Gartner delights at ARB Rainbow
Gartner delights at ARB Rainbow
March 15, 2023 | Races
By TC Media
Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings #410 roared to life on Sunday, securing a powerful outright victory at the weekend’s ARB Big Desert 480 in Rainbow, Round 1 of the 2023 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship.
After a disappointing 2022 season for Gartner by his lofty standards, the hard charging South Australian, who has taken a liking to the varying characteristics of the Rainbow circuit, turned a small overnight lead into a scintillating ten minute triumph in his Ford powered Geiser Bros Trophy Truck.
On a weekend highlighted by big name casualties, Gartner came out firing on Sunday, and after extending his lead to over four minutes at the end of the first 80km lap, the ever smiling Gartner who at his dominant best was never headed.
Defending ARB Big Desert 480 and ARB Australian champions Brent Martin and Andrew de Simone #1 continued their incredible run in the Martin Motorsports Jimco, finishing the 2023 season opener in second position. Despite not having the raw speed of Gartner through the brutal Rainbow desert on Sunday, it was a weekend of consolidation for the Victorian who has now claimed five ARB Australian round podiums in succession; an extraordinary feat for Martin and his crew.
Australian off road legend Andy Brown and navigator Danny Hardman #42 launched their 2023 campaign on a high, closing out the ARB Big Desert 480 outright podium in the teams Nissan V8 powered Alumi Craft, five minutes off the pace of Martin, a huge effort in a high quality field.
Next Gen star Matt Burrows and Jay Mitchell #123 recorded their career best finish to date in the MBR Aussie Spec Jimco. After battling his father Mark #21 over the weekend, it was Matt who worked his way from eighth heading into the final two laps to snare second in Class 1 and fourth outright. Griffith father and daughter duo Steven and Ella Graham #1065 performed faultlessly in their Honda powered Alumi Craft, taking home fifth outright and the Class 10 silverware from their Rainbow adventure.
Class 4 runners up Michael Magher and Ray Farrell #482 saluted the chequered flag in sixth place, ahead of David and Alice Middlemiss #117, who made it consecutive third place finishes in Class 1 at the ARB Big Desert 480.
Rounding out the Top 10 outright was Craig and Megan Barnett #68 in eighth, the Novacastrian’s also collected second in the Ultimate Class, James Tyrell #1036 was a further 3 minutes adrift in ninth in his single seater Class 10 Jimco, whilst Simon Gubbins and Ben Lugg #690 crossed for an impressive Class 6 victory, in tenth outright.
Norman (Hank) Parker and Mark Robertson #798 drove their 76series Landcruiser to a maiden Class 7 ARB Australian championship round victory, outlasting Heath and Michelle Weedon #779 in second, and Brett and Chris Tillson #701 who launched their title defence in third. Whilst, in the closest of class finishes, Pete Makeham and Michael Hackney #1112 edged out Darren Frankling and Rob Hackney #1110 in the battle of the Class 11 Can Am Mavericks by a mere 2.30mins.
Alice Springs local Brad Geraghty and Rod Berry #210 made the long trek worthwhile taking home the Class 2 title, ahead of Peter and Jake Stevenson #248 in second, with last year’s ARB Australian Class 2 champion Brock Pendlebury and navigator Ty Gerardi #201 awarded third place after an early exit.
In other class results from the ARB Big Desert 480, Matt Lavis and Andrew Dance #6684 claimed the Class 66 crown, Dean Miller and Joe Cassise #408 snared the final spot on the Class 4 podium, North Queenslanders Rob Stieber and Jason Lavis #1082 were rewarded for their efforts crossing third in Class 10, whilst Aaron Haby #57 with a cast of navigators – Liz and Chelsea Haby and Adam McGuire who slotted into the navigators seat for the final two laps on Sunday finished third in the Ultimate Class, after experiencing electrical issues in their Element Prodigy over the weekend.
Steve Chilby and Matthew Smith #614 put down some quality laps times in Class 6 on Sunday, though had to settle for second after early dramas in a credible debut finish for the team, while last year’s ARB Australian outright runners up Glenn Pike and Aidan Campagnolo #2 settled for third.
After watching a number of notable names fall away on Saturday including, Aaron James #93, Clayton Chapman #15, Jason Richards #119, Hayden Bentley #818, Dale Martin #5, Matt Hanson #7, Peter Sibson #412, Glenn Pike #675, Peter Stevenson #248, and Glenn Spizzo #922, Sunday was no exception with Mark Burrows #21 – CV, Damien Nicol #430, Simon Tucker #110 – engine, Dean Carter #18 – gearbox, Michael Marson #32, Craig Krog #32 – engine, Rod Visser #1057 – engine, Brock Pendlebury #201, and Brett Tillson #701, all bowing out.
The 2023 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship will now turn its attention to the ARB TCT The Gap 440 at Hillston – held over the 7-9th of July.