2017 CAMS Australian Off Road Championship
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2017 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Series
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Francombe Tops Mannum Prologue
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Saturday, 14 April 2012
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A pleasant autumn day has greeted competitors at round 1 of the South Australian Off Road Championship at Mannum this morning in the South Australian Riverland. With the temperature sitting in the low twenties and the wind blowing the dust away from the track, Mother Nature has worked in favour of the Adelaide Buggy and Spencer Gulf Off Road Clubs today as they jointly host the annual event.

1111b_sm A strong contingent of interstate competitors, including two from the Northern Territory and four from Victoria have welcomed the chance to hit the track in anger after a long off season.

Wally Francombe and Leanne Walker have driven the Rids Race Frame #42 into first grid position for today’s section after blitzing the 5.9km prologue in 4:41.95, finishing one second ahead of Lindsay Foster and James Lochert in the #178 Jimco 4:42.93. Francombe commented after his prologue that they over shot a corner or two, the slight mishaps obviously not affecting their outright speed.

Rounding out the top three and putting on a spectacular finish jump for the spectators was Warrnambool’s second generation offroader Matt Owen and Reece Jago out to achieve a consistent run in the #130 Alumicraft after being plagued with teething issues in the new ProLite. Owen’s time of 4:43.03 is a sign of things to come. “It was very skatey out there; we’re happy to be at the top end of the field, and all is running good for now” commented Owen.

Carl and Tammy Haby were the first of the Element Racing Teams home in fourth putting down a time of 4:43.31 in the #56 Element buggy, a whisper ahead of brother and team mate Aaron Haby in the #57 Southern Cross single seat in 4:43.78, showing that home turf is no advantage in the quality field entered this weekend. “It’s Tammy’s first time in the buggy; I think she had a good run”.

1111c_sm The first class off for today’s prologue was Extreme 4WD with the V8 powered short based Nissan Patrol #810 of the Seymour based Hall Racing team of Luke and Daniel Hall leading the charge. The team commented “we’re using the event as a shakedown to iron out any issues before we take on the Tatts Finke Desert Race. We had torque converter failure at the recent Portland Sand Enduro, but it all looked good after the prologue.”

The Chevara Racing Navarra, immaculately presented in the teams eggplant purple livery, took to the prologue track in earnest, however the father and son team of Jeff and Jai Loader hit a rock which flattened their right rear tyre, relegating them to 29th.

The two Northern Territory entries both made it around the 5.9km track with Team Hosetech with Andrew Mowles behind the wheel of the #135 Razorback finishing in 12th was another competitor to comment that the track was skatey. “Our tyre pressures were too high, so we’ve dropped them for the race, hopefully getting more control.” The #268 Southern Cross of Axle Greening and Tim Coach will start off in 25th for section one after having a few excursions into the bush and bending the engine dash plate.

The Erceg Motorsport Chenowth of Luke and Vicki Erceg #151 had officials running as they completed their prologue with a red hot right brake after the brake was dragging.

The second of the Warrnambool nominations, the Coleman Motorsport Alpha #55 with Matt Coleman and Shawn Teagle lost rear brakes in the prologue with the Matt claiming “the Alpha was all over the joint. I didn’t know if I should go faster or slow right down.”

Tyson and Chris Proud had an exciting prologue with the steering wheel parting ways with the spline; the young offroader managing to relocate the wheel just metres before going into the fence.

Section one gets underway at 2pm when competitors will start one at a time at 20 second intervals for four laps of the 23km track.