Round 1 of the 2016 CAMS PGS Industries has started the series with a bang! Day 1 of the Rod Hatter Memorial, Duel in the Dirt, Perenjori 360 is in the books and not without a few surprises. Even before the green flag flew we had already lost the 158 Prolite machine due to engine dramas which were found inbetween backing the car off the trailer and driving to the scrutineering shed.
During Prologue Shane Elphinstone hit a tree which unfortunately for the #44 crew meant they would be seeded for section 1. Darren Agrela set a blistering time on his prologue run, which was only good enough for 3rd place. Justin Steadman was the quickest of the Pro Buggies, but was still 2 seconds shy of surprise pole sitter Harleigh Uren who was debuting his awesome One Speed Racing Pro 2 Extreme 2wd Truck. During section 1, Uren looked to have extended his lead during lap 1, but required a fuel stop between laps which dropped him back through the pack before some niggling teething issues halted his progress. Uren would get back out for the night lap to comfortably set the quickest tin top lap at night.
Brett Smith has shown a consistent and steady approach to his WAORC title defence, moving up to 4th outright and 1st in Pro Lite. Brad Cooper has been getting quicker and quicker all weekend and sits in 3rd outright, just over a minute off 2nd place. Shane Elphinstone proved that his prologue issues were long behind them, moving up to 2nd outright. But the man who they have all been trying to catch is Darren Agrela in his #39 Undecided Racing Jimco. Agrela led the first 2 laps of the event, but dram struck the team as their lights failed whilst the vehicle was being gridded up for the night race. After some frantic work by the crew, Agrela managed to set the fastest night lap and hold just over a 3 minute lead with 2 more sections of 2 laps to come on Sunday
Justin Steadman proved throughout the day that he was on the pace, however an altercation with a tree at the start of lap 2 stopped the Bat Buggy dead in its tracks. The much hyped Extreme 4wd Battle has turned into a massive race of attrition. Garry Povah leads from Leigh Cooper and Russell Cullen. Daniel Smith and Brad Krepp were both out with engine dramas, whilst Scott Bryce can count himself lucky to still be in the race after the #888 machine caught fire as it crossed the finish line of prologue. Dirk Van Geest holds the lead in the Production 4wd class from Ted Schultz, whilst Graeme Bentink was a DNF today due to gearbox issues. The man of the moment in Super 1650 is Nathaniel Edwards, punching above his weight to lead the class from Aaron Dark
The somewhat reduced field will have 200kms spread over 4 laps to sort out the final positions tomorrow in what should continue to be a fiercely fought battle. Results can be found here