Rentsch wins back to back AORC titles at TJM Lockyer 300

Shannon and Ian Rentsch have successfully defended their Australian Off Road Championship crown after winning their seventh career Aus #1 title behind the wheel of the Hogs Breath Cafe / BFGoodrich Tires Jimco at the TJM Lockyer 300 in Queensland last weekend.

Shannon and Ian Rentsch flying to their seventh AORC title

Equaling the record of legendary Pro Buggy steerer Mark Burrows, the reigning champions secured their seventh title on what is the 10th anniversary of their first Championship victory back in 2004. The father and son team have won Championships back-to-back starting from 2004-2006, then 2008-2009, and now 2013-2014.

Heading into the weekend, three competitors were in contention for the title, including Rentsch, Tonka Outer Bounds Racing’s Beau Robinson and Ken Skinner (#402) and Rhodes Racing’s Jack Rhodes and David Pullino (#91).

Rentsch started the weekend in front after winning their first pole position of the season, ahead of championship rival Jack Rhodes and local hot shot Michael Collins in the #12 Chenowth.

“We knew the prologue would be important here because it was dusty and tight. We decided to go for it and won the prologue.” Said Rentsch

Rentsch maintained the upper hand during Saturday afternoons first two lap section. Setting up a 13.4sec lead over Rhodes heading in to the overnight break. Meanwhile the #138 Karcher Prolite of Fehlhaber and Howell had been one of the big movers of the day, leaping from 6th on the grid to third on the road.

On Sunday morning Rhodes bounced back during section two, and blasted away from the startline for the final two laps with a slender lead on Rentsch.

Jack Rhodes led the field away heading into the final section

“It’s been close between us all weekend.” said Rentsch, “Going into the last two laps there was only 5 sec between us and it was going to be on for young and old and an exciting finish. But unfortunately for Jack he got a flat tyre and it took the pressure off us. ”

Shannon and Ian Rentsch crossed the finishline in an overall time of 4 hours 32min 51.247sec to not only take the outright win at the TJM Lockyer 300, but seal their seventh AORC title. It was the Victorian team’s fifth straight podium finish and third outright event win this year, including the iconic Tatts Finke Desert Race and the Pedders Suspension Coffs Coast 400.

“It was great to get a seventh championship win. It is a little but hard to believe we have equaled Mark Burrows record of seven AORC titles. Mark is someone who we have always looked up to from the start.” Said Rentsch

Run on private land at Mulgowie, approximately 100km west of Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley’s dry and dusty conditions tested competitors to the limit as they threaded their way through the tree-lined course.

After 300km of racing it was Jack Rhodes and David Pullino who finished second outright in the #91 Jimco. A flat tyre just 2km into the final section when they were leading the race robbed the South Australian team to secure their second AORC win of the season.

Despite pressure from #24 Ryan Taylor and #110 Shawn Swaffield, Tony Fehlhaber and Garry Howell drove flawlessly in their #138 Prolite Chenowth to finish the event in third outright. It was the Queenslanders first AORC podium and the Prolite Class win delivered them the 2014 AORC Prolite Class Championship.

In the outright championship chase, South Australian Jack Rhodes locked up second overall for 2014 with his second place at the final round, the TJM Lockyer 300. In his best AORC season to date Rhodes went from strength to strength, securing his first AORC podium, second outright at the Tatts Finke Desert Race, before taking his maiden outright victory at round 3, the Toyo Tires Riverland Enduro in South Australia.

“The result this year in the championship to get second is awesome. It is great to give something back to the team who put so much in to support it all. Hopefully this year has been a stepping stone to maybe some more higher finishes next year.”

Beau Robinson launching the Tonka Trophy Truck high off the TJM Lockyer 300 jumps

Third outright in the 2014 Australian Off Road Championship was West Australian Beau Robinson, pilot of the #402 Tonka Outer Bounds Racing Trophy Truck. Robinson proved to be a force all season in the V8 powered Geiser Bros TT, winning round 1 on his home turf in Kalgoorlie and backed it up with Extreme 2WD Class winning performances at Finke and Lockyer.

“It is a great feeling to win the Class Championship and to finish 3rd in the outright Championship,” said Beau.

Tony Fehlhaber wrapped up his maiden AORC Prolite Championship in style – finishing third on the podium at the TJM Lockyer 300

The final round in Queensland also saw many of the AORC class titles going down to the wire. Attack proved to be the best form of defence for Tony Fehlhaber and Garry Howell in the race for the AORC Prolite honours. The duo pushed their #138 Karcher Chenowth to the limit until they greeted the chequered flag at Lockyer, to keep the #121 Raceco of close rivals Matt and Kerri Martin at bay.

Chris Browning continued to dominate the Super 1650 category

Chris Browning and Chris Clarke had the Super 1650 AORC class title completely sewn up prior to starting the final round at Lockyer, with class wins at Finke, the Riverland Enduro and Coffs. Determined to finish the season on a high Browning charged from the outset in the #202 CnC Lothringer, to be the quickest of his class mates through the trees all weekend to take the Super 1650 class win.

The gladiatorial battle for the Extreme 2WD class honours between the trucks of #402 Beau Robinson/Ken Skinner and #403 Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings continued at the TJM Lockyer 300. Gartner had arrived in Queensland on a high after a dominating performance at round 4 in Coffs. However Robinson still held the balance of power with class wins at Kalgoorlie and Finke, setting up an epic decider.

When the lights went green on Saturday morning Robinson quickly gained the upper hand when a small transmission fire sidelined Gartner’s Ford F-150 TT. However on Sunday morning Gartner was back in action, unleashing the power of his V8 on the narrow forestry tracks and farmland in the Valley to take the section two win. Meanwhile power steering issues forced Robinson to limp his truck back to the section two finishline, setting up a frantic service interval to repair the truck in time for final two laps of the season. Gartner streaked out of the arena ahead of Robinson, but failed to make the finishline with transmission issues. Leaving Robinson and Skinner to take the Extreme 2WD Class honours for Lockyer and seal the 2014 Extreme 2WD AORC Championship.

Paul Youman did enough to seal the AORC Performance 2wd class championship
Dan Osinski was rewarded with the Performance 2wd class win at the final round of the championship

After finishing second in the Performance 2WD Class in 2013, Queenslands Paul Youman and Mitch Marsden were determined to go one place better in 2014. With class leading performances earlier in the season, Youman banked enough points in sections 1 & 2 to claim the coveted #501 number plate. Despite taking a well deserved class win in the #503 TJM Ford Ranger at the final round, Dan Osinski and Joe Butterworth were forced to settle for second in the class championship.

Clayton Chapman once again showed glimpses of the amazing pace possible in the #871 Mitsubish Triton.
Luke Ayers was another first time AORC Class winner at the TJM Lockyer 300 – winning the Extreme 4WD Category

The Extreme 4WD decider proved to be a battle of the fittest, with Luke Ayers and Josh Attard overcoming a major engine miss on Saturday to win the category in their #841 V8 powered 70 series Landcruiser. Earlier in the weekend #871 Clayton Chapman and Adam McGuire were quick out of the blocks, but a flat tyre then a loss of rear drive forced their retirement on completion of section 2. #802 Colin Hunter and Simon Campbell failed to finish section one on Saturday, but returned to the track on Sunday to post some quick lap times and gain valuable Championship points in their Dodge Dakota. However they were unable to overhaul the #871 Mitsubishi Triton on the leaderboard, leaving Clayton Chapman and Adam Mcguire to add an AORC Extreme 4WD Class Championship title, next to the Production 4WD Class Championships won in 2009 & 2010.

Little split the Mitsubishi’s of #777 Drew Corocan / Tony Nikora and #701 Geoff Pickering / Dylan Watson heading into the final round. Behind on championship points, Pickering stamped his authority on the final round early, while Corocan was forced to retire in the closing stages due to broken cab mounts and crushed fuel lines in his Pajero. Leaving Pickering to take the Production 4WD Class win at Lockyer and sneak home ahead of Corocan to take his 12th AORC Production 4WD Class Championship.

Geoff Pickering had a close battle with Drew Corocan on his way to a 12th AORC Production 4WD Class Championship

In contrast to Pickering and Rentsch, five teams won their first career national title in 2014. These included Tony Fehlhaber for Prolite Buggy, Chris Browning winning his first Super 1650 Buggy crown, Beau Robinson his first in Extreme 2WD, Paul Youman grabbed the #501 plate in Performance 2WD and Clayton Chapman his first national Extreme 4WD title.

The son and father team of Aaron and Greg Nicoll piloted the Sportsman Rivmasta to the class win

In the non-AORC categories, Aaron and Greg Nicoll took the Sportsman buggy class win at the TJM Lockyer 300, completing 5 laps of the 51.5km course in their #346 Rivmasta. Aaron Phillis was the quickest of the UTV’s in the #644 Polaris. Seventeen teams completed all 6 laps.

For more information from the 2014 grand finale, including all results, head to

TJM Lockyer 300 Class Winners
Pro Buggy: #1 Shannon Rentsch
Prolite Buggy: #138 Tony Fehlhaber
Super 1650 Buggy: #202 Chris Browning
Sportsman Buggy: #346 Aaron Nicoll
Extreme 2WD: #402 Beau Robinson
Performance 2WD: #503 Dan Osinski
UTV: #644 Aaron Phillis
Production 4WD: #701 Geoff Pickering
Extreme 4WD: #841 Luke Ayers

2014 AORC Class Champions:
Pro Buggy: #1 Shannon Rentsch
Prolite Buggy: #138 Tony Fehlhaber
Super 1650 Buggy: #202 Chris Browning
Extreme 2WD: #402 Beau Robinson
Performance 2WD: #502 Paul Youman
Production 4WD: #701 Geoff Pickering
Extreme 4WD: #871 Clayton Chapman