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Chadburn and Towers fight it out at Crookwell
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Saturday, 21 April 2012
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In a hard fought battle Dale and Malcolm Chadburn lead the Crookwell Gravel Pit Challenge by under two seconds at the end of the first day of racing.

Chadburn drove the #32 Mitsubishi Evo powered Supaboot RV2 hard to a time of 54m52.92s, finishing the three heats, each of three laps, on top of the leader board.

The turbo Honda #80 Razorback of Glen Towers and Jamie Adams slotted into second place in a time of 54m54.45s, however, the Towers crew visiting the hot work area in the pits after each heat to weld the front stubs.

The #19 V8 Chev Jimco piloted by Justin Guy powered into third in 58m02.10s for Saturday’s three heats.

Perfect weather and track conditions greeted the field of 29 New South Wales Off Road Championship contenders as they battled it out for outright and class placing. The clouds rolled in but the rain stayed away.

In a change of pace, Buddy Crowe has swapped his #4 Jimco driver’s seat for the navigators side in the Runamuk Racings #144 ProLite; passing on his racing prowess to son Buddy Junior in his second outing in the new drive after gearbox issues at Warialda.

Another to be honing his skills in a new drive is Scott and Michelle McNeill, stepping up into the #122 McNeill Custom Special ProLite after many successful years campaigning in Super 1650 class.

In an action packed day of off road racing, the most spectacular mishap of the day went to Gerard Bawden and Nathan Weisell when the #78 Pro buggy rolled after it nosed dived off a jump into the front left and barrel rolled into a tree. In a true show of perseverance, the crew shook themselves off an in a remarkable recovery fronted up for heat two, only to have CV dramas. Not to be deterred the team returned to the start line for heat three, but a blown head gasket finally ended their day and weekend.

Another to surrender to the Crookwell track was the Super 1650 #258 of Warren and Tammy Barron, rolling on the first corner of the first lap. The crew put the buggy back on its wheels, got back in and belted up, returned to the track only to realise the gearbox and clutch had failed. The Super 1650 stopping later that lap.

Jimco Kearle with Lauren Ottey in the navigator’s seat were out of today’s racing in heat 2 with rear axle and hub failure in the JK1 #114 ProLite

Tom Dixon shattered the front engine pulley on his #439 Extreme 2WD machine, ending the teams Crookwell campaign.

The #507 Performance 2WD of Mark-Paul Grant and Michelle Roberts had gearbox problems and are hoping to repair it overnight.

Darren Machell and Wayne Herring in having his first drive of the #555 International Scout and said to be loving his debut event.

24 of the 29 entries are expected to greet the green flag for Sunday’s completion. Competitors will start off Sunday’s action with ten laps of the 7.7km track before a three lap sprint to the finish line.

Results can be found here.

Photographer: Chantall O'Dell, chantallphotographix.com.au