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Down to the Wire at Avalon
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Sunday, 13 May 2012
Australian off road racers have been busy this weekend with four events held across the country, stretching from the isolation of far north Queensland and the Northern Territories Mt Ooraminna venue, to the wildness of Tasmania, to the Avalon Motorsports Complex on the outskirts of Geelong in southern Victoria.

19 keen racers nominated for the second round of the Mallee Shield Interclub Challenge, the GORBA Avalon Mallee Shield Short Course; a one day event held at the Geelong Off Road Buggy Associations Motor Sport Complex at Avalon.

The schedule for the day’s racing was four heats of the 2.5 kilometre track, with each heat consisting of seven laps. By race end the Alumicraft #157 with Rod Visser behind the wheel topped the time sheets with the narrowest of margins, in a total race time of 45m53.41s, putting Ken Holt and David Larson #258 into second place by two tenths of a second, 45m53.62s.

Less than ten seconds behind the Holt team and securing the last podium position was Dean Williams and Scott McInnes #357 in 46m01.93s.

Mother Nature threatened rain all day, but held out to later in the day, with the quick drenching good for settling the dust. 12 of the 19 entries completed the full race distance, a finishing rate of 63%, which is well above average for off road racing.

With first, second and third outright also claiming first in their respective classes, the final class to be decided was the combined class of Extreme 2WD, Extreme 4WD, Performance 2WD and Production 4WD. Mark Smith and Susan Anstey #466 secured victory in 47m00.89s with more than a minute back to Craig Button and David Anderson #469 in second, 48m26.19s.

The hard luck stories, although less than average, were still heart breakers for the teams involved. Trouble started early for Craig Dixon and Rod Knight with the #76 Pro buggy suffering engine failure in the first heat; the team pulling out all the stops to fix the machine and rejoin the field for the third heat.

Joe and Tony Carabott rolled the #51 Pro buggy in the first heat and were unable to continue with that heat. They did however clock in consistent times for the next three heats, able to shake of the rollover hoodoo.

Brett Price and Kerrie Mason were also clocking in consistent heat times when an altercation with a large tractor tyre in heat three broke the front end of the #227 Super 1650, ending their day of racing.

Michael Magher and Daniel and Daniel Hose had fuel problems for most of the day in the #811 Extreme 4WD, the team eventually getting a full heat of seven laps under their belts in heat four.

Kyle and Mark Deacon were having a good run in their #508 Performance 2WD until heat four lap 3 when a well ventilated engine ended their days racing. Racing was also going well for the Coombs team of Jim and Matt until the last heat; the culprit, a flat tyre in the Super 1650 #213.

The next round of the Mallee Shield will be held on 17 July at the Sunraysia Motorsports Club's Koorlong track.

Results can be found here.