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Sporties 12 Hour 2018
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Wednesday, 08 August 2018
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The 2018 Sporties 12 Hour Enduro was contested over the weekend in what has been coined one of the most exciting and close finishing races in the events history.

After 12 hours and 1000 kms of racing it was the pairing of Craig and Sam Prettejohn with Richie Hayes in the #1023 Honda powered Razorback buggy and Jason Wilson with Louie Miller and Mark Harvey in the #6666 Yamaha SXS named "Team Blindside" that emerged victors with a lead of just 3 minutes, 31 seconds over 5 time defending champions "Team 4XXX" comprising of the formidable Greg (Hooker) Hicks, Sam Lord and Craig Pankhurst in the #123 Toyota powered Southern Cross buggy and #255 Toyota driven Holeshot machine of second generation racers, Jack and Tim Weir.

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With both teams fighting it out for most of the day, each having their own trials and tribulations that only the Sporties 12 Hour can provide, it was Team Blind side and Team 4XXX the only teams to complete 17 laps of the 59 km course, bringing the enthusiastic fans to the edge of their seats and track as they both headed out on their final lap in the dark of the night, at that point it could of been anybody's race.

One lap down but rounding out the podium in third place with 16 laps completed was "Team White Knuckles". A new team for 2018 made up of the David Bird piloted #433 Chevy powered Trophy Truck and #532 Commodore Ute of Mark Bluell and Karl Feranda that quietly went about their business throughout the 12 hour endurance race and taking home the cash and prizes for their third placing.

With over $18,000 prizemoney paying back to eighth place the battle for the minors is always intense at the Sporties 12 Hour and their year did not disappoint. Arguably, the best presented combination of the weekend "Team Rif Raf" fought hard to keep their 4th place. Ben Oliver and Nina Kells in the

#544 Chev powered Kingswood Ute and #587 F150 Ranger campaigned by Lincoln and Alicia Sheedy had the crowd thinking at one point that it could be the year of the Tintops at the Mt Ooraminna circuit.

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One of the great stories of the day was that of "Team Wildcards". Headed by Alex and Paul Heinzel in the super fast #125 Nissan powered Southern Cross racer and the #281 Mitsubishi Southern Cross of Darren and Chelsea Wright and Graham Roberts, managed to emerge in 5th place despite racing with only one car for the majority of the day. Pole sitter Alex Heinzel attacked the track at first light on Sunday morning and at the completion of lap one set what was to be the fastest lap of the day, collecting $5000 for his efforts, yes, $5000 for one flying lap... a bitter sweet moment as on the following lap the second generation racer was spotted walking back to headquarters with a broken racecar, leaving the remaining 11 hours racing up to the #281 machine of Wright. With Alex jumping in throughout the day, the little Southern Cross racer travelled over 880 km on its own, a tribute to the mechanics and team.

The Sporties 12 hour is like no other race in the country. Some come for the massive prize pool, some for the friendly atmosphere and excellent trackside amenities, others for the challenging circuit that changes every year. For whatever reason one thing is for certain, as a competitor or a spectator, the Sporties 12 Hour is a bucket list event that all should tick.

The close knitted Alice Springs Off Road Club are already planning for the 2019 Sporties 12 Hour Enduro with the support of their partners Sporties Bar and Restaurant, Motorsports NT, Alice Springs Town Council, Central Desert Transport, Central Diesel Services, Choice Flooring, Home Timber and Hardware, Asprint, Central Australian Driving School, Centralian Motors, Alice Mobile Car Detailing, Tod River Pastoral Company and Bobs Mob.

Source: Rod Berry