Matt Hanson and Leigh Wells have stormed home to take their maiden AORC round victory at the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro held in Millicent, South Australia, on the weekend. Hanson recovered from a roll over in the #7 SMU Jimco during Saturday afternoons top ten shoot out, to take charge of the six lap race through the Tantanoola Pine Forest early on Sunday morning. With conditions perfect for racing, Hanson and Wells unleashed the power of their twin turbo powered V6 Jimco on the forest, to greet the chequered flag in a time of 3 hours 35min and 36 seconds to win the 390km long, Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro.
“After the drama of Sea Lake where we initially thought we had won and ended up second and the problems at Gundy, to actually win one was great. The car ran faultlessly this weekend and we are really pumped. I’ve been racing since I was 12 years old and as a kid I’ve dreamt of winning one and to do it on what I would consider my home track it is awesome.” Said Hanson at the finishline.
Matt Coleman and Shawn Teagle brought their class leading Finke Desert Race form to the Pines, putting in a rock solid performance to finish second outright in the #55 V8 powered Alpha, six minutes behind Hanson. Third outright was the #21 twin turbo V6 Jimco of Mark Burrows, who had a new navigator, Sean Ratcliffe alongside for round 3 of the championship. Burrows started on the front row of the grid, next to Garry Turnbull on Sunday morning, however brake issues forced him into the pits at the end of the first lap. He rejoined the race in 42nd place on the road and over the next five laps Burrows charged through the field to lock in the final podium position.
Challenging Burrows for third at the business end of the race was Gerald Reid and Aaron Saliba in the #39 Later Engineering Pro Buggy. After starting just outside the top ten, Reid had moved into podium contention with one lap remaining. However a gentle roll over within sight of the finishline, cost the New South Welshman a few vital minutes while the recovery team put the buggy back on all four wheels. Which left Reid stranded in fourth, two minutes and nineteen seconds behind Burrows.
Andrew Mowles drove his #135 single seat Prolite Razorback to the class win and fifth outright, after close battle with the #22 Pro Buggy of Tasmanian, Scott Rockliff who finished in sixth. Danny Brown and George Apted made a successful return to the Pines, taking the Extreme 2WD Class win and seventh outright in his #442 Nissan Titan Trophy Truck. Geoff and Liz Roe were second in class and 12th outright in their #409 Geiser Bros Chev. Greg Campbell and Billy Bastian continued their good form in the #475 Porsche to take third in class.
Jason Coombe and Daniel Lamb were the first locals home, nailing down 8th outright in the #76 Chev V8 powered buggy. A pair of 3500cc naturally aspirated Prolite buggies rounded out the top ten, with the #130 Alumicraft of Matt Owen and Adam O’Connor securing ninth and the #138 Chenowth of Tony Fehlhaber and Gary Howell.
Amongst the Super 1650’s it was Darryl Smith and Michael Matthews who took the class honours in their Toyota 4age powered #201 Alumicraft. The reigning class champs lost third gear during the prologue reconnaissance on Saturday, but managed to hold off #227 Price and #274 Adams for the class win.
The Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro attracted a strong line up in both the Product and Extreme 4WD Classes, which produced some exciting racing amongst the tree lined forestry tracks. In the Extreme 4WD category, Luke Hall and Scott Sage crossed the finishline in their V8 powered #810 GQ Patrol to take the class win with the rear drivers side rim carving a trench in the track after a collision with a buggy in the dying stages flattened the tyre. Bowman and Hardiman had an equally tough path on their way to second in class, after an in-cab fire and a free wheeling hub failure threatened to end their campaign in the #833 Aus4wd Patrol. New Zealand’s Raana Horan showcased the potential of his #899 4WD Nissan Titan early in the event. He pushed the Big Black Motorsport truck into second outright by the end of the first lap, before it suffered terminal gearbox failure
While in the Production 4WD category Rob Chapman and Ross Challacombe kept their #703 Mitsubishi Triton ahead of fellow Queensland competitors, #722 Michael and Linda Topfer and #701 Geoff Pickering and Dylan Watson to take the class win. Bernie Clohesy and Kim Stacey kept the flag flying for Mitsubishi in the Performance 2WD Class, taking the win in their #570 V8 Triton ahead of Gould and Haywood’s #522 Rodeo and the #544 HQ Holden of Smith and Vearing.
Attrition once again played its hand with only twenty seven of the seventy-five starters completed all six laps of the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro. Gary Turnbull who started on the front row of the grid next to Mark Burrows retired with brake problems, while Aaron Haby who went toe to toe with Hanson for the outright lead for the first four laps of the race exited with engine dramas.
Hanson’s win puts him at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final round of the 2012 Australian Off Road Championship, the Lockyer Valley 300 held in South East Queensland on the 9th – 11th November.