Reigning Australian Offroad Racing Champions, David Fellows and Mark Bergamin (#1) picked up where they left off at the end of 2010, winning their second consecutive ARB Pinjarra Engineering Hyden 450 in a time of 4 hours 40min 14.72 seconds. Held over the Easter long weekend in the wind swept wheat fields of Hyden, Western Australia, the race was the first round of the season and Fellows win gives him a head start in the race for the 2011 Australian Off Road Championship.
After securing pole position on Saturday, Fellows surrended the lead on the first lap of Sundays race to West Australian pilot, Travis Robinson, who looked on track to claim his first AORC win. However on the final lap of the day, luck deserted Robinson, who was sidelined with a broken axle, handing the lead and ultimately the ARB Pinjarra Engineering win to Fellows in the #1 Peter Kittle Motorsport Jimco.
Shannon and Ian Rentsch (#33) charged through the field to claim second outright in a time of 04:45:52.86. Finishing just 5min 38.14 sec behind Fellows in the twin turbo V6 SR Racing Jimco. The son and father team started in 11th position after a brake failure during the prologue forced them to be seeded. Third outright was the single seater Jimco of Sydney’s Brad Prout (#3), who kept the pressure on the leaders with his Chevy small block powered machine.
Dan Auricht and Grant Connelly (#2) showed they were once again championship contenders, but were forced to settle for fourth outright in their mid-engined V8 Jimco after a flat tyre early in the race took its toll on their podium aspirations.
The Aussie built Razorback of Aaron James and Brett Plant (#128) locked in fifth outright and the Prolite class win. The Mildura based team put in a flawless performance and once again showed a naturally aspirated V6 can mix it with the twin turbo and V8 powered machinery. Snapping at his heels was Wes Cowie and Travis Milburn (#124), who were lucky to bring their Prolite Jimco home in sixth after a roll during the freak deluge of rain that hit Hyden in the closing stages of the race.
Andrew and Matthew Kittle (#14) brought the second of the Peter Kittle Motorsport Jimco’s home in seventh, ahead of the Prolite Mirage of Tony Fehlaber and Gary Howell (#138). Clayton Chapman and Adam McGuire (871) punched well above their weight, bringing their Extreme 4WD Pajero across the finish line in 9th outright. The top ten finish and class win was just that little bit sweeter after the Queenslanders battled through the final two laps without a clutch and only rear wheel drive.
Les Marshall and Glennys Rose (#105) rounded out the top ten in their Prolite Jimco, ahead of the first local finisher Brad Mudge and Brett Beaton in 11th.
Darryl Smith and Michael Matthews (#201) took the Super 1650 win in their Alumicraft after a hard fought battle with Russell & Judy Hartnett (#245). Both competitors were lucky to finish after greeting the chequered flag with clunky sounding gearboxes. Chris Western and Stewy Bishop (#401) dominated the Extreme 2WD in their Chevy powered Mickey Thompson truck. But had to muscle up to make it to the finish line in the final section of the race after their power steering failed.
As the sun was setting, Matthew Hall and Jason Issac (#799) returned to arena in their GQ Patrol to take the Production 4WD Class win. Jason Galea (#706) had led the class earlier in the day, but a blown engine forced his retirement on the final lap. Greg Pickersgill and Uwe Kreusch (#708) driving an 80 series Landcruiser were second in the production 4WD Class. The black Nissan Patrol of Russ Cullen and Ash Santilli was the final car to complete the entire race distance. Finishing under the cover of darkness with light blazing, Cullen was 18th outright and second in the Extreme 4WD Class.
The Australian Off Road Championship now heads to Alice Springs for Round two of the five round championship. With the red centre hosting the Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race on the Queens Birthday Long Weekend, June 10th-13th.