Media Releases 2008

Press Release by: Red Grand Promotions

7 Dec 2008

Rockliff wins at Latrobe..

Scott Rockliff has won the the NWORCC's annual December event at the Latrobe track yesterday.

A small field of 7 fronted to the NW Coast dirt circuit yesterday which was the final event for the Tas off road calendar for 2008.

Ran as a sprint race across six heats the racing was fast and close with most vehicles remaining on same lap as the leader in most heats.

The field was divided into two classes and the results were as follows:

Pro Buggy
1st - Scott Rockliff
Equal 2nd - Ian&Billy Whelan and James Jacobson

Pro Lite, Super 1650 and Performance 2WD
Equal 1st - Steve Watkins and Darren Payne
2nd - Rebecca Gaby and Joe Cook

Attrition was low with only 2 breakdowns. Thomas Jacobson broke a rear arm and Darren Payne's front hub failed early in the last heat.

Weather conditions were overcast but the looming rain stayed away all day.
The track surface varied throughout the day with large pools of water changing to mud patches and the clay surface sections creating some dust from Lap 1.

Event spokesperson Colin Jones said the event ran smoothly and the NWORCC would like to thank the competitors who made the trip from the south of the state.

Press Release by: Red Grand Promotions (Cara Tatnell)

18 Nov 2008

Head to Head at the Hillclimb

Off road buggies and rally cars met head to head for a time trial on a 1.5km ascent at Upper Guide Rd, Hampshire on Saturday when the North West Car Club ran their inaugural hillclimb.

Amongst a field of 39 entrants, five hailed from the states off road circles they being Darren Payne, Scott Rockliff, both Ian and Luke Whelan and Stephen Watkins jumping into Darren Paynes single seater for his run.

Payne was victorious in the buggy class with his fastest run of 4 being 1m09s49 which also netted him 4th outright, only 4 seconds slower than the ouright winner Craig Brooks in a Subaru WRX.

Luke Whelan followed very close behind Payne with a time of 1m10s48 to hold down 5th outright.

Scott Rockliff managed 8th outright despite having problems with water in the distributor from the wet weather for the first 2 runs, but sorting it out for his 3rd run in a time of 1m12s08.

Stephen Watkins showed his versatility swapping his usual race winning Ford Escort for a squirt in Darren Payne's Hayabusa powered buggy and rounding out the top ten with a time of 1m12s10.

Ian Whelan was further up the pecking order in 15th position, but his best run of the day was missed due to a timing malfunction (ahh yes the one that got away!) Recently repaired from a rollover at St Helens just 2 weeks ago the Whelan machine will find itself back in the workshop after Ian hit a rock in his last run of the day. Just 40 meters from the finish the impact broke his wheel and a shock wave to the rotor button killed the engine so the car only rolled across the finish line.

Please find:
Full results
Advocate story including picture of Darren Payne
Photos available on the North West Car Club website in the gallery

All off road particpants enjoyed the well ran event and wish to thank NWCC for the opportunity to enter.

Press Release by: Red Grand Promotions (Cara Tatnell)
15 Nov 2008

Watkins wins the 2008 State Series...

Stephen Watkins has won the State Series for 2008, 27 points ahead of nearest rival Shane Marshall.

Stephen Watkins
K300 2007

This is the first time since the State Series began that a sedan has won the coveted trophy.

The award in the past has been won only by buggies, due to the fact that sedans unsuited to sand racing are unable to contest the final round of the series at Peron Dunes each year in November.

Stephen Watkins & Briany Chilcott
State Series Winners 2008

This makes Watkins victory all the more notable as he had to get it right 3 out of 3 chances.

Series rules allow that your worst round can be dropped from the 4 round series. Watkins scored 1st in Class at Latrobe in April and then 1st Outright at both Kellevie Reverse in May and Kellevie 300 in September.

Congratulations to Stephen and navigator and partner Briany Chilcott who has won the Series Navigators Award for 2008. The pair will be presented with their awards at the annual CAMS Motorsport Awards in Hobart in February 2009.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
2 Nov 08


Scott Rockliff of Sassafras has won the ARB 4x4 Accessories Tasmanian Sand Enduro at St Helens by a 5 lap margin from Hobarts’s Thomas Jacobson.

Rockliff who has spent the past year modifying and improving his Rocka A Arm single seat buggy was keen to reclaim the title having last won the event back in 2000.
His vehicle powered by a Subaru 2litre Turbo motor ran faultlessly all weekend and led the race for the entire 100 laps.

2nd place getter Thomas Jacobson also had a trouble free run in his buggy powered by a Nissan SR20 and he drove consistently to complete 95 of the 100 lap race.

The coveted 2 day sand event which formed the final round of state series is known for its high attrition and even to finish the 500 km event is a great achievement.

4 time winner of the event Stewart McKenzie of Ulverstone was sitting in 2nd position at the start of Heat 2 on Saturday when he rolled his single seat Nissan powered buggy along the beach straight.

Rookie team –Launceston’s Adrian Cannon and Corey Saunders made an impressive assault on the event holding down second outright for much of Day 1, until they retired with a blown head gasket early on Day 2.

Claremont father and son team of Ian & Luke Whelan found themselves in 3rd outright today as they also circulated consistently in their 2 seat pro buggy powered by a V8 Chrysler engine. Even a rollover by dad Ian in the fourth heat didn’t compromise their position.

Weather conditions were excellent for both days of racing action that drew the usual strong crowd of spectators to the picturesque coastal setting.

Organisers are pleased with yet another safe and successful event and plans are underway for the 37th Tasmanian Sand Enduro next year in 2009.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
1 Nov 08

Rockliff leads after Day 1 on the sand

Scott Rockliff of Sassafras was a clear leader at the close of the heat 2 in the Tasmanian Sand Enduro at Peron Dunes today.
Rockliffs Subaru powered single seater ran faultlessly all day and he easily completed the maximum 40 laps some 4 laps ahead of the field.

Earlier on Stewart McKenzie of Ulverstone had tussled for the 2nd outright position with rookie team Adrian Cannon and Corey Saunders of Launceston.
A few laps into the 2nd heat Mckenzie was duelling with Corey Saunders down the beach straight when McKenzie hit a wash out and rolled his single seat Pro Lite buggy powered by a Nissan SR20.The damage forced McKenzie from the race and he will not restart on Sunday.

The Cannon /Saunders rookie entry who are driving Hayden Tatnells single seat Rivmasta powered by a Nissan V6 Turbo, then took 2nd position before Saunders suffered a flat rear tyre just laps to go before the end of the final heat of the day.

At the close of competition on day 1 the results were:
Rockliff 1st outright on 40 laps, followed by Hobarts Thomas Jacobson on 38 laps and the Cannon / Saunders team on 36 Laps.

Perfect weather conditions made racing action easier for crews, officials and spectators alike today and organisers are hoping for similar tomorrow when racing starts at 10am.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
13 Oct 2008

Major Sponsor found for Tas Sand Enduro - ARB 4x4 Accessories

ARB 4x4 Accessories are the naming rights sponsor for the Tasmanian Sand Enduro at St Helens Nov 1&2.

Event organiser Peter Hay said that the TORCC are pleased & excited to have the well known ARB brand associated with the race for 2008. "Without the support of corporate sponsorship the event which has ran every year since 1973 could not continue"

The TORCC are also continually grateful to the Southern Cross Network who have sponsored the event for many years by producing a quality TV commercial which enables the club to attract corporate sponsors like ARB due to the exposure it brings.

Other valued minor sponsors this year include, PABS Discount Car Parts, Active Electronics Launceston, Bayside Inn - St Helens, Jailhouse Grill, Coates Hire and Hillcrest Tourist Park.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
22 September 2008

Stephen Watkins takes the K300...

Stephen Watkins of the North West Coast has won the 2 day Kellevie 300, held near Copping in the south of the state on Sep 20&21st.

Watkins had a relatively trouble free run in his well prepared 2 litre Ford Escort to complete the maximum 48 laps in a time of 3:54:01 some 36 minutes ahead of second place Shane Marshall in his 2 seater Super 1650.

Watkins took the lead at the end of Section 2 when race leader Luke Whelan did a wheel bearing. Despite having to change a flat tyre Watkins lead margin saw him clench an easy win - the second for him on this circuit as he also won the Kellevie Reverse in May this year.

The Whelan family (also the event organisers) were no doubt disappointed when son Luke who had won the Top 5 Shootout and was leading the event, broke a wheel bearing at the end of the 2nd section, and a lack of spares meant retirement from the race.

Third outright & 1st in Class went to relative newcomer Jason Woods who runs a 202 Holden Red Motor in his 2 seat Pro Lite entry. Barry Maxwell & son Ashley put a new gearbox in on Saturday nigh and the effort paid off as they scored 2nd in Pro Lite class. David Jacobson managed 3rd in class despite breaking a back hub.

Pro Buggy class saw Stuart Obrien in 1st place followed by James Jacobson in second place, both on 41 laps.
Interestingly none of the Pro Buggys made it into the top 3 outright placings despite the fact they are the highest powered of all the classes. Many race favourites in this class were plaugued by mechanical failure including Whelans wheel bearing issue, Dale Newbon's steering box problems and Brendan Caswell's clutch failure.

Compact and reliable was the order of the day as the Performance 2wd & Super 1650 class led the way on the podium standings. Not so reliable though was Darren Payne's self built very compact Super 1650.
Payne repaired problems with the rear suspension on Saturday night to re start the race on Sunday allowing crew member Rebecca Gabby to drive the first 2 sections of the day. Payne took the wheel again in the final section only to retire almost straight away with damage to the front end.

Despite wild weather all over the state,organisers were pleased with the conditions dealt and welcomed a light shower on Saturday to dampen the dust.

The Kellevie 300 this year was run for the 16th year in a row and is the premier dirt off road event in Tasmania usually attracting the highest entries of all races.
The event which also formed round 3 of the Tasmanian Off Road Series is the pride of the southern based club SORRA, yet interestingly the event has never been won outright by a southerner.
As the club continues to grow in numbers significantly each year though it is a feat that is sure to be overturned in coming years.

Click here to view Results Summary and past winners Honour Board.
Photos coming to site soon.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
20 September 2008

Luke Whelan in the lead - K300 Day 1

The Kellevie 300 got into full swing today as the field were put through their paces in the prologue, the Top Gun Shootout and Section 1 of the 4 Section event.

Darren Payne won the prologue in a time of 3:30:57 followed by Luke Whelan in a time of 3:36:83.
Dale Newbon had the 3rd fastest prologue time followed by Mike Males, James Jacobson, Tim French, Stephen Watkins, David Jacobson, Shayne Marshall and Brendan Caswell making up the top ten.

The 5 fastest prologuer's were then invited to take part in the coveted Top Gun Shootout. James Jacobson did not participate which saw Rookie Tim French take part instead.
The results were as follows
5 - Darren Payne (DNF)
4 - Tim French
3 - Mike Males
2 - Dale Newbon
1 - Luke Whelan

Luke drove well finishing in a time of 3:28:70 some 8 seconds faster than his Prologue time. This the second time Luke has made it onto the 'Kings of Kellevie Top Gunner' honour board, also winning it in 2006.

At the conclusion of Section 1 (12 laps of the 4.3km track) Luke Whelan in his V8 Pro Buggy was a clear winner on 12 laps with a time of 55:36 with Stephen Watkins in his Escort in second place also on 12 laps in a time of 57:13.

Darren Payne only completed 3 laps before his vehicle suffered rear suspension failure but he will attempt to repair it and start section 2 tomorrow morning.

Brendan Caswell & son James only completed one lap before retiring. Reasons unknown although he was reported to have been losing oil after the prologue.

Racing resumes again tomorrow morning at 10.00am.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
17 September 2008

Kellevie 300 - State's South Set to Roar

Normally peaceful bushland on the outskirts of the sleepy town of Copping in the states south, will come alive with the roar of engines and the flying of dirt & dust as 18 off road cars take to the 4.3 km track this weekend for the annual Kellevie 300.

Sponsored this year by Prime Industrial Supplies,the 2 day event promises some great spectator viewing across five classes of off road vehicles and is Round 3 of the Tasmanian Off Road Series.

In the Pro Buggy class former Tasmanian Champion Luke Whelan will be eager to get back to his old stomping ground. The Chrysler V8 , Boom Harra has been equipped with new triple by-pass Fox Shocks , Bead Locker Rims and new paint and graphics since last years event.

Brendan Caswell & son James are eager to return to Kellevie after their underwater escapade at the 'Kellevie Reverse' in May,when their vehicle left the Mexican Bridge and was submerged in the Carlton River. Both James and Brendan escaped unharmed thankfully, although the motor required major work to the head, the pistons and some bent conrods.

In the Pro Lite class Barry Maxwell & son Ashley are hoping to do well with their Rover V8 and new A arm suspension, although Barry has spent a lot of time on others peoples cars and only hopes he has spent enough time on his own!

Jason Woods has recently replaced his torsion bar rear end with FOA Coil Shocks and his father Glenn will make his debut behind the wheel as he co-drives with his son this weekend.

Ulverstone’s Darren Payne would have to be the Super 1650 class favourite in this self built 2 seater powered by a 1300 cc motorbike engine.
Payne had planned to race his single seat Pro Lite version that he won the 2007 event with , but he has opted to team up with car owner Joe Cook and navigator Rebecca Gabby and is confident they will take it up to the best of them.

Rounding out the Super 1650 class is Rookie driver Tim French racing a Toyota 4A- GE and Team Unleashed will be there in the form of Shane & Jayne Marshall and Hannah Allwright in their Southern Cross and Ian James in his Verco Hornet.

Ian James will share the drive with his father Ted and says he is hoping to finish the event at least - a feat that has alluded him in his 2 years of navigating and co driving with Jotham Allwright ( the cars former owner).
Ian says they have recently replaced the distributor which will hopefully rectify a miss in the engine that hampered efforts during the 'Peron Dunes Sprint' at St Helens in July.

In the Performance 2WD category Stephen Watkins in his Ford Escort will be hoping for a similar result to the 'Kellevie Reverse' in May when he won the event outright.

Relative newcomer Dean Maddock will be keen to see how his 2 door 1976 Range Rover handles the dirt after finding he lacked horsepower at the last sand event when he debuted the car in July. The absence of boggy sand and his plans to replace the 3.5 litre factory motor with a 3.9 litre EFI motor will no doubt help him to find some more power.

The 48 lap race is held over 2 days this weekend starting with a prologue on Saturday, followed by the Top Gun shoot out to find the coveted ‘Kings Of Kellevie Top Gun’
Trackside catering available both days. Entry $5 Adults & U/14 Free.
Come and see Pete Holman's American Import CORR Truck on display..

For further event enquiries please contact Ian Whelan on 0417 328 636 or email:

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
12 August 2008

Maddock brings a new Range to off road

Dean Maddock is not only a new face to the Tas off road scene but brings a new style of vehicle to the current Tassie line up - a 1976 two door range rover in the Extreme 4wd class.

A keen 4 wheel driver for the past 20 years, Maddock was searching for a competitive arena to utilise his Rangie which he originally purchased with the idea of going in events like the Outback Challenge. His research led him to the off road scene and he soon became a member of SORRA and started preparing for his first off road event.

The Range Rover’s original 3.5 litre motor is equipped with a set twin carbies off an 84 model. It has a 2 inch XGS suspension kit and on-board compressor for the rear diff lock and 3 thermo fans and Maddock says he has a long list of other mods he would like to get to. “I’ve so far stripped about 100 kgs of weight off it and my goal is to strip another 100kgs to achieve a weight of 1500kgs.”

It is obvious Maddock welcomes a challenge choosing to debut the car at a sand event, the recent Peron Dunes Sprint at St Helens in late July.
The Rangie ran all day with no major problems and netted a finish in 5th outright from the small field.
Not bad considering it was the drivers and the cars maiden race, not to mention the added challenges of racing 4wd’s on the sand.

Maddock and co driver Tony Brown said they were pleased to still be circulating at days end, but were frustrated by their lack of speed. The absence of a low tied didn’t help their cause and apparently the sand was unusually soft.

Maddock is already planning modifications to gain more horsepower and if that fails he has a 5.7lt Gen 3 motor in mind. “The sand was never going to be our event, but I am pig headed and I will return to Peron Dunes.”

Dean is sponsored by: TJM, Justin Cooper Automotive, DMH Australia ,
Plat-a-tac,Insight Banners ,TGA Engineering ,S&G Distributors, E&H Exhaust & Tyres, Motorway Tyres.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
27 July 2008

McKenzie takes the Peron Dunes Sprint

Stewart McKenzie has won the annual winter sand event convincingly from a small field of 7 entrants.His single seat Prolite buggy powered by a Nissan SR20 ran faultlessly all day to complete the maximum 39 laps.

Darren Payne & Rebecca Gaby suffered diff problems toward the end of the event but still managed 2nd outright on 31 laps.

Ian & Edward James also in a Super 1650 entry were 3rd outright on 28 laps followed by Dale Newbon in his Subaru powered Pro Buggy for 4th.

Newcomer Dean Maddock should be thrilled with his effort of steering his 1976 2 door Range Rover around the rough sand course all day to finish 5th outright.

Stuart OBrien & Wayne Campbell suffered engine problems which slowed them considerably although they managed to rectify it for the last section and finished the event in 6th place.

Thomas Jacobson's prolite Hornet buggy suffered mechanical problem and was a DNS.

Weather conditions were surprisingly good with sunshine and a small breeze although the sand was unusually boggy and many needed tow assistance to get out of the dunes at days end.

Race organiser Keith Armitage said it was a great day that was incident free although higher entry numbers will be essential for the future running of the winter event.

Photos and full results coming to the site soon.

Story by: Darren Payne
24 June 2008

A Good Run - Finke 2008

After the successful debut of my Suzuki Hayabusa powered Prolite buggy in 2007 and winning the State title for the class, I had no hesitation in using the light weight bullet proof 175 hp Hayabusa engine for a new twin seat Sportsman class off road race car. With a light weight car and these little amazing engines we were confident of being able to punch well above our weight with this class.

I started the new sportsman buggy built from scratch in October 2007 with the aim of running the car at 1 or 2 local events to test and develop it in readiness to run Finke Desert race in June 2008. After two job changes and some delays with importing parts it was a rush to have the car running and log booked in time to even make Finke.

With the help of a loyal crew (Stewart McKenzie & Joe Cook) and the support of two helpful sponsors (Tongs Sheet Metal & Trik Off-Road Products) we were able to make the Alice Springs race by the skin of our teeth.

We ran the car for the first time on Sunday 25th May for 15 min on some local forestry gravel roads. This was a welcome moment for navigator Rebecca Gaby, her first time ever in a buggy and her only run prior to the prologue at Alice.

The second short run in the car was on Wed 28th May up and down the bitumen road to test gearing. Two more late nights for me and crew in the shed then we loaded up on Fri 30th and headed to the boat for the Bass Strait crossing on Saturday. We are pumped by now but nervous about reliability.

A good run driving to Alice put us there with a couple of days to walk the prologue track and to look at the first 50km of the race track.

The Friday night scrutineering makes us all a bit nervous as the standard of vehicles is - well, bloody awesome!

Late Friday and early Saturday morning Alice Springs was dumped on with heavy rain and our tents weren’t up to it and all of our crew had wet clothes and bedding with little sleep.

We rolled up for prologue and ran our tow vehicle (Hilux) for the course reconnaissance having to select 4 wheel drive just to get around due to the mud and water.

Bec and I were lined up with approx 3 min to our start time when a radiator hose blew off the engine. Thanks to the help of a fellow competitor who gave us a screw driver and water we were fixed and belted up ready for our start.
Awesome fun and a reasonable error free drive resulted in qualifying second in class and 30th outright.

Sunday - race day 1 we were happy to be leaving the line better than half way up field but nervous about the few big open class vehicles capable of running over us on their way past if we weren’t fast enough.

At about 7km into the race we had more radiator hose problems and then again at 19km. I took my time at this point and repaired the hose problem properly and then we made good time to Finke. The 2 stops cost us approximately 15 minutes.
Monday - day two, we started first in class and in 32nd position and had a good run back to Alice. We finished day 2 in twentieth position giving us a Class win and placed 23rd outright.

The crew and I are proud of our car debut and are very grateful for the help of sponsors Tongs Sheet Metal, Trik Off-Road Products, Joe Cook Ag, Phil Napier and the help from Toll Shipping to cross the Bass Strait.

To all the doubters and critics of the chain drive PHFFFFF! The RK 530 GWX chain ran the prologue and the harsh 440 km of race distance without even adjustment and we will run the same chain for the 3 hour sand race at St Helen’s on 26th July.

Click here for photos in the gallery.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
9 June 2008

Fellows wins the Finke - Darren Payne comes home strong.

David Fellows and Andrew Kittle are the winners of the 2008 Tattersall's Finke Desert Race. They dominated the event after winning the Prologue on Saturday.They were the fastest to Finke yesterday and had a smooth run on the 221km journey back to Alice today. The TRD Toyota Kittle Turbo V6 Toyota Jimco ran faultlessly. Their time for the return run was 1h51m43 giving them a total time for the event 3h39m02s.

Ulverstone's Darren Payne has joined the ranks of Hayden Tatnell and Pete Holman as being the only Tasmanian's to finish this tough & gruelling race across the Simpson Desert in the buggy category.

Pete Holman finished his first attempt at the event in 2004 and Hayden Tatnell of Launceston has finished the event 6 out of 6 times, coming 2nd outright in 2003, a feat he almost repeated again in 2007 until his car stopped within meters of the finish line.

Darren Payne's achievement of finishing 23rd outright and first in class is particularly sweet considering he was debuting his home made, low budget buggy powered by an engine & transmission out of a 1300cc suzuki motorbike.

Problems struck yesterday on Leg One when a radiator hose blew off twice and had to be repaired. Despite lost time, Payne and rookie navigator Rebbecca Gabby arrived at Finke in 31st position.

Todays run home was trouble free according to Payne who added that the car had "not suffered any damage at all, and nothing was even shaken loose". Only a routine service at the overnight Finke stop was needed to get the car over the finish line. For all those that predicted the "chain would fly off " Payne is pleased to announce the chain never even came loose!

When big names and big budgets such as Bentley, Crowe, Burrows and Rentsch all DNF'd due to mechanical failure, in this, the toughest off road race in Australia, it is little wonder the Payne team are estatic, following the maiden voyage performance of their 'pocket rocket'

With all the cars accounted for the bikes are presently on the return journey and an update wil follow when results are known.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
8 June 2008

Touch down at Finke.. Day 1 is done !

David Fellows and Andrew Kittle in the Kittle TRD Toyota V6 Jimco Pro Class Buggy made quick time in the damp conditions after starting first today at Alice Springs to be the first vehicle to complete the 221kms to Finke. Fellows time was 01:47:19

Our only Tasmanian car entrant, Darren Payne has made it to Finke in a time of 3:01:39 and is currently 1st in class and 31st outright.

Earlier today there was some thought that Payne had broken down as the progress results on the Finke website did not show that he had passed through any checkpoints and then all results were jammed for most of the afternoon. Early this evening it was confirmed both by website results and crew member Stewart McKenzie that Darren had infact made it the 221kms to Finke.

McKenzie said that apparently Payne & Gabby were forced to pull up some 15 kms after the Alice start when a metal linkage clamp blew off the radiator hose. Payne obviously repaired the damage and rejoined the race after losing some 30 odd minutes, judging by the elapsed stage time.

Whilst the team is uncontactable by phone as they stay overnight at the Finke camp, McKenzie who is back in Alice, said he is thrilled that they have made it half way to arrive first in class and can only hope they are set for a trouble free run back tomorrow. Payne who has competed at Finke twice before on a motorbike, will leave the Finke start line tomorrow at 08.11am Alice Springs time.

In the bike category all of the Tasmanian riders have made it to Finke which is an enormous achievment when you consider out of over 500 entrants that only 406 have qualified for a Day 1 finish time. The other 100 were either OOT (out of the 4 hr window of time) DNF or DNS.

Scott Wellman of Launceston should be thrilled with his ride today arriving at Finke in 58th position in a time of 2:39:35. The 24 year old Finke rookie started from 132nd position and was the first Tasmanian rider to reach Finke with Shane Charleston of Wilmot 9 minutes behind him in 93rd position.

Sadly an ABC news story early this evening reported that a 37 year old bike rider competing in the race has been killed at 2.30pm this afternoon when he crashed his bike into a tree some 130 kms south of Alice. It is the third time a competitor has died in the event's 33 year history. Race organisers say the 440 kilometre off-road event will go on.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell and Off Road
7 June 2008

Finke Prologue Results.. inc the Tassie contingent

David Fellows and Andrew Kittle in the Peter Kittle TRD Toyota Jimco Pro Buggy were the fastest in the Prologue for the Tattersall's Finke Desert Race today. Fellows time of 5m26.42s was exceptionally good given the very wet and muddy conditions and 16 seconds clear of the field.

Second was Glen Owen and Deon Beattie from Warrnambool with a time of 5m42.32s

Chris Coultard and Danny Bartells in the Robert Hawker V8 Chev powered Jimco completed the prologue in a time of 5m45.67s to be third fastest.

Andrew Pinto and Clint Aldridge from Alice Springs were fourth fastest in a time of 5m47.18s

Conditions for the prologue were extremely wet and muddy with the course chopping up badly and each car that travelled it made it a challenge for the competitors who started down the order.

Ulverstone's Darren Payne in his 1.3 litre twin seater was pleased to prologue 30th in a time of 6:38:20 from a field of 67 starters. Payne said aside from the struggle to keep the car in a straight line in the wet conditions, that it ran smoothly and he and rookie navigator Rebecca Gabby are all set for race start early tomorrow.

Shannon and Ian Rentsch failed to complete the prologue when their Nissan V6 Chenowth stopped with no drive. A quick inspection revealed that it was not a drive shaft or cv problem. The Rentsch team will spend the rest of today getting to the cause of the problem and repair it to enable them to start the race to Finke tomorrow.

Jason Hill from the NT ( a previous Finke winner ) won the prologue in the bike category today with a time of 5:25:53.

The 5 Tasmanian bike entrants all finshed the prologue, with Scott Welman from Launceston first home out of the Tassie boys in a time of 7m 41s in 127th position.
Shane Charleston from Wilmot was 131st and Craig Charleston 133rd.
Michael Woolnough from Smithton was 137th and Sean Charleston was 189th in latest provisional results.

For more detailed and updated results see the Finke website.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
23 May 2008

Caswells BIG SPLASH !

Brendan Caswell and son James have not allowed their harrowing underwater experience to dampen (excuse the pun) their enthusiasm to jump back into the race seat. Almost a week on from their frightening river escapade, they are nursing a few cuts and bruises, but are already planning their next race. If the motor is okay which they think it is they hope to enter St Helens in July or at the very least Kellevie in September.

The drama unfolded last Saturday in the 2nd round of the State Series at the 'Kellevie Reverse' when driver Brendan, brought his pro buggy down the back straight too fast and lost control of the vehicle when the brakes locked up on the entrance to the Mexican Bridge. The car slid along the side log rail of the bridge before tipping over and landing upside down in the river.

13 year old James managed to release his belts and escape the car, but Brendan in a deeper hole of the river found himself submerged head and shoulders in the cold waters upside down and was struggling to release his seatbelt.

Enter Dion Hardy, an official at the scene who braved the cold waters chest deep and dived his hand in, released Brendan's seatbelt and dragged him from the car.

Event organisers say the placement of a chicane before the bridge, to slow the vehicles may be necessary if the reverse track is utilised in the future.

Some images of the submerged car have been added to the event photo gallery.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell
20 May 2008

Stephen Watkins wins the '2008 Kellevie Reverse'

Stephen Watkins from the North West Coast has taken out the 2nd round of the Tas Off Road Series last weekend. Watkins drove his 2 litre Escort consistently all day and took the lead in the last heat when race leader Luke Whelan's vehicle, broke the back suspension.

11 entries began the event at the Kellevie track near Copping with only 6 cars qualifying for a finish.
Event organiser Karen Whelan reported that the weather was perfect and the track, ran in reverse for the first time, was not only new but fast.

So much so, that two of the more experienced competitors spent some time off the track in two seperate incidents.
Veteran competitor Mike Males was tussling with Luke Whelan when he hit a tree and his pro buggy 'end for ended'.
Later Brendan Caswell and son James in the navigator seat, got a nasty shock when their vehicle landed upside down in the river. Submerged in water James managed to free himself but Brendan in deeper water was struggling to free himself. Official Dion Hardy rushed into the river and swiftly found the release button on Brendans belts.
Dion will no doubt be awarded for his bravery and swift actions.

No one was injured and the rest of the day was incident free.

Results were as follows:

1st - Luke Whelan #78
2nd - Brendan Caswell #23
3rd - Stephen Watkins #555

1st - Stephen Watkins #555
2nd - Shane Marshall #265
3rd - Luke Whelan #78

Navigators Award: Briany Chilcott #555
Best Presented: Stuart O'Brien & Wayne Campbell #28

More results click here.

Photos by Peter Hay can be viewed in our online album - click here.
Photos by professional sport photographer - Alan from Altas Photography can be viewed on his website.

Press Release by: Cara Tatnell & Keith Armitage
Wed 23 April 2008

Darren Payne wins first round of the Tas Off Road Racing Series

Darren Payne has taken the outright win in round one of the Tasmanian Off Road Series held at Latrobe on Saturday 19 April.

The weather was fine for the four heat event and spectators welcomed quad bike racing during the breaks courtesy of the Tasmanian Endurance Riders Club.

Heat 1 was a close battle between Darren Payne in his 1300 cc Prolite buggy and Luke Whelan and Eddie Hellessey in the Whelans 5.9ltr Chrysler V8 powered Boom Harra.
It was nose and tail at the turns and down the straights with spectators glued to the action before Darren Payne finally got past and won the first heat of the day.

Heat 2 began with Payne on pole but Luke Whelan was absent from the start line due to a drive shaft problem.
The action was still swift with Stephen Watkins in his Ford Escort, Ian James in his Super1650 Verco Hornet and Nigel Horton all tussling for position.

The third heat saw Darren Payne still out in front in his self built Suzuki powered single seater.
2wd Performance entries of Watkins & Horton continued to battle it out with Stephen Watkins really making the Escort fly over the control tower jump.

Terry Morice took the wheel of James Jacobsons 4.4ltr Leyland powered Hornet and in an enthusiastic attempt at passing, Terry tested the top of the ‘tyre wall’ on the sweeper bend.
No damage to the car but it was certainly spectacular.

Shane Marshall & Hannah Allwright in Car #265 were forced to retire when the motor overheated even melting the distributor cap and the power steering hose blew off.

In Heat 4,Payne lead the heat convincingly to wrap up the outright win, with Watkins taking 2nd outright and Dale Newbon who had kept a steady pace all day came in 3rd.

Newcomers Barry & Ashley Maxwell in Car #105 had a great result gaining 2nd in Prolite class and Jason & Glenn Woods ( also newcomers) came in 3rd in the Prolites.

Full results inc times coming to the website soon.

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