Australia’s leading offroad racers will launch into Goondiwindi on August 22-24, for the fourth exciting round of the ARB Off Road Racing Series. Famous for its exciting terrain the Albins ARB Goondiwindi 400 has attracted over 50 teams that are travelling from as far as South Australia and Victoria to take on the Queenslanders in their own backyard.
Leading the charge for the Albins ARB Goondiwindi 400 chequered flag will be the reigning champs, Brad Gallard and Scott Modistach in their V8 powered #454 Toyo Tires Trophy Truck. Fresh from finishing third at the Riverland Enduro in July and with outright wins at Goondiwindi in 2012 and 2013 under their belt, the South Australian based team can’t wait to get the big Geiser truck out amongst the Goondiwindi melon holes and target three wins in a row.
Standing in the way of the spectacular trucks will be a fleet of twin turbo charged and V8 buggies, headlined by ARB Series leader Carl Haby in the #56 Element Prodigy buggy. While the #91 Exact Mining Jimco and its driver, Jack Rhodes will make their first appearance at Goondiwindi. Rhodes brings some good form to the event, with outright wins in the last three races he’s entered, the Riverland Enduro, Griffith 400 and the Offroad Masters. Dan Bonnor is another to return to Gundy with runs on the board, with podium finishes in 2012 and 2013 in his #954 GET Pro Buggy. Danny Brown, Matt Owen, Michael Collins and Aaron James will be others to watch for the outright lead.
Sizing up alongside Gallard in the Extreme 2WD Trophy Truck ranks are the current ARB class combatants Ivan Robertson in his #471 Micklefab Raptor and Goondiwindi local, Jamie Knight in his bright red #439 Chevy. While former Finke “King of the Desert” Greg Gartner returns to take battle with the Gundy melon holes for the first time in years, behind the wheel of his Ford F-150 Trophy Truck.
The Prolite Class is well stocked and ready to cause an upset, with the 3500cc naturally aspirated buggies of #131 Andrew McClelland and #150 Luke Erceg already sitting second and third outright respectively on the series leader board. While Shanny Fitzgerald will have a battle with Molloy, Duff, Phillips and Power in the Super1650 category. Aaron Nicoll is the sole Sportsman competitor. The 2WD and 4WD tin top classes continue to be well supported. Ash Weinart and Bernie Clohesy lock horns in the Performance 2wd class. Five Mitsubishi’s fill the Production 4WD ranks and in the Extreme 4WD class, Kerry Turley who is currently leading the class in the ARB Series will have to contend with Steve Kildey, Clayton Chapman, Matt Dunk and co in the 10 strong field. The two Polaris RZR 1000’s of Phillis and Weissel will battle it out for the UTV honours.
While Jamie and Symon Knight fly the flag for Goondiwindi in the Extreme 2WD category, locals also feature prominently on the buggy side of the entry list. In outright contention, Joe Bulmer and Wayne Bell will pilot the #36 V8 powered Jimco, while Mick and Karen Napier will be looking for better luck this year after they destroyed an engine on their #68 Mendeola when they were running second in 2013. Upgrading to a new car during the off-season, Mick and Lisa Phillips will look forward to their first Gundy 400 in an A-Arm Super 1650 when they meet the green on Saturday morning in the #242 Alumicraft. Amongst the Extreme 4WD’s, Steven Donpon and Paul Vann are sized up to make their debut at the race in their recently acquired turbo charged Mitsubishi L200.
The Goondiwindi Motorsport Association is proud the event is not only part of the ARB Off Road Racing Series but also the third round of the Queensland Off Road Championship. The event is currently the longest established Queensland round on the calendar and has continued to be well supported, with 29 entries Queensland based teams.
The Albins Offroad Goondiwindi 400 will launch on Friday night at the Goondiwindi Showgrounds from 4pm, with scrutiny and a show and shine until 8pm. Held in a festival atmosphere, it will be a great opportunity to meet the drivers and grab an autograph before they hit the dirt. Racing commences on Saturday morning 20 km east from Goondiwindi just off the Cunningham Hwy on Kerimbilla Lane. The venue provides an unrivalled perspective of Malypunyah Run, one of the most exciting pieces of offroad racetrack on the planet, where the big horsepower trucks and buggies dance through the big melon holes and whoops with the throttle pined. With live commentary and refreshments on sale, spectators will be able to sit back and watch the race for the championship unfold.
The green flag will drop at 10.00am on Saturday morning for the Prologue and Goondiwindi Tyre Service Top Ten Shoot Out which will get the blood pumping before the big desert racers stretch their legs that afternoon with one lap of the long course. Racing kicks off again at 8am on Sunday morning, which will see the race cars tackle another 4 laps of the 80km course.