As the dust settles at the Glenugie State Forest, north of Coffs Harbour, upon completion of Round 4 of the 2013 Australian Off Road Championship – the Coates Hire Rally Australia Off Road – the Townsville based team of Geoff Pickering has secured their tenth Australian Off Road Championship in the Production 4 Wheel Drive Class.
In an event which saw a return to the ‘older style track’ of ten or more years ago, where reliability, preparation, handling and sturdy construction have more influence upon finishing than horsepower and top speed, Pickering’ Mitsubishi Pajero was in its element. The very tight, twisty and undulating 55 km course ‘track’, with its very close proximity to the surrounding forest, took a serious toll on any unwary or over confidant competitor. With eight laps of the course held in three sections over a two day race weekend, there were only twelve competitors from a field of thirty two quality race vehicles from the cream of the Australian off road racing fraternity, which completed the entire race distance within the allocated time. The list of competitors who failed to finish the event due to altercations with the ‘scenery’ was long and distinguished.
Pickering’ Mitsubishi Pajero, most ably navigated by Dylan Watson (in what was his first time in a true forest style event), finished the event unscathed and ready to do it all again. Pickering “relished a return to the older style track”, which also saw the team claim tenth outright for the event.
With one event to complete, the Lockyer 300 on the 25-27 October, near Ipswich, Qld., in the five race 2013 AORC season, Pickering and his team have and unassailable lead in the Production 4WD Class – with wins at the Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race, NT., and the Coates Hire Rally Australia Off Road, Coffs Harbour, NSW., as well as a heat win at the Bentley’s Cabin Park – Flinders 450 at Baroota, SA..
The outright winner of the event was the Outer Bounds Racing combination of Travis Robinson and Paul Currie in a Jimco Pro Racing Machine, with Shannon and Ian Rentsch second and Jared Melville and Kurt March third – both in similar machines. In what was a very tight finish, Melville and Kurt lead most of the event while being chased down, only to succumb to a flat tyre on the final lap and to have Robinson and Currie prevail over the Rentsch combination by just 32.25 seconds.
The final event for the 2013 AORC season is the TJM Pro Locker – Lockyer 300, to be held at Mulgowie, Queensland, in the Mulgowie/Thornton and Laidley region of the Lockyer Valley, west of Ipswich.