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Payne's Portland Attack
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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

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After a very successful 2011, Tasmanian Darren Payne and his crew are in the final stages of preparation for their assault on the 2012 season.

The teams first hit out for the season will see them cross the Tasman and head west to Portland which sits in Victoria on the coast near the South Australia boarder, to have a shot at the Harvestco King of the Dunes on the 24th March.

A recent stop at Confidyne Motorsport saw Darren Payne’s ProLite buggy set up on the Hunter wheel alignment machine for some final adjustments to the chassis to ensure a perfect setup for the sand event. “A vital step in our preparation was to ensure the wheels are all pointing in the right direction” chuckled Payne. “Confidyne’s dedicated four-poster not only allows for accurate laser alignment of the wheels, but is also specifically equipped for corner weight adjustment.”

This will be Payne’s first attempt at the Discovery Bay Coastal Park sand dunes, a coastal area of Victoria only available to the Portland Dune Buggy Club. A previous multiple Tasmanian Sand Enduro winner, Payne has plenty of sand racing miles under his belt and is keen to showcase his skills against the Portland regulars.

A quality field of cars and drivers is on the interim competitor list, but Payne is confident his V6 Nissan ProLite is more than capable of keeping them honest.

Payne will take the wheel with current Tasmanian navigator champion Kerri Wallace alongside him. Stewart McKenzie, a multiple Tasmanian Sand Enduro winner himself, will share the navigator's seat with Wallace during the event.

The Payne Team are hungry for victory this weekend and are confident that doing two sand events a year in Tasmania will have been good training ground for Portland.

With the continued support of long time sponsors Tongs Sheet Metal, Joe Cook Ag and Confidyne Motorsport, the team is looking forward to the 2012 off road season, planning to compete in all the Tasmanian Off Road Championship rounds, as well as the Australian Off Road Championship rounds at Sea Lake, Millicent and Gatton.

The Portland Sand event is a different format to the Tasmanian sand events, with the entire track being within the dunes, with the beach sections being a no go area at Discovery Bay. The event is 200km in length, split into two 10 lap heats with the traditional mass start by class.

The sole Tasmanian crew will be looking for a good result and hopefully the opportunity to claim the $3,000 prize pool for first outright.

For those that want keep track of results over the weekend, live event timing data will be streamed from a link on the Harvestco King of the Dunes event page.

Source: offroadracingtasmania.com.au