South Australians, David Fellows and Mark Bergamin fended off the hard charging territorians, Dan Auricht and Grant Connelly to win the Bentley’s Cabin Park Flinders 450 held on the weekend. Keeping the twin turbo V6 Jimco on song, Fellows finished the 7 laps of the 65km course that was sandwiched between the picturesque Flinders Ranges and Spencer Gulf in a time of 5 hours, one minute and ten seconds to take the win.
After claiming pole position in the top ten shoot out on Saturday, Auricht relinguished the lead on Saturday afternoon and spent Sunday hunting down Fellows through the canyons and berms which make the 40 year old Baroota track famous. With the dust hanging in the still air, Auricht was forced to settle for second outright, a slender 38 seconds behind the race winner.
Brett Taylor and Peter Tries have made many trips to Baroota, located just north of Port Pirie, and the Alice Springs based team continued to look at home on the flowing track. Starting the race in 27th position in their V8 Aceco Pro Buggy, they worked their way through the field on Sunday to finish third outright.
Behind the trio of Probuggies in the outright positions were a fleet of naturally aspirated 3500cc Prolites. The Nissan powered Razorback of Aaron James and Brett Plant nailed fourth outright and to take the class win, after Jack Rhodes retired with a broken CV on the last lap when in podium contention. The Southern Cross Prolite of Greg Hicks and Shane Braitling continued their good form from Finke to finish fifth outright and second in class ahead of the Cowie’s Jimco in sixth outright and third in Prolite.
Tony Fehlaber and Garry Howell were the first of a string of Queenslanders to greet the chequered flag, after punishing their Prolite Mirage around Baroota. While Les Marshall and Glennys Rose were the fifth and final Prolite in the top ten, finishing eighth outright.
Colin Hunter and Simon Campbell took the Extreme 4WD Class win in their state of the art Dodge Dakota. While Sandy Bowman and Daniel Hardiman pushed their V8 powered GQ Patrol into second in class and 11th outright. Making it a successful weekend for Bowman on his return to the AORC.
Jared Melville and Michael Marson set an impressive pace in their Super 1650 Razorback to take the class win and tenth outright. It was Melville’s first AORC Super 1650 Class win, rewarding them for the past 12 months hard work developing the new car.
The Production 4WD Class win went to the Mitsubishi Triton piloted by the Sunshine Coasts Rob Chapman and Ross Challacombe. The pair trailed Pickering’s Pajero for most of the race, but when Pickering retired from the race at the start of the final lap, the door was left open for Chapman who made the most of the opportunity.
Grasping the Extreme 2WD Class by the throat and taking the win was Kevy Nott and Darren Phillips. The Queensland team were presented a golden opportunity for the class honours in just their second event after Danny Brown exited the race with a broken axle and reigning Class champ Chris Western retired with broken suspension. While the recent Finke Desert Race winner Greg Gartner was out of the race just seconds after it started when he had a spectacular roll just 200 metres from the startline. This was not the only carnage for the weekend with Nev Taylor, Sam Gadaleta and Craig Weaire also falling victim to the Baroota track.
The Bentley’s Cabin Park Flinders 450 was the third round of the 2011 Australian Off Road Championship and Fellows win cements his place at the top of the AORC leaderboard with 43 points. The AORC now moves into the business end of the season, with Round 4 in South Australia on 2-4 September with the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro.