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2018 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship
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Haby Back to Back Parilla Crown
Sunday, 20 May 2012
Carl and Tammy Haby have pulled off back to back wins at the Richard Bennett Memorial Enduro held in the South Australian mallee region near Parilla today, with the Element Off Road S&S Pro buggy greeting the checkered flag with an extensive lead over the 28 strong field, much to the delight of Element Off Road team members waiting anxiously at the finish line.

Although not without dramas, the engine in the #56 machine barley going the full distance and will require a rebuild before the Element Off Road team head to the MLB Sea Lake Mallee Rally for round 1 of the Australian Off Road Championship in June. 

1355b_sm The side by side, two at a time start, saw the Haby Element Off Road #56 face off against the Rhodes Racing #9 of Jack Rhodes and Craig Mattingly.

Haby won the drag off the start line into the dipper before Rhodes got past Haby at turn two and continued to stretch the lead on every lap. However, about 5km into lap four, second gear disappeared from the gearbox; Rhodes and Mattingly continued on, nursing the Jimco to the compulsory 30 minute break at the end of lap four.

1355c_sm At this point the team chose not to continue and doing further damage to the gearbox, and therefore were out of the event, passing the baton to Haby. Rhodes demonstrated up until this point, controlled aggression whilst not over driving and continued to pull good ground on Haby.

He commented after withdrawing that the setup of the car and its handling is now very much to his liking. They will regroup, replace the gearbox and prepare the Rhodes Racing Jimco for an assault on the Tatts Finke Desert Race.

1355d_sm The event was jam packed with highs and lows as Rhodes and other podium contenders one by one lost the musical chairs battle for the top three awards. One of the first to drop out of the race was the Rids Race Frame #42 Joker machine with Wally Francombe and Shannon Fitzgerald behind the wheel; the team unable to capitalise on their third outright prologue time, out on lap two with a broken driveshaft.

Running in third outright until engine failure on lap 5 ended their podium aspirations was the father and son crew of James and Matt Copeland #26. Rob Cowie had a mishap on lap three, rolling the #192 Jimco and firmly wedging himself into the trees. Cowie re-joined the track and was clocking in consistent times until the battery failed as a result of the earlier rollover, returning under tow to the pits on seven.

Going into the last lap of the day, Haby led the field by over half a lap, and with only four cars on the lead lap, the podium line up was all but assured. Sitting in second was Luke and Vicki Erceg #151, with Trevor Copeland and Annie Galliford #97 in third and Andrew and Shannon Fitzgerald #109 in fourth.

As lows go, the radio call from Luke Erceg #151 announcing they had ran out of fuel with only 10km to go, must rate as heart wrenching. Erceg was assured of second outright, and as important to the team, an event finish in the rebuilt Chenowth; the #151 ultimately claiming seventh outright.

1355e_sm After failing to finish their prologue due to a broken accelerator cable and starting second row from the rear of the field, Trevor Copeland and Annie Galliford certainly had a tough day ahead of them.

Copeland proving he can still match it with the best, overtaking nearly half the field in the first lap and storming home from there to take second outright in the #97 Jimco.

T1355f_sm hird outright and first ProLite home was Andrew and Shannon Fitzgerald in the Hunter Rivmasta #109 after running faultlessly all day, surviving the gremlins that plagued the front runner.

Ian Fish and Brenton Clarke #34 secured fourth outright while Ivan and Mark Schmocker overcame a long trackside stop on lap one to change a plug lead to finish the Kadco #33 in fifth.

More to comeā€¦.

Photographer: Murray Rogers, offroadracing.com.au