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Action A Plenty at the Pines
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Saturday, 23 September 2017
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The Pines Enduro never fails to deliver on action… Saturday’s action at the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro always attracts a good crowd, with the Millicent Sand Buggy Club expecting spectator numbers to be up on previous years. “The crowd was five deep on the spectator mound and the car park on the hill was packed” said Murray Rogers, Clerk of Course.

The Pines historically gets a lot of local spectator support from Millicent and Mount Gambier, and this year they’ve come out in force to see 71 off road teams hit the track at Teagle’s Quarry for the prologue and short course heats.

A new prologue format saw the field seeded into an outright start order, replacing the seeded class order previously used. “This club is always looking for ways to improve their event and this year we’re trying an outright seeded prologue start. From all reports it’s gone over really well with competitors; there wasn’t the down time that you normally get between classes, so there was always something happening in front of the spectators”.

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Danny Brown and George Apted topped the prologue timesheets, crossing the finish line in 3m19.685seconds, just 0.516seconds ahead of the New Zealand team of Raana Horan and Klem Christiansen. Horan, obviously having not lost any of his driving nerve following his recent coming together with a large tree at Goondiwindi five weeks ago.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary of consecutive events, the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro has attracted a strong field, including many past winners. Rounding out the podium is a multiple Pines champion in Mark Burrows and Sean Ratcliffe; Burrows’ time of 3m20.998seconds was 0.797seconds off the pace or Horan. The 2016 winners of Matt Hanson and Leigh Wells slotted into fourth outright, edging out Andy Brown and Mark Sedran in fifth place by just 0.2seconds.

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Following the prologue, the field was divided into six heats of ten to twelve cars with the slowest heat first to start. Heat one went off without a hitch as did heats two and three; apart from a few flat tyres, broken axles, and an engine or two. Bodie Tickner and Hayley Hook unfortunately suffered engine failure in their heat, but in the true spirit of chasing ARB Australian Off Road Racing Series points, the team have sourced a replacement power plant and are spending their Saturday evening installing it in the #233 Ratbagz, hopefully ready to greet the starter come 8:30 Sunday.

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Heat four is where the quarry fought back, unfortunately for Marty and Max Scott, it was the #ARB1 Scott Avenger that came off second best. Tussling for position with Bowie Graham, Marty went wide of the course, hit a rut which sent the father and son into an endo and barrel rolling spectacularly in the main arena. The crowd gasped and then cheered as they emerged from the buggy unharmed. Marty Scott said after the incident “the buggy’s a bit broken, but she did her job; she kept us safe. Shouldn’t be too hard to fix (chuckle)”

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The rollover happened on the first lap so the heat was flagged and the remaining cars sent back to the start line for a full restart minus Scott. After the restart it was Paul Youman and Graham Kluck coming unstuck and rolling their new Razorback Fusion #417 trophy truck in a tight corner. Recovery were quick to the scene, pulled the truck back on its wheels and the Queenslanders were able to continue racing and finish their heat.

Heat five was next to go green and saw Brett and Corey Smith attempt to change a damaged wheel in the #161 Southern Cross Next Gen; unfortunately, they were unable to get it done before their allowed running time of 30 minutes expired.

The big guns came out to race when heat six went live. The top ten machines from the prologue thundering through the quarry and flying through the air at the finish line jump.

The start order for Sunday’s 6 laps of the 74km course through Tantanoola Forrest is also a new initiative. “Tomorrows start order is a competitor’s fastest lap from today’s prologue and short course. We then take those results and reverse the grid” explained Murray Rogers. “For example, Danny Brown had the fastest Saturday time, which was his prologue time, so this sees him start last on the grid tomorrow. Matt Hanson’s fastest time for today was his third lap of the short course; so he starts fourth to last on the grid”.

Racing gets underway at 8:30am tomorrow. Stay up to date with the live results and live streaming of the track side commentary.

Photographers: Andrew Stott & Jeff Newick
 

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