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Showdown in the Sand
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Thursday, 09 February 2012
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A clash of the winners from the two biggest sand races on the 2011 Australian calendar is looming as the Harvestco King of the Dunes countdown commences towards March 24.

Matt Hanson, winner of the 2011 Tasmanian Sand Enduro and Al Gerardi, who took outright honours at last years Harvestco King of the Dunes, are set to face off for ultimate sand glory on March 24, when the field take to the Discovery Bay sand dunes. 

1225b_sm After a hugely successful 2011 race, this year’s event promises to be bigger than ever and with the added $3,000 first prize up for the taking, event organiser Matthew Salt expects an even bigger competitor list than last year, with Tasmanian competitors showing interest in the event. 

“The Enduro in 2011 started to get back to the event it once; with Harvestco on board again as the major sponsor and with the great wheel to wheel racing, the mass start and a fantastic list of competitors from all classes. This year with the additional prize money, we are looking to make it one of the must do events for the year”, commented Salt.

“Add into the mix that we have last year’s Harvestco Portland King of the Dunes Al Gerardi signalling an intention to defend his title, newly crowned winner of the Tasmanian Sand Enduro Matt Hanson and the SMU Racing team a confirmed starter and a healthy list of competitor enquiries and we think we will have quite the race again” an excited Salt added.

“We are hopeful that after a year away from racing, sand expert and past winner Peter Stephenson, front runner Brad Chasemore will be back again to provide spectators with that close action racing that they have been accustomed to watching in the dunes.”

“And with a later start to the AORC year with Sea Lake in June, what better way to shake down the car for the start of the 2012 season.”

ProLite National competitor Al Gerardi is more than ready to defend his crown at the Harvestco King of the Dunes. After a win in last year’s race in the Saber Racing ProLite, Al was very pleased with the car and looking forward with great excitement to 2012.

“We love Portland as a race and are very excited at racing again there this year. Our car is running faultlessly and after some great dices last year and plenty of side by side action, we can’t wait for this year’s flag to drop” said Al.

“Portland is one of the few races where you can camp for the weekend, enjoy some great racing and catch up on the Saturday night around the campfire. A very relaxed atmosphere.”

After coming fourth in the ProLite Australian Off Road Championship in 2010 and a reduced racing schedule in 2011, Al is looking forward to a big season starting with chasing the $3,000 cash on offer at Portland in March.

1225c_sm SMU Racing driver Matt Hanson is already a confirmed starter for the event hoping to kick the 2012 season in a good way. “The Harvestco King of the Dunes is one of the best events in the country. We can’t wait to get out there and mix it through dunes with what is shaping up to be a quality entry list. The close racing, mass start and no dust makes for great driving and close racing.”

When asked which car would be representing SMU Racing for the weekend, Matt responded, “if the Jimco is ready we will definitely be taking it, but given it is midway through a full pull down and paint, we will pull out our ever reliable Super 1650 which never misses a beat should #7 not be ready. Speaking with a lot of the drivers and the new cars again coming in for 2012, the Sand Enduro will be an excellent way to kick off the season”.

The entire 150km race will be run on Saturday 24 March, which allows competitors to enjoy each other’s company on the Saturday night before heading home on the Sunday. Camping is available at the track, which is at the Swan Lake Discovery Bay National Park.

Supplementary Regulations will be available shortly.

Photographer: SunPhoto