Mark Burrows has been crowned the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Champion (AORC) for the eighth time in his career after coming third in the 2019 Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro.
In what were extremely difficult conditions after a rain plagued lead up and the cancellation of the first day of action, a number of drivers failed to start and finish the reduced event as it eventually became a survival of the fittest.
For the second time in three years, Greg Gartner took the top step in the AORC season finale, while Dale Martin and Leigh Wells finished in second, despite crossing the line first, after having their compulsory pit stop times added to their total time.
With nine-time AORC champions Shannon and Ian Rentsch leaving the buggy in the trailer and Stephen Graham a late withdrawal, the battle for the championship opened up as the father-son team went into Sunday’s action with just needing to finish to win the title.
Their task became a whole lot easier when a number of big fish fell on the first lap including Josh Howells and Toby Whateley, who had an unfortunate collision after Howells spun out and Whateley couldn’t avoid him.
As more and more drivers were unable to handle the muddy track, including more title prospects in Matthew Martin and Nick Jackson, the Burrows just kept their heads cool and tried nothing silly, crossing the line in third outright and taking out the title.
“We weren’t sure how things were going to turn out this morning with all the wet weather but the last couple of laps were ok after a very slippery morning,”
“It was tough day at the office but the outcome has been excellent. It was business at usual, I knew the conditions were going to be tough so we just drove to finish and won the championship.
“I would like to thank all my crew who have been here all weekend, my family and my sponsors, including BFGoodrich. It’s been a great year and can’t wait to celebrate it tonight.”
As a result of the title contenders failing to finish the event which had more points on offer, the remaining championship positions on the podium went to a few surprise packets as Peter Carr finished the year in second outright after coming sixth, while Alan Henson’s finish saw him tally enough points to grab third place in the championship.
Despite Burrows taking centre stage after winning his eighth title, 18 years after his last taste of silverware, as well as Carr and Henson enjoying maiden appearances on the AORC podium, the day still belonged to another champion of the sport as Gartner deservedly won the challenging season finale, a win he would savour.
“We had a good run two years ago, endured some tough times last year but today it all came together for us,” Gartner said.
“It had its challenges all day but we got home first and the track is really good at the moment. Unfortunately the farmers need rain and they got rain, which is more important than anything else.
“At the end of the day they ran the event and we came in first so we are rapt.
“We spun out a few times and everyone ran out of rags to wipe their helmet, including us, we had the visor up for the race to see but once the cars got through the deep wet areas, it became better for us. The track is really good at the moment because once that clay dried out a bit, we got a bit little bit of speed out of it.”
Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro Top 10
1. Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings
2. Dale Martin/Lee Wells
3. Mark Burrows/Matthew Burrows
4. Phil Lovett / Luke Stanton
5. Gregory Gualandi / Matt Simpson
6. Roydn Bailey / Keke Falland
7. Peter Carr / Matt Wyndham
8. Greg Campbell / Josh Bennett
9. Allen Henson / Luke Shadbolt
10. Craig Pankhurst / Penny Pankhurst
2019 BFGoodrich CAMS AORC Top 5 Drivers After 3 Rounds
1. Mark Burrows
2. Peter Carr
3. Allen Henson
4. Roydn Bailey
5. Greg Campbell
Event Report: CAMS / Michael Stratus
Photos: CAMS / Show ‘N’ Go Photography