Round 4 of the 2019 Comeup Extreme Winch Challenge Series was held at the Springs 4×4 Park in south east Queensland, just south of Warwick. Stage one was a speed stage that would get competitors ready for the other nine full on stages and get the blood pumping. Paul Semmens and Nathan Mills of Team Ranga were the first away and set a blinding pace in their GU Patrol. But they would be beaten by the Wyong Automatic Transmissions Toyota Landcruiser of Rod and Josh Rathbone, who were fastest on stage and looked like being one of the favourites to take the win for the weekend.
In stage 2 though, Semmens and Mills would strike back to take the stage win. It was looking like being a battle royale between the Nissan based Team Ranga and the Rathbone Father and Son team in the FJ Toyota. The Rathbones would win Stage 3 and were now 2 to 1 against their Nissan rivals But for Team Ranga, it all went wrong in the last night stage, were they didn’t fare as well, rolling the GU Nissan Patrol and scoring a DNF.
The Father and son team of Dave and Pat Burrows were 2nd on stage 2, setting them up for a good position in the weekend’s competition, and 3rd was another father and son team, this time Peter and Jaydon Jilg in the Jilg Racing GQ Patrol.
With 7 stages planned for Saturday, there was plenty more action to come and it became a day of attrition and dramas. Peter and Jayden Jilg were the first to have issues, breaking a winch rope. But it was more than just the rope, the winch itself was making some pretty horrible noises and with the GQ Patrol precariously balanced on a rock ledge, they needed assistance from another truck to lower them to the bottom. Their winch was fried! With no way of fixing the broken winch components, they were out of the winching action, but were still able to have a run in the speed stage on Saturday Afternoon.
For Dave and Pat Burrows in the FJ45 Farm Truck, they were doing well with very few dramas in the morning only to have an engine issue finish their day during the afternoon stages. Like the Jilg Racing team, the breakdown happened half way up a winch wall and they needed outside assistance to get off the stage. Burrows searched high and low for the problem plaguing the engine, which looked like an electrical gremlin, but to no avail and they were forced to retire.
John Adamson in the 80 series Landcruiser would also have a few electrical gremlins. They were doing quite well throughout the day, only to have a fuel pump issue give them a DNF in the same stage where the farm truck struck electrical dramas. But unlike the Farm, Truck, they were able to find the problem and start the final combined stage 9 and 10.
Jason and Peter Christianson in the GQ patrol were another team doing well. There would drive one of the winch walls in the afternoon to give them a great time over the stage, but getting lost in the speed stage would see them record a DNF when they ran out of time on stage. On the final combined 9/10 stage, they would suffer a winch failure. But they’d done enough for 3rd outright.
For Rod and Josh Rathbone, their Saturday morning didn’t go according to plan, rolling the FJ45 Landcruiser. With only 3 minutes of time remaining on the stage, they couldn’t get it back upright and up the winch wall they’d just rolled down so recorded their first stage DNF. This would setup a great battle in the final stages between the Wyong Autos Team and the Rangas, having now both rolled and scored a stage DNF a piece. The Rathbone Father and son team would come back for the afternoon stages, setting good pace and despite a push to win the event, finished 2nd outright.
With every team having a DNF over the weekend, it levelled the playing field somewhat and the Ranga’s team of Paul Semmens and Nathan Mills were now not disadvantaged by their rollover and DNF on Friday night. With consistent driving and winching throughout Saturday, they’d score enough stage wins and point to win the event in the GU Patrol.
The Comeup XWC heads to Limbri on October 24 for the final and deciding round. For more info on the Comeup XWC, head over to their Facebook page.
Report thanks to John McCredie | OHM Group