2017 CAMS Australian Off Road Championship
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2017 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Series
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Mannum rumbled to the sound of off road
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Saturday, 14 April 2012
1290a_sm
The South Australian off road racing scene rumbled back into life for 2012 as the off road machines raced off from the Mannum start line at 2pm today for their four lap journey around the 23km track on the Haby family farming property in the South Australian Riverland.

1290b_sm Stepping up under the weight of expectations was the husband and wife crew of Carl and Tammy Haby, steering the Element Racing Teams Pro #56 Element buggy around the track, finishing 20 seconds ahead of Warrnambool’s Matt Owen and Reece Jago in the Alumicraft ProLite #130. Owen had Lady Luck on his side today, finishing the last lap without brakes, but still pushing hard, endeavouring to keep a lead on fellow ProLite racers Lindsay Foster and James Lochert in the #178 Jimco.

“That was great, really enjoyable racing” commented Owen. “The track got rougher and we ran out of brakes on the last lap, but we pushed hard to stay in front of Foster. We’ve just fitted new rear brake pads and hopefully the front pads will turn up before we start racing tomorrow.”

Foster ultimately finished in fourth on outright time, 14 seconds behind Wally Francombe and Leanne Walker who had a mere 2 second gap from Owen in second.

1290f_sm Rounding out the top five was another South Australian hard charger in Daryl Nissen and Rich Andrews, placing the Score #164 just over a minute behind Foster. The interstate contingent were holding up their end of the collaborative deal with Team Hostech’s Andrew Mowles clocking up consistent 19 minute lap times to finish sixth outright in the Razorback #135.

John and Margie Schultz were the first of the tin tops home, manoeuvring the #455 RBT Rodeo Extreme 2WD home in seventh and over three minutes ahead of Daniel and Luke Hall in eighth place. The Hall Brothers Racing Team were ecstatic at how the #810 Patrol was handling the rough track and glad they made the trip west from Seymour in Victoria to compete.

1290c_sm Ninth outright and also putting down very consistent times was the #122 ProLite of Chris and Colin Johnson with Mildurians Ken and Ben Philp hot on their heels in the Southern Cross #211 and rounding out the top ten.

31 competitors lined up for today’s section one with only 16 going full race distance on the rough rocky track. The attrition started early with Bob Strawbridge and Courtney Peake the first to be heard on the recovery radio with what was thought to be engine dramas in the #16 Southern Cross.

1290e_sm The Coleman Motorsport Alpha was the next to strike trouble, pitting at the end of lap one to check on overheating alarms. The diagnosis was a faulty sensor which was replaced, along with the rear right tyre which deflated while the crew were pitted; the team losing 17 minutes with the pit stop, but ultimately going on to record the fastest lap time for the day, and the only competitors to go under the 18 minute mark, with 17:27.39.

Team owner Doug Coleman went on to say “the track conditions are deteriorating, which is when the Alpha #55 and Matt will come into their own.  The Alpha was built to handle the rough stuff and just gets better and better with the extreme conditions that off road racing can offer up.”

1290h_sm The list of hard luck stories is a mix match of everything that could go wrong with an off road racing machine, including the #137 of Mark Hannaford and the #282 of Tyson and Chris Proud both having electrical miss fire issues.

Andrew Stoddard and Chris Clarke towed their Outlaw Super 1650 #286 from Bendigo only to have tie rod issues on the first lap and unable to record any laps for today.

1290d_sm Defending South Australian Off Road Champion Aaron Haby has had a disappointing start to his title defence when the dip stick came out of the engine, causing oil to spew onto the hot extractors. The oil caught fire and burnt the four left hand plug leads off the engine, resulting in the V8 engine only running on four cylinders.  Haby was fortunate that once all the oil had burnt, the fire self-extinguished and no further damage was done. However, after replacing the plugs, the engine still had a bad misfire, so the Element Racing team had to park its #57 Southern Cross for the rest of the weekend.

Power steering was another common complaint with Brett Reimann’s #412 Datsun and Scott Gould’s #522 both succumbing. David and Nathan Hall had gearbox failure in their #66 Rivmasta, managing to get two laps recorded, while Andrew and Shannyn Fitzgerald had oil and engine issues in their #109 Rivmasta.

1290g_sm The track conditions were tough as Roger and Ethan Davis could attest, bogging the #551 Commodore on lap two and unable to continue. The prologue voodoo continued for the Chevara Racing Navarra, with Jeff and Jai Loader suffering from a fuel pump failure on lap 4.

Another interstater to strike trouble was the Alice Springs entry of Axle Greening and Tim Coach, with the #268 Southern Cross’s gearstick parting company with the internals of the gearbox. The team are confident they can fix it and continue racing tomorrow.

Sunday’s racing gets underway at 9am when competitors will undertake a further 10 laps of the 23km course. The start order for Sundays section 2 is based on today’s road finish order, not outright time. This will throw up many interesting strategies and tactics as today outright leader on time starts fourth on the grid. Leading the top five off will the Wally Francome, followed by Lindsay Foster, Matt Owen, Carl Haby and Daryl Nissen.

Results can be found here.

Photographer: Daniel Ziembinski (Boof)