As we get prepared for Round 3 of the 2019 WAORC at Bencubbin lets take a quick look at the points situation after 2 rounds. With some fantastic racing already seen over the first 2 rounds, it is the competitors who have been most consistent who are occupying the top placings and this championship race is wide open!
In 1st place for the outright points for the first time in WAORC history is a SXS and its a competitor who is in his rookie season. Mat Birnie has had strong run so far with a 5th and a 4th and sits on 33 points holds a 4 point lead. In 2nd place outright is Peter Barrett, the Sportslite competitor from Carnarvon who has been impressive in both outings so far this season. Mark Murray has slotted his Diesel powered Extreme 4wd into 3rd outright and is followed by Mark Harris who sits 4th in his CanAm X3 on 22 points. The round winners from the first 2 races, Darren Agrela and Shane Elphinstone hold down 5th and 6th on 21 points in their twin turbo Jimcos with Sean Fitzpatrick, another rookie who has put in a strong shift early also on 21 points. Gavin Rodgers is 8th with 20 points with Phil Shepley and John Pursehouse rounding out the top 10, both sitting on 19 points. Its tight at the top and as we hit the halfway point in the season, Bencubbin could be a turning point on the race for WA #1
Entries for the Marsue Transport Bencubbin 360, which will be the 10th event to be held at Bencubbin will be opening soon,. Stay tuned as the WAORRA, the event organisers are working on something special!
Progressive points for outright and classes after 2 rounds can be found here
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The Buggy classes have come to put on a show at the 2019 Gascoyne Dash as a large field of entrants including some former winners are lined up and ready to go. The Pro Buggy class will be a battle of the heavyweights as some of the sports big names prepare to go toe to toe through the desert.
#19 Troy Schoen had a difficult run in 2018, but is back to make amends this year. Shane Elphinstone has always been strong when the WAORC heads to the north west and will again be one of the front runners. #61 Dean Terry is making his Pro Buggy class debut after previously piloting a Can-Am and will be a dark horse in the Terry Haulage Jimco. Brett Renton will be flying the flag for the locals in his Jimco and David Don will be hoping for a strong run in his #76 ‘Troppy Tavern’ Buggy. Round 1 winners Undecided Racing will be hoping to back up their Perenjori win and taste the champagne again at Round 2, whilst Justin Steadman will be hoping for a better run this round after a broken axle put him out of Round 1 in early March. The #968 of Brad Cooper will be a strong contender again this year and look out for the day 2 charge as this team has been known to lay out all on the line late in the race
In the Prolite class George Metaxas and Mal Yeardley will duke it out for honors, but both will be hoping that they can nail down a few of the higher powered Pro Buggy competitors. In Sportslite Peter Barrett is the only competitor in his Honda powered Bullet, whilst Michael Davis is the only Super 1650 competitor
All eyes will be on this group of competitors to see who can fire the first shot by taking pole position during prologue and if they can then convert the dust free run into a strong day 1 advantage. We are tipping a close race between all of the buggy competitors and cant wait to see the red dirt fly!
The SXS class competitors have once again turned up in very strong numbers with 12 competitors lining up at the 2019 Gascoyne Dash. All 12 are competing in the SXS Turbo class and are split across 3 different manufacturers, Polaris, Yamaha and Can-Am. This battle is going to go right down to the wire at one of the toughest desert events in Australia
Simon Clifford, Rob Alford, Ben Hodge and Brent Fowler make up a quartet of Polaris competitors who are making the trip north. Alford and Hodge are armed with the latest model, the Polaris Turbo S and will be hoping to make their mark. Clifford and Fowler are both running the RZR Turbo model and will be coming into the event having shown some exceptional speed earlier this season
Flying the Flag for CanAm there are 7 x X3’s ready to take on WA’s finest. #611 Mark Harris currently sits 3rd outright in the WAORC after a brilliant opening round at Perenjori and will be one of the favorites. Chris Kounis is making his debut in a brand new X3, whilst Colin Bevan, Mathew Birnie and Sean Fitzpatrick are all back for their second WAORC event. Gavin Rodgers and Brad Close round out the list of Can-Ams and both will be red hot contenders in the class battle
The final competitor in the class and man who laid down a very impressive time in 2018 is Mark Wainwright. The Yamaha pilot has upgraded the #627 machine with the addition of a turbo and will be hoping for a repeat of the 2nd outright that he pulled on the Carnarvon to Gascoyne Junction leg of last years race.
With such a closely matched field, a clean run both ways will be essential in the battle for a podium finish.
The 2019 Coral Coast Helicopters, Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash is set to light up the north west and a strong field of 35 entries are ready to get down to business. The Dash typically has been a favorite amongst the tin top competitors and this year has been no different
In the 2wd classes we see #427 Chris Hill making his debut in the Idlewild Off Road Chevy Silverado. The big truck will start as class favorite, but will be wary of the threat posed by the #455 Trophy Lancer of Russ Cullen and Fluffy Fahey. The final 2wd entrant is the iconic Performance 2wd Kingswood run out of the WA Off Road Junior Development Program stable. Matty Beck is back for another run and will be sure to fly the flag high for the team
In Production 4wd it will be a three-way fight between Barry Schultz, Gary Kirkwood and Chris May. With three different vehicles, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, A Nissan GU Patrol and a Nissan GQ Patrol at the ready its going for an interesting race to Gascoyne Junction and back
The Extreme 4wd class will feature a red hot battle and this one really is anyone’s game! #807 John Pursehouse saddles up in his Ford Ranger and will surely start as one of the class favorites. Peer Horn in his Mercedes G Wagon thrives on this style of event and will be looking to emerge from the desert victorious. Greg Pickersgill fresh from a run at Perenjori is now acclimatized to his GQ Patrol and will be another to watch. The final 2 competitors in the class have gone toe to toe in the north west numerous times and the #848 of Mitchell Davies and #866 of Mark Murray will be in strong contention for a podium finish
With all the action kicking off this week the Round 2 of the 2019 WAORC is going to be another massive event. Stay tuned as we next take a look at the SXS and buggy competitors for this years Gas Dash
Darren Agrela has taken a flag to flag victory as he fires a warning shot to his rivals at the GTurbo, Rod Hatter Memorial Perenjori 360. Held in warm conditions it looked like we were set for a tough race right from the outset as there were surprises during the prologue run. 3 times and reigning WAORC champion Jared Percival faltered early with mechanical gremlins making him a DNF on prologue. Agrela sealed his position at the front of the field with a 10.03.9 with the Extreme 2wd of Colin Doney next best clocking a 10.11.0 to apply some pressure the Undecided Racing Team. Justin Steadman shook off the rust to take 3rd outright in his return to racing as Cooper and Hickey rounded out the top 5
Section 1 saw Agrela fly away from the field and was in untouchable form to take a 1 minute 42 second lead over Colin Doney. Justin Steadman rounded out the top 3 as Yeardley, Cooper and Hickey fell out of contention and Percival again did not finish. With the race turning into a battle just to make it to the line the pits were busy on Saturday night as crews rebuilt and prepped their vehicles for the 2 sections on Sunday
Section 2 saw the face of the race change dramatically as Agrela continued to lead unchallenged, but behind him all hell was breaking loose. Colin Doney had a flat tyre to put paid to his challenge, whilst Steadman broke an axle, leaving him stranded at the 40km marker. Shepley rose the occasion and moved into 2nd outright, whilst Mark Harris pushed hard to claim 3rd position. The 4wds of Mark Murray and Garry Povah were having a red hot battle whilst Graeme Bentink was very impressive in making his way into the top 10 in his Production 4wd
The final section was a nervy one for the top 3 runners, particularly Shepley who had a flat tyre early which threatened to derail his podium push. Agrela cruised home out in front to take a popular victory for the 2019 GTurbo Rod Hatter Memorial Perenjori 360. With such a dominant performance in the books this is certainly an ominous sign for his rivals in this years CAMS, Westside Insurance & Carnarvon Motel WAORC. Shepley had dropped a lot of positions on road, but managed to hold onto his 2nd outright and 1st in Extreme 2wd, a result which has been a long time coming for the Digrite crew. 3rd place in one of the drives of the weekend was the #611 of Mark Harris and Gloria Viggiano. Garry Povah had a big last section push to take the Extreme 4wd class, whilst Karl Richardson and Peter Barrett were victorious in Performance 2wd and Sportslite respectively.
Of the original 39 starters, just 19 managed to complete all 6 laps as the 2019 CAMS, Westside Insurance & Carnarvon Motel WAORC got off to a spectacular start. We now look ahead to Easter as the prestigious Gascoyne Dash marks round 2 of the series
The heavy hitters of the 2019 CAMS, Westside Insurance & Carnarvon Motel WAORC have come out to play and its a field of 5 Pro buggies that are ready to raise hell at Perenjori. Its going to be game on when the pro buggies leave the line as all 5 are closely matched and will be sure to put on one hell of a race
32 – David Hickey in his Jungle Motorsport Porter is ready for an assault on the Gturbo Rod Hatter Memorial Perenjori 360. Ably assisted by Ashley Ruthers, this duo have shown in the past that they can run at the front and have the pace to push for a podium finish
39 -Darren Agrela in the Undecided Racing Jimco is undoubtedly one of the quickest competitors in the state. The #39 machine is a proven race winner and punches some serious ponies out from its VQ35 twin turbo. Win or lose, this team will put on a show!
68 – Justin Steadman doesn’t compete in WAORC events all that regularly, but when other competitors see his name on the entry list, they take note. Steadman has a lightning quick chev powered BAT at his disposal and if its on song will be aiming for the top spot of the podium
99 – Marcus Wells has tasted success at Perenjori in the past, spraying the champagne in 2017 with a fine 3rd outright. In a tough field, Wells will be a contender as long as he has a clean run to the chequered flag on Sunday afternoon
968 – Brad Cooper needs no introduction when it comes to off road racing in Western Australia. The multiple times Outright champion is race winning threat every time he shows up at the start line. Watch out for a big charge on day 2 as Cooper has been known to finish events off in a blaze of dust and V8 powered fury