Greg Gartner Motorsports pulled the covers off a fresh new look for the 2016 Australian Off Road Championship at Mildura last weekend, when it hosted the opening round of the season, the BFGoodrich Tires Sunraysia 600. While the angry Ford V8 prepared by Craig Carrison Race Engines and the Albins ST-6i transmission remained at its core, gone was the trademark blue panel work with the #410 Trophy Truck now sporting a white, red and black R&J Batteries livery.
“Chris Monk from CJM Attachments and the team have poured endless hours into the truck after Griffith, rebuilding the front end and prepping the F-150 to ensure it made the Sunraysia startline. Without their efforts we wouldn’t be here. “ said Greg Gartner
After the fans checked out the truck at Friday nights show and shine at the Riverfront Sound Shell in Mildura, the team headed west to Keera Station for the Prologue, Top Ten Shoot Out and 6 x 100km laps of the main track.
Gartner and Jennings launched out of the blocks hard on Saturday morning in the prologue, with the V8 screaming and the 37” Toyo’s roosting the red Sunraysia dirt high in the air. Smashing the whoops and flying high off the jumps, Gartner clocked an impressive 8min 32.655sec to lock in a spot in the shoot out. On the second pass he shaved just short of two seconds off his time to maintain 8th on the grid and be the first Extreme 2wd away.
Gartner’s positive form continued on Saturday afternoons first two laps, as he made the V8 sing in the R&J Batteries Truck and put the Pro Buggies on notice as he charged his way to 6th in the dry, dusty conditions.
10k’s in to Sundays final 4 lap section, it became apparent that it would be a testing day at the office. “It was like the truck woke up with a cold” said Greg “In the first 10 kilometres the engine had a misfire and was off song. We pulled into the pits at the 50k mark and then headed back out and pushed hard to try and make up some time. We finished the first two laps, with a few stops in the pits as we battled with cooling and the fans cutting in and out. But were forced to call it a day 10km into lap3 after the restart, with the problem narrowed down to the ECU.”
“It was disappointing for our race to end due to an ECU failure. There was a great field of 80 competitors and we were happy to be in the leading pack. The engine, gearbox and suspension all felt 110% and I can’t wait to get it up to Finke.”
Congratulations to Macca Kittle and Jordon Johannsen on winning their first AORC round at the BFGoodrich Tires Sunraysia 600. Thanks to the Sunraysia Motorsport Club for organising the event and to Ivan Robertson for making a great property like Keera Station available for us to race on.
Greg Gartner Motorsport will continue to kick up the dust with a return to a happy hunting ground, the Tatts Finke Desert Race up next, before a return to the tar later in the year behind the wheel of the R&J Batteries Stadium Super Truck.
The Greg Gartner Motorsport #410 Ford F-150 Trophy Truck is supported by R&J Batteries, ATI Industrial, Craig Carrision Race Engines, JB Irrigation, CJM Attachments, Toyo Tyres Australia, CAPPA Motorbodies and Albins.
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