Gartner and Martin headline ARB Hillston
Gartner and Martin headline ARB Hillston
July 3, 2023 | Events
By TC Media
Pics courtesy of Andrew Stott
The Griffith Off Road Club are once again set to welcome off-roaders from across the country to Hillston this weekend for the 2023 ARB Tyrepower Griffith The Gap 440, Round 2 of the highly anticipated ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship.
Following the successful running of the inaugural The Gap 440 last July, this weekend’s edition without 2022 champion Toby Price who is yet to enter, will be spearheaded by ARB Big Desert 480 victor Greg Gartner #410 behind the wheel of his Ford powered Class 4 Geiser Bros TT, and current ARB Australian champion Brent Martin #1 who continues to amaze in his Class 1 Jimco.
Anytime recent Finke runner up Gartner and Martin, who has incredibly finished on the outright podium in his past six ARB Championship appearances including two victories, are in action, they pose a formidable force.
Two time ARB Australian champion, and 2022 Pines Enduro conqueror Danny Brown #42 is expected to be a strong challenger in the team’s Ultimate Alumi Craft; an early exit at the corresponding event last year will have the Victorian chasing a strong result. Likewise, Aaron James #93, who will be out for revenge after his unfortunate mishap in 2022, whilst Griffith’s very own Jason Richards #119 who led the inaugural Hillston event into Sunday last year in his Class 1 Chenowth will be chasing a fairytale victory on home soil.
Amongst the 66 strong field there are many other key outright contenders; including last years The Gap 440 runner up Dale Martin #1125 running the teams Class 11 Alpha, North Queenslander Michael Marson #32 who finished second at Stackpoole in 2019, the hard charging Clayton Chapman #15, eight time Australian champion Mark Burrows #21 will make his third appearance in his new MBR Monkfab Ultimate machine and local Class 10 sensation Steven ‘Bowie’ Graham #1065 who came tantalising close to a home town podium finish in 2022.
More competitors seeking a podium finish at The Gap 440 include ARB Big Desert 480 third place getter Andy Brown #45, two time winner this season Brett Plant #929, Loveday Park’s Toby Whateley #1121, Stuart Chapman #17, Matthew Burrows #123, Element campaigner Andrew Murdock #1166 and Class 1 stalwart Tony Fehlhaber #138, who are all capable of deep runs at Hillston.
In the class previews Craig Barnett #68 and David Middlemiss #117, in addition to club members Stephen Chilby #70 and Glenn Collis #147 who finished seventh outright in 2022 are names to watch out for in the Ultimate and Class 1 contingent.
Joining Class 10 championship leader Bowie Graham in the largest field of the weekend is the inform local Dean Meginley #1087, club president Karl Power #1043, and Hillston’s Dale Standen #1092, whilst North Queenslander Brayden Mifsud #1026, Rodney Visser #1057 and Steven Orr #1051 will be right in the mix.
Russell Hartnett #245 was superb at ‘Mactocton’ in 2022 finishing fifth outright, and this weekend he will seek to defend his Class 2 title, with Brock Pendlebury #201 and local legend Rhett Standen #225 ready to spoil the party. Jake Williams #1137 and Darren Frankling #1110 join a hotly contested Class 11 line up, whilst Dean Williams #357 and Matthew Lavis #6684 are the sole representatives in their class.
Damien Nicol #430, Jamie Knight #439, Dean Miller #408, Dave Muir #448, and Ben Gartner #417 will all like their chances in Class 4, with Scott Coulston #671, and newcomer Matthew Hummer #633 set to clash for Class 6 honours.
In the 4WD battles, Benny Thompson #833 and Graeme Hicks #812 are ready to duel it out in Class 8, alongside Heath Weedon #779, Norman Parker #798, Thomas Forssman #701, and Chris Owen #715 who will do similar in Class 7.
The ARB Tyrepower Griffith The Gap 440 would not be possible without the support of championship partners ARB 4X4 Accessories, Mickey Thompson Tyres and Raceline Wheels Australia along with the events major sponsor ARB Tyrepower Griffith, and gold sponsors; Serafin Ag, Fendt, Town and Country Tyres, Burson and Steel-It Australia, plus Craig McKeon Earthmoving, Milbrae Precast, Hillston Readymix and All Steel Griffith for all their incredible work behind the scenes.
There is plenty to look forward to at Hillston this weekend, as the next instalment of the 2023 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship unfolds, with all eyes on who will crowned the second ‘The Gap 440’ champion.