After attending Round 1, I thought I had Aust4 Racing all sorted; where the best places to shoot were etc. – then Ben the organiser goes and changes the track around to run in the reverse direction. Lucky for me, I had headed out to Janowen Hills on Friday, so still had had plenty of time for a bit of a reccy before qualifying got underway. The start line has now been shifted up to a new spot overlooking the paddock area between the camp ground and the gymkhana arena, giving spectators an awesome view as competitors rip back and forth across the contoured paddock section, before venturing further out into the hills and the more rockier sections of the park.
The Superior Engineering Janowen Hills Stampede or as I prefer to type, Round 2, started off with qualifying on Friday afternoon to determine the starting order for Saturday’s racing. The first to hit the new layout were the UTV’s and Modified Class competitors. Jamie Wilson in the Bearbroom Racing #51 Polaris set the pace for qualifying with a time of 4:51.6, ahead of Jayden Richardson #444 – 4:59.5, with Marshal Bell # 888 only half further back in third. A few of the Modified competitors did not make it to the start line for qualifying including Kevin Tapp, Jason Bremmell and Duane Deans. It was left to Robert Polsoni #150 and Daniel Cole #825 to fight it out for starting honours in the Modified Class, which eventually resulted in Polsoni crossing the line a massive 27 seconds ahead of Cole.
As the evening was quickly approaching, it was time for the UIltra4 and Ultra4 Limited buggies to line up for their turn to qualify. It was Mitch Thorpe #127 who set the early pace with a blistering 4:36.4, six seconds ahead of Round 1 winner Mitchell Gregory, with Kerrod Wilson #357 putting his Ultra4 Limited machine into third, just narrowly ahead of Bruce Fraser.
As darkness and the cold started to fall upon us, the last of the competitors headed back to the campgrounds. It was now time to light some camp fires and for some of the competitors, time to carry out repairs and last minute fine tuning before racing gets underway early tomorrow morning.
We woke to a very clear, cold and frosty morning, but the day looked like being perfect for racing. The UTV’s and Modified’s would be first off the line again, this time two at a time side by side, both heading for the narrowest of gateways. Who would get the jump off the line or who would yield to let the other through the gate, only time would tell, but it was going to be great for the spectators.
At the end of Race 1, three UTV’s had completed six laps in their allotted time, with Marshal Bell heading home, Jamie Wray in the Midget Motorsports #616 Polaris, which Brendan Lohse #659 crossing the line in third. The Modified Class saw the boys from NFI Racing finish with a good time of 1:46:57.9 and a lap ahead of Polsoni and Duane Deanes, in the very nice looking and sounding twin-turbo Lexus powered Patrol. The big talking point from Race 1 was the spectacular end over end rollover of Daniel Cole in the gymkhana area, ending his weekend prematurely and with quite a few repairs to carry out.
Next up was the crowd favourites the Ultra4’s and it was Mitch Thorpe who was showing great pace early, laying down three laps in the 22 minute range, before succumbing to a drive train issue, painfully ending his weekend. It would again be Mitchell Gregory who claimed the Race 1 win with five laps, a long way ahead of Mitch Thorpe and Bruce Fraser who both completed three laps.
It was in the Ultra4 Limited Class, where all the action was going on. An epic battle was going on between Rhett Bryant, Brett Thorpe and AJ Kinmond. Going by the timesheets, all of them seemed to have problems on a least one of their laps, but despite this there was only two minutes separating them heading into Race 2.
After a brief break for lunch, it was on with Race 2 and it was once again Marshal Bell finishing eight minutes ahead of Richard Tassin from the aptly named Slow and Steady Race Team, with Bredan Lohse in third place in the UTV Class. Jason Bremmell surrendered his lead in the Modified Class on lap 3, when he limped across the line and it was who would go on and claim the win ahead of fast finishing Deanes.
Only two Ultra4’s remained to start Race 2 and it would be Gregory who would go on to claim victory ahead of Milo Milanovic from Broken Bits Racing. In the Ultra4 Limited class it was Brett Thorpe #27 who managed to get ahead of Bryant and lead him over the line by twelve minutes, with Kerrod Wilson #357 a lap down in third.
As the dust and sun sets on another awesome weekend of Aust4 Racing, some will be looking forward to the next event, the EZFAB Janowen Hills 4 Hour Enduro (let’s just call it Round 3) and for many others a lot of soul searching and repairs.
1: # 94 Mitch Gregory (MRG Motorsports)
2: # 66 Milo Milanovic (Broken Bits Racing)
3: # 127 Mitch Thorpe (Thorpe Motorsports)
Ultra 4 Limited
1: #27 Brett Thorpe (Thorpe Motorsport)
2: # 35 Rhett Bryant (Rock Junkies)
3: # 357 Kerrod Wilson(Nigel Racing)
1: # 101 Jason Bremmell (NFI Motorsports)
2: # 150 Robert Polsoni (Formula Racing)
3: # 577 Duane Deans (Shuka Racing)
1: # 808 Marshall Bell (Abuse Offroad)
2: # 659 Brendan Lohse (Bridgestone Offroad)
3: # 616 Jamie Wray (Midget Motorsports)
Article and photography by Alan McIntosh. For images, visit http://www.facebook.com/alanmcintoshsportsphotography/