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Patterson Brothers Win Rainbow Rises 240
Monday, 09 March 2020
Photographer: Matt Daniele

Joseph and Jourdain Patterson, in just the second competitive drive of their Fusion Off Road ProLite buggy, claimed outright honours at the Rainbow Rises 240 over the weekend.

The Patterson brothers were running in the top end of the field, improving their lap times as each lap counted down and gaining positions as they became more comfortable with their new drive and as the field one by one dropped away.

Looking at a third placed podium position heading into the final 11 lap section, the demise of race leader Steven (Bowie) Graham #1065 on lap 10 and then Brand Knight #1078 on the last lap saw Joseph and Jourdain take control of the race and the first to greet the checkered flag.

In a post-race interview joseph commented “we crossed the finish line, saw the checkered flag, and we were pretty sure we’d done 11 laps, but #1078 wasn’t in the line up area; it was then I realised that we’d won; wow. We didn’t know that Brant had stopped, we didn’t see him on side of the track, so we were really surprised that we had won.”

The team debuted the Nissan VQ35 powered Fusion Off Road Prolite buggy at the 2019 Rainbow Rises 240, unfortunately suffering engine failure at their maiden event. After 12 months of development, the #175 Fusion was race ready and gunning to take on the 20 strong field. Joseph added “while the buggy is new and fresh, we’re going to take on the bigger race”. Starting with AORC 1 at St George and AORC 2 Finke the team will made decisions on the second half of the year.

A sterling effort from the SXS Turbo Can-Am of Tim Bower and Ben Lugg #615 to take out second outright 2m29.008seconds off the pace of Patterson. Fellow Can-Am campaigners Glenn Pike and Darryn Conn #675 rounded out the Rainbow Rises 240 outright podium.

South Aussies Ben Erceg and David Mussell #1050 had a consistent drive to be 1m43.451seconds behind Pike and just 13.844seconds ahead of fifth placed Dean Williams and Jon Huber #357. The sixth and last team to complete the full race distance of 28 laps was club stalwart Lawrie Penpraze and Matt Johnson; the #338 Jalco spending 3h32m23.155seconds traversing the Rainbow countryside.

20 teams headed to the Rainbow Rises 240 to greet the starter on Saturday afternoon. Matt Hanson and Nigel Pendlebury #7, under normal circumstances, would have been the red hot favourites for outright victory, however, the SMU Racing team were using the short course event to test and shock tune in readiness for their St George assault early next month.

Brad Chasemore and Leigh Wells #10 were looking primed to add another outright trophy to their collection in Chasemore’s debut competitive drive of the ex Jamie Robinson Jimco, until fuel pressure dramas saw them in and out of the pits trying to resolve the issue.

Steven (Bowie) Graham and navigator Jay Mitchell #1065 were looking to go one better than their second outright last year, topping the timesheets from early in section two until axle failure on the penultimate lap ended their Rainbow Rises 240 aspirations. Brant Knight #1078, who had been circulating in second place, capitalised on Bowie’s misfortune to be the lead car for just over a lap when steering failure in the single seat Saber saw him stopped trackside, handing the lead and ultimate victory to the young Patterson Brothers.

Another up and coming talent to watch in the coming years in young Ben Gartner; son of the legendary Greg Gartner. Taking the reins of the R&J Batteries Ford F150 #417 (Dad’s hand me down) fuel pump issues hampered his debut, with Saturday spent in and out of the pits. After some imaginative wiring overnight they were on course and on song for a superb debut drive. The apple doesn’t fall far at all from the tree with Gartner Junior showing all the signs of his father’s raw talent behind the wheel.

Race conditions for the weekend we spot on. Mid week rain and a southerly breeze kept the dust at bay from the spectator mound and cleared it from the 8.7 km racing line.

Hosted by the Victorian Off Road Racing Association and the local the Rainbow event committee, the Rainbow Rises 240 was the opening round of the Motorsport Australia Victorian Off Road Championship, the Victorian Off Road Club Shield and the VORRA Club Championship.

The DNF list for the rest of the field went like this:
  • Robert Gussenhoven and Jake Stevenson #667 - rolled in section 2 on Saturday breaking the air cleaner. They repaired and raced on Sunday.
  • David Davis #1061 – Steering section 4
  • Luke Densley and Warren Collins #619 - Front diff section 3
  • Nigel and Brock Pendlebury #235 - Front suspension arm section 3
  • Anthony Harris and Anthony Randall #670 - bolt out of the clutch and belt assembly
  • Mathew Boxshall and Michael Rodgers #851 - No oil pressure in section 2, replaced oil pump overnight. Section 3 unwell navigator. Section 4 replaced navigator overheating issues.
  • Craig and Adam Button #469 - Rear diff section 3
  • Dion Duvoisin and Graham Symons #278 - rear brake issues section 2
  • Jason and Chris Cachia #226 - head gasket section 2

Results can be found here.