Matt Hanson and Leigh Wells have notched up their first AORC victory of the year in the #Aus1 Snap SMU Jimco at the final round of the championship, the TJM ProLocker Lockyer 300 held in South East Queensland on the weekend. Hanson built a huge 5 min 31 sec lead on Saturdays first section and while others charged, Hanson kept his cool to finish the 300km race in an overall time of 4hr 58min 53sec, to not only secure the win but also take third outright in the 2013 AORC.
“We’ve had a really good run at the front of the field from the outset here at Lockyer Valley,” said Hanson. “To get the fastest time in prologue and then be able to capitalise on that is the ideal way to round out the year.”
Finishing second outright, 4min 54sec behind Hanson was Shannon and Ian Rentsch in the #33 SR Racing Jimco. With the championship at stake Rentsch took a conservative approach on Saturday, before opening the taps on the tight and technical course on Sunday to not only leap into second outright but nail down his sixth Australian Off Road Championship title.
“To win a sixth Championship means a lot to all of us. It definitely has been one of our better years. We have been really consistent, and the lowest position we’ve finished is second, so we’ve got to be really happy with that,” said Rentsch.
Third outright was the Queensland based team of Ryan Taylor and Josh Curran in the #24 Uni-Industries Tatum. Plagued with brake gremlins through out the event, Taylor drew on his experience to thread the V8 powered Tatum through the trees to maintain his place on the podium.
Michael Marson and Steve Gates continued their good form from the 4th round of the AORC at Coffs Harbour in the #32 Racer and were rewarded with fourth outright, ahead of Port Pirie’s #18 Hayden Bentley in fifth outright. The solid performance on the weekend saw the “King of the Desert” Hayden Bentley finish second outright in the 2013 AORC.
“All in all the year’s gone really well, we were on the podium for the first three races, and then getting a fifth place at Coffs Harbour still wasn’t too bad when we had brake issues, but we’ve still be strong and consistent when it comes to the Championship and that’s what has helped us in the end. “ said Hayden Bentley
Focused on securing the AORC Prolite Class title, Andrew Mowles and Matt Ryan powered their Aussie built #135 Razorback into sixth outright on the final lap to take the event class win and seal the Prolite Championship. While Amanda Simpson, who navigates for her father, Garry in the #140 Alumicraft took out the AORC Prolite Class Navigator honours.
The pace of the naturally aspirated 3500cc Prolites this year has continued to see them strike at the outright podium and the TJM ProLocker Lockyer 300 was no exception. Tony Fehlaber and Shane Muma looked certain to take the Prolite victory and a podium finish, until an electrical gremlin forced the #138 Chenowth to the side of the track twenty kilometres in to the final lap. The Sunshine Coast based team had been the quickest car on course in section two, and were enjoying a dust free run at the front of the field when the alternator failed.
Neville Taylor and Andrew Lenton powered the #6 GET Performance Pro Buggy to seventh outright. Capping off a good weekend for Team Taylor, with Nev’s son Ryan breaking through for his first AORC podium as a driver.
The battle between the #210 Lothringer of Chris Browning and Chris Clarke and the #203 Cougar of Russell and Judy Hartnett was one of the highlights of the weekends racing. The first two laps saw Browning with his nose just 0.6 seconds in front of Hartnett and on Sunday he managed to gradually inch ahead of a determined Hartnett, who continued to snap at his heels. On completion of all six laps it was Browning and Clarke who took the event honours and 8th outright, ahead of the husband and wife team in 9th outright. Completing all three sections ensured Russell and Judy Hartnett locked up the AORC Super 1650 title for 2013.
Paul Youman and Mitch Marsden dominated the Performance 2WD Class in their 5.7 litre powered Hilux. “The Hillbillies” quickly became a crowd favourite as they launched the truck high off the jumps, lap after lap. Going on to win the class and finish tenth outright ahead of the #524 Ranger of Dan Osinski and Tony Midgley in 12th outright. On Saturday afternoon Scott Gould, with stand-in navigator Leanne Walker, banked the final points required to take out the AORC Performance 2wd Class Championship in the #502 Maverick Offroad Racing Rodeo. While currently overseas, Gould’s regular navigator Matt Haywood had clocked up enough points earlier in the season to become the champion navigator for the class.
Geoff Pickering and Dylan Watson revelled in the tight and technical conditions to comfortably win the Production 4WD Class in their trademark red #711 Mitsubishi Pajero. The win decisively wrapped up the 2013 AORC Production 4WD Class Championship for the team, and the tenth title for Geoff Pickering who has no plans on retiring from the sport he loves anytime soon. While there were no finishers in the Extreme 4WD Class, Stuart and Jim Zlotkowski bagged enough points in section one to earn them the #801 plate and the 2013 Extreme 4WD Class title.
The new UTV Class has continued to gain popularity during the 2013 season. Graham and Wendy Moohin were the quickest of the five entrants, taking their #625 Polaris XP900 to the UTV Class win.
After putting on a spectacular display at the launch of the TJM PRO LOCKER- LOCKYER 300 at the Gatton Showgrounds on Friday night in the Extreme 2WD #441 Geddit Racing Trophy Truck, Billy Geddes and Jamie Ward prologued 8th and were circulating inside the top ten until a slipping oil pump belt pushed them back into 24th on Saturday night. On Sunday morning they picked up the pace to be 7th quickest in section two, until a faulty oil pump forced them to retire. The rare DNF had no bearing on their championship aspirations, with consistent performances throughout the season seeing Geddes and Ward head into the event with the Extreme 2WD Championship all sealed up.
The final round of the Australian Off Road Championship, the TJM PRO LOCKER- LOCKYER 300 was held in and around the picturesque valley and foothills of the Mulgowie area in Queensland. Nestled between the two major regional centres of Ipswich and Toowoomba, Mulgowie is an hour drive from the Brisbane CBD and outer Gold Coast areas.