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Paringa Run and Won
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Thursday, 10 April 2014
2408a_sm
The first round of the ARB Off Road Racing Series has been run and won with Glenn Owen and Matt Ryan taking line honours at the ARB Paringa Desert 400.

2408b_sm Owen and Ryan started their weekend off on a high note, clocking in the fastest prologue time on Saturday to lead the field on the first of five 75km laps around Paringa Station. Owen was relegated to second on Sunday’s start grid after Jack Rhodes and David Pullino pulled out the fastest lap of the weekend to snatch pole position from Owen. Rhodes however, was unable to capitalise on his pole position, losing substantial time on Sunday’s laps with a flat tyre and then failing to meet the start line after the one hour break.

2408c_sm Owen and Ryan didn’t look back, eventually taking the outright win with over a 3minute buffer back to the second placed Aaron and Liz Haby. The Haby husband and wife team were ecstatic with their finish in the debut run of the new Element Off Road Prodigy #57. The new Prodigy was fresh out of the workshop with little to no testing time; the second outright finish a testament to the team’s attention to every detail during the build process.

To top off a successful weekend of off road racing for the Element Off Road team, Carl Haby with Terry Schultz and Brenton Gallash sharing the navigating duties, clocked in only 1m28s behind brother Aaron in the second stable mate Element Off Road Prodigy #56.

Glenn Owen commented post race that it was the hardest track he’d ever driven but that they’d enjoyed every moment of it. Owen is starting off his 2014 campaign along similar lines to 2013, banking maximum points in his hunt for the ARB Off Road Racing Series crown. Owen won the first three events of the 2013 series and was set to take out the inaugural crown until engine failure at the last round ended his dream run.

2408d_sm Fourth outright after 375km of hard slog racing was the 2013 series tied runner up Andrew McClelland and Murray Mott, 17minutes off the pace of Owen and over 12miniutes adrift of the second Element Prodigy.

Taking out fifth outright was multiple off road champion Mark Burrows with Colin Hodge and Sean Ratcliffe sharing the navigating duties of the #21 Jimco. Burrows was matching times with the front runners until a sticky throttle on lap four saw the team affixing repairs trackside.

2408e_sm The battle of the ProLites looks set to continue for 2014. The Matrix of Luke Erceg and Daniel Ziembinski finished in sixth outright, 1m22seconds off the time of Burrows. The event wasn’t smooth sailing for the team of second generation off roaders, with the Matrix and its crew taking a heavy hit as they nose dived into a washaway on the second lap on Sunday; the crew winded from the impact took 15minutes trackside to regain their composure. Cameron McClelland stepped into the navigator’s seat for the final two laps after the service break for a stiff and sore Ziembinski. Erceg commented later that he was determined to get back on the track, because while the Matrix was still going, we would push on and get a good result.

2408f_sm Goondiwindi’s Joe Bulmer with Scott Coleman and Wayne Bell sharing the navigating duties, secured seventh outright, a mere 18seconds off the pace Erceg.

Ivan Robertson and Peter Luckraft are honing their Extreme 2WD off roading skills, the #471 Micklefab Trophy Truck racing into eighth outright and first in class. Three flat tyres, two on one lap, costed Robertson 15 minutes and a potential firth outright.

2408g_sm Robertson was also awarded the PMD Race Products Sportsmanship Contingency award for stopping trackside to help a stranded Greg Gartner on Sunday’s lap 1. Robertson pulled Gartner’s Ford F150 back onto his wheels, allowing Gartner to continue racing and to finish the ARB Paringa Desert 400. This award was well deserved considering Robertson and Gartner are both competitors in Extreme 2WD class.

Sam Gadaleta and Brendon Johns had a consistent run, clocking into ninth outright in the #38 Jimco. Rounding out the top ten for the ARB Paringa Desert 400 was the Mt Gambier based husband and wife team of Daniel and Emma Lamb #77.

2408h_sm 21 of the 63 started saluted the checkered flag with Hugh Austin the last to finish; a mammoth effort for the #108 Chenowth driver to conquer the gruelling track single handed; fourth in class his reward. Third in ProLite class and crossing the line nearly an hour ahead of Austin was Jan and Hendrik Kraaij #119.

Of the ten Super 1650 class competitors entered, only two managed to complete full race distance. Brett Price and Rick Whiteley #227 survived the course finishing with 39minutes ahead of the second placed daughter and father team of Shannyn and Andy Fitzgerald #209. The Fitzgeralds had tyre dramas on the first lap on Sunday but managed to clock in consistent time for the remaining laps to secure the class second silverware.

2408i_sm The battles in Extreme 2WD class were tough with five of the seven entries finishing full race distance. With the Robertson Micklefab #471 Trophy Truck securing first in class, the battle was on for second with the Sydney based father and son team of Paul and Mark-Paul Grant #405 snatching second place by 2mintues from brothers Jamie and Symon Knight #439. 2minutes adrift of the Knight Brothers was Mark and Ollie Lacey in their debut drive of the new Micklefab #408 while Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings recorded a finish in fifth outright after their eventful weekend at Paringa Station.

2408j_sm Performance 2WD class had a fifty fifty finish rate. Bernie Clohesy #570 took out the class honours while the Toyota Hilux of Chris Hardie and Ash Weinert ended the weekend on its side after a gentle rollover.

Safari veteran Kerry Turley with daughter Brianna flew the flag for the local contingent, securing first in class ahead of off a tough field of Extreme 4WD racers including Reg Owen #809, who succumbed to gearbox dramas, Mick Magher #882 out on lap three with overheating dramas and Owen Ward #832 having fan belt issues.

The gruelling track took its toll on man and machine, however, the 33.3% finishing rate was above average for off road events. The withdrawals started early with four teams unable to finish the first lap on Saturday. The All G Racing team of the Phillips family didn’t have the start to the season they were hoping for, the ex Daryl Smith Alumi Craft #242 suffering gearbox dramas. Terry and Kate Molloy stopped trackside with electrical gremlins; the #215 Tatum greeted the start lights on Sunday only to withdraw on lap one, again with electrical issues.

The Saber #113 of Jonathon and Viv Simmonds ended their Parilla run early with driveshaft failure on Saturday while Malcolm and Leona Bird suffered diff dramas in the #66 Sportevo.

Steve Burrows and Scott Coulston didn’t make it to the start line for Sunday’s first lap, sidelined with shock issues. Chris and Colin Johnson #122 had power steering dramas while Cameron Lyn and Rick Rogers were out of allowed running time for Saturday’s one lap, ultimately ending their Paringa campaign with Alternator failure on Sunday.

The tough outback course was tough and gruelling, but for those that saluted the checkered flag come Sunday afternoon, the sense of accomplishment was unmatched.

The ARB Off Road Racing Series now heads to Sea Lake in June.

Event Information, including results, can be found here.

List of DNF
4 Buddy Crowe, NSW Axle
7 David Adams, SA FrontArm
10 Brad Chasemore, Vic DNF
12 Michael Collins, Qld OilLeak
14 Andrew Kittle, NT TorqueConv
23 Matthew Kittle, SA TorqueConv
28 Tanner James, NSW Axle
42 Danny Brown, Vic Turbo
44 Alisha Crowe, NSW Gearbox
45 Andy Brown, Vic NoFrontWhel
50 Andy Ryan, NSW CV
51 Joe Carabott, Vic DNSengine
66 Malcolm Bird, NSW Diff
74 Jono Patterson, NSW DNF
81 James Madden, SA Rear Hub
91 Jack Rhodes, SA DNS
99 Chris Wilson, NSW Accelerator
113 Jonathon Simmonds, Vic DriveShaft
122 Chris Johnson, SA PowerSteer
144 Buddy Crowe, NSW DNS
154 Cam McClelland, Vic Steering
161 Brett Smith, Vic Engine
164 Daryl Nissen, SA DNS
166 Mick Fraser, SA DNF
170 David Mendham, NSW Unwell
181 Stephen Burrows, Vic DNS Shock
214 Ross Allan, Vic FrontWheel
215 Terry Molloy, NSW Electrical
218 Daniel Wells, Vic Bearing
219 Cameron Lyne, Vic Alternator
232 Werner Zettl, NSW DNS
233 Bodie Tickner, SA CV
242 Michael Phillips, Qld GearBox
284 Daniel Maybery, Vic DNF
409 Geoff Roe, SA Throttle
420 Daniel Attard, NSW Axle
515 Chris Hardie, NSW On it Side
809 Reg Owen, Vic GearBox
832 Owen Ward, Vic Fan Belt
882 Mick Magher, Vic DNF
907 Mark Eveleigh, NSW Axle
954 Dan Bonnor, Qld Coil


Photographers: Andrew Stott, Van Nixon
 

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