2018 BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship
St George - May 4-6    |    Finke - June 8-11    |    Rainbow - August 10-12                  

2018 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship
Griffith - March 16-18     |     Mildura - April 20-22     |     Sea Lake - June 08-10     |     Waikerie - July 13-15     |     Goondiwindi - Aug 17-19     |     Millicent - Sept 21-23

Toby Whateley’s St George Journey
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Wednesday, 16 May 2018
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“Well, what a weekend!”

After travelling 20hrs from their Loveday 4X4 Adventure Park base in the South Australian Riverland to St George in southern Queensland, the team headed to the opening round of the 2018 BF Goodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship, the St George 399 with an open mind and a positive outlook.

Reconnaissance was the first item on the agenda. Toby Whateley, team driver had this to say on his first impressions of the St George course. “First thing we saw was the whoops… those nasty whoops. I knew the Can-Am could take them on flat out, but we didn’t need to hit them at full speed, so we decided to just roll through them. Believe it or not, but I managed to stick to this plan all weekend. The rest of the track was awesome, and really suited to the Can-Am. I guess we had a slight advantage because we were here last year, but the club had made many changes to the track since then; I was pretty happy to see the big straights shortened though.”

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Prologue was the next activity, kicking off Saturday’s schedule. “We had a great start in prologue with a third outright behind Matt Hanson and Shannon Rentsch, which also gave us first in class and 19 seconds clear of the next in our class. We were all pretty stoked that we’d had such a great start to the weekend” added Toby.

Toby continued “in section 1 we pushed along hard, but kept safe trying to look after the car. We had a great run. We knew all we had to do was stay in front of Phil (Lovett). When we came in at the end of the lap and heard the times, we were stoked that we were in first place over all. This was a great feeling to be in front of former Australian Champions. All of a sudden there were TV cameras and photographers surrounding us.”

Sunday was the day of reckoning for the Can-Am Loveday 4X4 Adventure Park team with a lot of racing yet to do, it was a nervous Toby Whateley that rose ready to take on the day. “I woke up more nervous that morning than I ever had before. I went through every bolt and nut 20 times in my head thinking about what could go wrong. I spoke to Dad and told him to go over the car again and check everything. He reminded me that we are the fastest out there and don’t worry; just do what you do naturally.”

“Knowing I had Phil Lovett hot on my tail and Shannon (Rentsch) - an eight time Australian champion - right behind him, I knew it was going to have a battle on my hands. Thankfully, we had a dust free and faultless three laps for section 2 and we managed to open up another 1min on second place. Dad’s advice proved to be very sound”.

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As Toby and navigator Simon Herman headed into the final section of the St George 399, there was no holding back a hard charging Shannon and Ian Rentsch. “Shannon was on a mission. He had leapfrogged Phil on time in the second section, so now he was starting behind us with Phil (Lovett) in third place. All I wanted to do was to make it to the finish and see how things panned out. Halfway through the first lap Shannon had caught up and passed us on his charge to make up the 4.37minute lead I had. The next lap I was just chasing, trying to stay as close as I could. Shannon would pull away one the fast sections but we could get back into his dust in the second half of the track. I knew if I was in his dust, I was close enough to win. At the start of the last lap, I could feel a tyre going flat. I was just cautious on that side in corners then at the 20k mark the fuel light came on. I was sure the fuel transfer pump had packed in. We had to make a decision; do we go hard for the win and risk running out of fuel or back off and be happy with second place and first in class. I chose to flick the switch into eco mode and back off. We pushed through to take second outright and first in class”.

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Overall, it was a great weekend of racing for the Can-Am Loveday 4X4 Adventure Park team and well worth their trip north. “We’re now on the top of the point score, all be it just two points in front of Shannon, and we wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the support of Can-Am, who make a great car, and Simon Herrmann who knows how to make it bullet proof. We have never had an SBH Engineering part fail. Our Car is one hundred percent stock Can-Am and if Simon can’t build it, then it’s a Can-Am part”.

“Thanks to Dad for coming along and doing everything he does and Simon for all the hours of work and sitting next to me and reminding me that there is a corner coming up. Nanna for lending us the MUX to tow the car up there, Can-Am, Lightforce and Ronco Motors for your sponsorship; Ross McNabb for producing the best shock tune ever and Danny Hanrahan for all the promotion work he does. See you all at Finke.”

Photographer: Terry Hill