The 2013 Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash fired up today with the scrutiny and street parade of 36 vehicles and 80 bike riders through the main street of Carnarvon, in the Gascoyne Region of Western Australia.
Competitors from all over Australia have converged on Carnavon, close to the most western point of the continent to start their Dash adventure. Leading the quality list of entrants is last year’s auto category winner, Brad Cooper in his South African built Bat Racing built Pro Buggy. Fresh from Safari Dave McShane is unleashing his masterpiece of 4WD engineering against David Fong’s V8 Defender and a fleet of Nissans and Suzukis. Headlining the Moto’s are last years bike prologue winner, Matt Fish and the 2011 GasDash winner and multiple Finke Desert Race winner Ben Grabham, who is poised to again be odds on favourite to take the “King of the River” title. 2013 sees one of the biggest quad fields assembled for the event, with over 20 riders taking up the challenge. Where Brad Smith and John Iuliano are expected to be amongst those to lead the charge.
This year’s scrutiny and parade was earmarked as a time to reflect on the recent passing of two of Western Australia’s icons. All involved in the event took a moment to pause and consider the lives of Ivan Erceg and Paul Burt.
With scrutiny completed and drivers briefed, the Carnarvon main street came alive, with locals and supporters crowding to vantage points to watch the 100+ entrants parade their way around the Carnarvon town centre. Providing onlookers a spectacular chance to view the bikes, quads, trucks, buggies and 4WD’s up-close before they hit the desert.
Event chief Paul Kelly is excited to see the event unfold this year. After 12 months of planning the Western Australia community has banded together to forge a strong event. Kelly was proud to state that he believes “the Gascoyne Dash now has the longest prologue in Australia”, a 20km circuit at the Carnarvon Race Course featuring compact sand; jumps to huck both bikes and buggies off; loamy corners and straights that will see “the vehicles finding top gear and the bikes throttling out”.
After prologue winds up on Friday in town, competitors, teams and event organizers will pack up and road trip the whole show east to the Gascoyne Junction hub where competitors will set up camp under the stars before racing will commence Saturday morning at 7:00am.
Saturday’s racing will see the CAMS Race cars meet a green flag at 7am, with the bikes and quads leaving a couple of hours later at 10:30am. The top drivers and riders are expected to take around 2 hours to complete the 198km course, which includes short sections of river sand, sand dunes, station tracks and climbs into the harsh Kennedy Ranges. Sunday will see the racing continue at Bidgemia Station, with a second loop of the track, which will be modified overnight to include a whooping 55kms of river to test the metal of man and machine.