Australia's leading offroad racers will launch into Goondiwindi on August 3-5, for Round two of the Australian Off Road Championship. Boasting some of the most exciting natural terrain on the calendar, the Albins Offroad Goondiwindi 400 has moved forward from its rain plagued October date to break the “offroad racing drought” in the border town. While rain has teased the region in recent weeks, very little has fallen on the track and the Goondwindi Motorsport Club members are confident the track is the best it has ever been in the lead up to the race.
The new date has attracted a bumper field of 72 entries, spread across seven classes, with the teams eager to unleash their machinery on the 400km race for the first time since 2009.
Leading the charge for the Albins Offroad Goondiwindi 400 chequered flag will be the #9 V8 powered single seat Jimco of Brad Prout. After taking a slender 17 second victory over the #7 twin turbo V6 Jimco of Matt Hanson and Leigh Wells at AORC round 1 at SeaLake, the pairs close rivalry is certain to continue. However the pressure will be on from all angles at the top of the leaderboard with 22 Pro Buggies including Matt Coleman, Buddy Crowe, Bryce Chapman and Ryan Taylor all vying for the top spot. While the 14 Prolites and 6 Extreme 2WD’s, headlined by the Finke Desert Race winner Brad Gallard in the #454 Monster Energy Trophy Truck, will all be looking to make their outright mark on the championship at Goondiwindi.
Aaron James heads to Goondiwindi to start his AORC title defence in the ultra competitive Prolite Class, while reigning Super 1650 Champ, Darryl Smith will aim to build on his good form at the season opener at SeaLake. Greg Campbell will be locked in a David and Goliath battle for the Extreme 2WD honours, unleashing his Porsche 911 against the line up of five trucks including Western, Gallard, Brown, Geddes and Nott. Scott Gould will aim to build on his solid points lead in the Performance 2WD category.
The 4WD Classes continue to be well supported at Queensland rounds, with seven entries in the Production 4WD class and eleven in Extreme 4WD category. Notably the event also features three female drivers, all competing within the 4WD classes. Leila Chapman returns to Gundy in her turbo charged #835 Pajero with daughter Larissa alongside, while Nicole Melville and Emma Chapman have entered the #791 Mitsubishi Pajero and Amy Perrett takes the wheel of the #770 Patrol for her first crack at the famous melon holes.
Returning to our shores for the Albins Goondiwindi 400 will be New Zealand’s Raana Horan, who made an impressive Australian debut at SeaLake. The Big Black Motorsport team finished fourth outright and took the Extreme 4WD Class honours in their #899 Nissan Titan 4WD Trophy Truck and they will be relishing the challenge presented by one of the countries toughest offroad tracks. Adding to the international flavour will be the talented US based offroad racer Harley Letner, who will be co-driving the brand new #6 Team Taylor GET racecar with Aussie veteran Neville Taylor. The US built twin turbo V6 machine will be fresh off the water, landing in Australia only a week before the race.
The local entries from both sides of the Queensland / NSW border have sparked a state of origin flavour to the race. The Pro Class buggies of #36 Joe Bulmer and #68 Michael Napier along with the Super 1650 of #242 Mick Phillips will be flying the flag for Goondiwindi. While former Australian Champ Terry Rose in the #11 Jimco, his son Howard Rose in the #44 Raceco and Darryl Ellison in the #115 Prolite are all stepping north of the border from their Warialda base to take battle for the local honours.
The Goondiwindi Motorsport Association is proud the event is not only part of the AORC but also the fourth round of the Queensland Off Road Championship. The event is currently the longest established Queensland round on the calendar and has continued to be well supported, with 38 of the 72 entries Queensland based teams. 2011 Queensland Drivers Series winner Evan Burns returns in his short wheel based Pajero, while reigning Queensland Offroad Champion, Bryce Chapman heads north from his Tamworth base in the #58 Runamuck Jimco to start his title defence.
The Albins Offroad Goondiwindi 400 will launch on Friday night at the Goondiwindi Showgrounds from 4pm, with scrutiny and a show and shine until 8pm. Held in a festival atmosphere, it will be a great opportunity to meet the drivers and grab an autograph before they hit the dirt. Racing commences on Saturday morning 20 km from Goondiwindi at Lofty’s Lair just off the Cunningham Hwy. The venue provides an unrivalled perspective of Malypunyah Run, one of the most exciting pieces of offroad racetrack on the planet, where the big horsepower trucks and buggies dance through the big melon holes and whoops with the throttle pined. With live commentary and refreshments on sale, spectators will be able to sit back and watch the race for the championship unfold.
The green flag will drop at 10.30am on Saturday morning for the Prologue and ARB Top Ten Shoot Out which will get the blood pumping before the big desert racers stretch their legs that afternoon with one lap of the long course. Racing kicks off again at 8am on Sunday morning, which will see the race cars tackle another 4 laps of the 80km course.