AORC 2010 Round One – Hyden
The 2010 Australian Off Road Championship kicked off in style in the West Australian wheat belt over the Easter long weekend, with David Fellows and Mark Bergamin taking victory at the ARB Pinjarra Engineering Hyden 450. Fellows with his rookie navigator alongside, broke Peter Kittle Motorsports recent drought at the season opener by leading the race from start to finish and establishing a solid launching pad for their 2010 championship assault in the process.
Behind Fellow’s twin turbo charged Toyota Jimco the race for the two remaining podium places was fierce. Danny Auricht, Paul Gilbert and Beau Robinson were all in the hunt early, but it was the flamboyant local hot shots, Travis Robinson and Paul Currie who consistently presented the biggest threat to Fellows. Robinson pushed his V8 Jimco to the limit, with not even a roll over in the prologue stemming his charge towards second place on the podium. While NSW based pilot, Brad Prout, made a successful return to the championship, taking third outright in his brand new mid-engined V8 single seater Jimco.
The leader board was presented with the unfamiliar sight of Shannon Rentsch sliding up and down the placings like a yo-yo. A tyre blow out during the prologue saw the reigning Australian Champion start the race in 10th place on the grid, before he blasted his way into second on adjusted time during the first leg of the race to Hyden. A navigational error on the return leg then saw Rentsch slip back in to tenth, a position from which he worked himself back into podium contention until another flat tyre relegated him to 6th outright behind Danny Auricht in fourth and Beau Robinson in fifth.
The ARB Pinjarra Engineering Hyden 450 continued to be a happy hunting ground for Steven Sanderson. Who slipped his V6 Jimco into 9th outright and took line honours in the Prolite Class ahead of Rick Bramley and Justin Watt. The new Saber of Alan Geradi locked in 4th, just ahead of Andrew Mowles recently unveiled Prolite Razorback. The Super 1650 Class is becoming the last bastion of the beam buggies in the AORC, with Gerald Reid and Peter Stevenson setting some spectacular lap times early in the event. However as the race unfolded and the track started to chop up, the rock solid Jarvi A-Arm of Werner Zettl took control of the Super 1650 class. Greeting the chequered flag two minutes ahead of Stevenson’s Rivmasta and six minutes in front of Reid’s Chenowth in third.
Chris Western dominated the Extreme 2WD category in his Mickey Thompson Chevy Truck, finishing the race in just under 5 hours. Second in class was the father and son team of Glen and Jay Ward in their entertaining DeTomaso Pantera. In the Performance 2WD Class, consistency and reliability paid off for the Hosking’s, who took their Ford Ranger to the class win. The Triton of Clohesy and Navara of Loader had both led the class at different stages of the weekend, but failed to complete the entire race distance.
The entries in the Production and Extreme 4WD Classes are also starting to grow rapidly. Matt Hall and Ted Shultz were circulating quickly in the WAORC component of the race, but it was Clayton Chapman who drove the majority of the race with no clutch to take the AORC Production Class win, ahead of Tanya and Ian French’s 80 Series Landcruiser. In the Extreme 4WD Class it was the Queensland based teams of Chapman and Hunter that went toe to toe. As the race unfolded, Rob Chapman got the nose of his Mitsubishi Pajero in front of Hunter’s V8 Jeep and held on to take the class win. Russ Cullen gave his Perth 4×4 Sootchucker GQ Patrol Ute a punishing, to lock down third in the Extreme 4WD Class.
As the dust settles from the ARB Pinjarra Engineering Hyden 450, the teams will start to focus on Round 2 of the Australian Off Road Championship, the Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race. Which will be held in Alice Springs on the Queens Birthday Long Weekend, June 11th-14th.