team knuckled down and got the job done within the 30 minute service interval. Allowing Clayton to go on and claim the class win.
WA State Championship entrants, Chris Dawes and Zeb Casey were the quickest of the Production 4WD’s in their GU Patrol, taking the class win with the completion of 3 laps. While Kalgoorlie locals, Jermey Lia and James Lia were the best of the Super 1650’s after locking away 3 laps in their Rivmasta.
The Australian Off Road Championship now heads to the Northern Territory for the second round of the season, the Tatts Finke Desert Race on June 6-9. For more information visit [ AORC.COM.AU ].
2014/04/21 | 13:38 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/HUMPHREY/KILLNER