Brad Gallard with navigators Scott Modistach and Todd Casey have tamed what is arguably Australia’s toughest offroad track this weekend, taking victory at the Albins ARB Goondiwindi 400 in their #454 Toyo Geiser Truck. The victory sealed back to back wins at Goondiwindi for the South Australian, with Gallard finishing the 400km race in a time of 4 hours, 8 min 00 sec. A mammoth 15min ahead of the second placed Glenn Owen and Matt Ryan in the #30 Jimco Pro Buggy. Dan Bonnor and Richard Clapham were another team to go back to back on the Goondiwindi podium, finishing third outright again in the #954 GET ProBuggy, a further 3min 41 sec behind Owen.
The weekend started well for Gallard, posting the quickest time in the prologue which included an excursion through a fenceline at the end of the famous Malapunyah Run, which resembles an offroad rollercoaster with its massive whoops and melon holes. However the Top Ten Shoot Out saw the ARB AORRS leader Glenn Owen hit back and take pole position, with Gallard locking in second on the grid for the start of the main race. Griffith’s Andy Ryan was third, ahead of the Sunshine Coast’s Jared Melville in fourth and Gundy local Michael Napier in fifth driving the #68 Mendeola.
However by the end of Saturday afternoons first lap of the 80km course the Toyo Tires #454 truck had stamped its authority on the event, monstering the melon holes and opening up a 28 second lead over #30 Owen and #68 Napier. Then on the first of Sundays four laps Gallard took advantage of the dust free run at the front of the field and opened the taps on the 6 litre V8, adding another 4 minutes to his lead, a trend that would continue for the rest of the day. Napier was battling hard with Owen for second place on the road until the service break on Sunday, when his engine expired in the pits ending his race.
After 400km of racing, it was an elated Gallard and Casey which emerged from the cab of the #454 Toyo truck at the finishline. “We absolutely loved the track, if there was another race here next weekend we would be back.”
“We just got quicker and quicker, the faster we went the better the truck handled it. We ran all four laps today on those rear tyres and the Toyo’s held up perfectly and gripped right to the end and we couldn’t ask for anything more. There is no doubt I did my best to hurt them, hitting some stumps and yesterday we went through some fence posts, droppers and trees and the tyres didn’t end up with a mark on them.” said Gallard, continuing “We lost first gear on the first day, but we didn’t need to use it all today as we only used it on the start line. We got away in second and didn’t look back. The engine ran strong and didn’t miss a beat. The reliability is back along with the pace.”
Behind Owen and Bonnor in the second and third respectively was Warialda’s Terry Rose and Shane Egan in fourth driving their #11 Jimco, while the Sunshine Coast’s Tony Fehlaber and Garry Howell were fifth outright and first in the ultra-competitive Prolite Class.
Danny Brown and George Apted looked to be home and hosed in third outright until their steering rack broke at the end of Malapunyah Run with just 200 metres to go in the #442 Monster Energy Trophy Truck. In an impressive display for determination they repaired the truck trackside to limp across the finish line in 11th outright.
Victorians Darryl Smith and Michael Matthews were the Super 1650 class winners in the #201 Alumicraft. Queenslanders dominated the tin top classes with Paul Youman and Mitch Marsden winning Performance 2WD in their #506 Hilux, Clayton and Rob Chapman took yet another Production 4WD Class win in the #701 red Mitsubishi Triton while Myles Newbon and Ashley Nicholls took the Extreme 4WD Class honours in the #822 Hercules Hilux (Featured in the current edition of Dirtcomp). Ian Paltridge was the sole entrant in the UTV Class and was forced to retire during Sunday mornings racing with a CV failure.
The Goondiwindi melon holes have a reputation for being brutal and the Aus4WD Class 8 of Sandy Bowman and Daniel Hardman felt the full force of their wrath. End for end rolling their Patrol at 150kph in a death defying display of aerial antics. The crew were both admitted to hospital and transferred to Brisbane, but are pleased to report both Sandy and Daniel have been discharged from hospital this morning. We wish them a speedy recovery.
The Albins ARB Goondiwindi 400 was round three of the new ARB Australian Off Road Racing Series and Glenn Owen now takes a huge lead into the fourth and final round, the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro held in South Australia during September.
Look out for the full report and pics in Dirtcomp soon!