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ARB Griffith 400 ProLite Highs and Lows
Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Of the 80 competitors that started the ARB Griffith 400 prologue, 36 completed the full race distance of 400km and a further 16 were one lap down, recording three laps and therefore 52 teams were classified as finishers for championship and series points. A tremendous effort when you factor in the lap length and the harsh terrain.

2907b_sm The ARB Griffith 400 top ten consisted of eight Pro machines, one Extreme 2WD and one ProLite – see earlier article. Cameron McClelland and Kane Loutitt’s outright time of 4h27m35s secured tenth outright and the ProLite class victory, banking maximum ARB Off Road Racing Series points for the team and jump starting their 2015 campaign.

McClelland edged out the son and father team of David and Brian Middlemiss by just 1m25s with both teams recording consistently fast lap times. Middlemiss is no stranger to the Stackpoole track, taking the outright win in 2012.

2907c_sm The South Australian team of Daryl Nissen and Andrew Harness were 5minutes off the pace of Middlemiss to secure the third ProLite class trophy, making their trip across the Hay Plain well worthwhile.

Warialda’s Sam Eagan and Adam Gilkinson #188 drove a consistent and trouble free race to finish fourth in class ahead of Luke Erceg and Daniel Ziembinski #150, whose weekend didn’t go as planned. Erceg and Ziembinski had to stop to replace a fan belt during Saturday’s one lap and then were forced to stop again to change a flat tyre on Sunday’s last lap. However, the rattle gun’s battery went flat with one nut left to undo. Recovery to the rescue with a wheel brace enabling them to finish, all be it 18 minutes down on earlier lap times and a potential additional two class places.

2907d_sm 14 minutes in arrears of Erceg was Jason Noonan and Robert Patterson; the #173 Jimco recording consistent lap times to finish sixth in class ahead of David Mendham and Andrew Glasson who were 15 minutes behind Noonan, finishing seventh and the last ProLite team to do all four laps.

The highs of the ProLite class were matched with lows. Of the 19 ProLite entries, only seven recorded full race distance.

Andrew McClelland and Murray Mott’s luck ran out early, destroying the Nissan engine in the Alumi Craft #131 during Saturday’s lap one. The team worked through the night to replace the engine with their good old faithful spare and were able to complete all three laps on Sunday and pick up valuable points towards their ARB Off Road Racing Series campaign.

2907e_sm The lone Northern Territory entry of Andrew Mowles and Michael Zacka had an up-and-down weekend. After recording a very respectful 1h05m21s lap time for the first lap, it was all downhill from there. Sunday saw the #135 Razorback a regular customer of recovery. Mowles’ weekend ultimately ended with engine issues on the final lap, after being recovered to the pits on Sunday’s lap two with axle failure, repairing and recommencing and completing the entire lap, Moles suffered engine dramas on the final lap.

The Austin family’s weekend didn’t go as planned either; the two single-seat car team with Dad Hugh driving the #108 Chenowth and son Ben in the Firefox #110 ended early. Hugh Austin failed to complete reconnaissance and unable to start the event proper while Ben Austin failed during lap one on Saturday and was unable to continue in the event.

It appears that ‘Lady Luck’ wasn’t shining on the ProLite single seat contingent. Matt Martin spent Saturday chasing an electrical issue which kept the Nissan VQ35 power plant in the #121 Jimco from running. Martin eventually putting the Jimco on the trailer, but certainly not from a lack of tyring, working through the night to try and fix and be able to make the start line come Sunday.

Adam Ollerton debuted his new single seat Alumi Craft #141 and after a fuel pump failure ended his lap one, he came out on Sunday to score consistent trouble free lap times. Glenn Spizzo and Anthony Lia #126 also failed on Saturday’s lap one; the MickeFab HRT suffering electrical issues which the team fixed overnight, going on to record respectable lap times for Sunday’s three laps.

Dale Martin, who ended his weekend navigating for Dad Craig in the #25 Alpha, and navigator Adrian Rowe started their weekend off on a high, recording the fastest ProLite lap time for Saturday. Unfortunately, while running first in class and in the top ten outright, rear suspension arm failure in the #133 Tatum on Sunday’s lap one ended his dream Stackpoole run.

The #184 Southern Cross Mark 5 of Tom Dixon and Nick Peters also exited the event early Sunday with CV failure.

Jono Patterson and Eden McGlashan’s Griffith campaign ended early after rolling at the 65km mark on Saturday’s lap. The #174 JT Lustrum only suffering superficial damage but unable to continue racing on Sunday. Both Jono and Eden only suffered damage to their pride.

Stephen Burrows and Scott Coulston certainly didn’t have a dream run either, an alternator failure on Saturday saw them seek the services of recovery and again on Sunday lap one when the clutch gave way in the #181 MBR Jimco.

A flat tyre on Saturday set the tone for Lindsay Foster and Fred Severin’s weekend. Although fixing trackside and finishing the lap, the time lost put the #178 Jimco down the field in Sunday’s start order. After battling the dust Foster called it a day at the 30km mark of Sunday’s lap one.

Photographer: Andrew Stott


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