Round 3 of the Australian Off Road Championship, round 2 of the South Australian Off Road Championship and round 4 of the SAORRA MULTI CLUB Series gets underway today in South Australia as a record 98 competitors will line up for the popular Waikerie-based Toyo Tires Riverland Enduro.
While reigning champions Shannon and Ian Rentsch lead the championship hunt, it will be the battles for the minor placings and the classes that fans and competitors alike will want to keep an eye on, with this weekend being the penultimate event for 2015 championship before the title is decided in Coffs Harbour (NSW) in September.
Last year’s Waikerie event winner, local SA racer Jack Rhodes (#91) from Rhodes Racing, will be one Pro Buggy to put the pressure on the Rentsches – after most recently finishing a strong second placing at the Tatts Finke Desert Race in June – as well as teammate Dave Fellows (#92). While Michael Marson (#32) who sits second in the championship is currently having one of his strongest racing seasons to date and will be looking for a solid points haul to maintain his high placing in the championship.
Joining Rhodes as former winners at Waikerie are five time champ, Garry Turnbull (1993, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2005), Jeff Loader (1996), Scott Modistach (1999, 2005), Lindsay Foster (2006), Brett Taylor (2009) and Aaron Haby (2011-2013).
Early standouts from last year’s event, Tanner James (#94) and the Haby brothers, Carl (#56) and Aaron (#57), will be other local SA racers to keep a close watch on. Plus a bumper field of SA trophy truck heavyweights will hit the track in force including Brad Gallard (#454), Greg Gartner (#402) and Hayden Bentley (#418).
The Prolite Buggy battle will have a hungry pack of class racers to contend with including class champion Tony Fehlhaber (#101), Matt Martin (#102) and 2013 class champion Andrew Mowles (#135).
Plus many of the class winners from Finke will be keen to maintain their recent successes including Steven Sanderson (#403) for Extreme 2WD, Paul Youman (#501) for Performance 2WD and Geoff Pickering (#701)for Production 4WD.
Waikerie is located in the Riverland of South Australia just two hours east of Adelaide, and a little over two hours west of Mildura on the banks of the Murray River. Recent heavy rains in the region have made for a favourable track for racing with little dust expected over the weekend.
This afternoon (July 24) saw official scrutineering being held at the Waikerie Oval on Peake Terrace from 4-8pm, where all competitor vehicles were on display for fans to get up close to and to mingle with the drivers.
Tomorrow Saturday July 25 sees full reconnaissance held from 8am before the 6km Caudo Vineyards Sangria Prologue kicks off at 12.30pm, followed by the Sprint Freight & Logistics Top 10 Shootout where the fastest competitor will be awarded the ARMOR ALL Pole Position award and cheque. The fan-favourite River Murray Auto Wreckers Dash for Cash will also be held on Saturday afternoon before five laps of racing in earnest begins at 9am on Sunday July 26.