Masterful Martin at ARB Hillston

Masterful Martin at ARB Hillston

By TC Media
Pics courtesy of Andy Stott

Current ARB Australian Off Road Racing champions Brent Martin and Andre de Simone #1 have continued on their merry ways, securing a dramatic outright triumph at the weekends ARB Tyrepower Griffith The Gap 440, Round 2 of the 2023 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship.


As the track dried out, Martin came into his own on Sunday; the sensational Victorian entered the compulsory service break with a small lead after the retirement of his brother Dale #1125, before crossing for a six minute victory and a remarkable seventh consecutive outright podium at ARB championship level in his Class 1 Jimco.

ARB Big Desert 480 victors Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings #410 entertained the Hillston locals with another brilliant display in his Class 4 Geiser Bros TT. The hard charging South Australians finished second outright in challenging conditions to consolidate his spot alongside Martin at the top of the ARB Australian Off Road Racing standings.


Two-time ARB Australian Off Road Racing champions Danny Brown and George Apted #42 were just eighteen seconds of Martin at the service break, however a late belt change on track dropped the Ultimate champions to third outright; 1minute 46seconds adrift of Gartner.


Class 11 Element Prodigy campaigners Andy and Fletcher Murdock #1166 crossed in fourth; their highest ever outright result at ARB Australian championship level was made even more impressive after starting Sunday in tenth. Griffith locals Steven and Ella Graham #1065 performed flawlessly in their Class 10 winning Alumi Craft; a memorable fifth outright finish on home soil, was an identical result from their season opener at Rainbow.



Ultimate runners up Andy Brown and Danny Hardman #45 saluted the chequered flag in sixth, despite a flat tyre during Saturday’s section, whilst locals Dean Meginley and Dean Demarco #1087 crossed proudly in seventh ahead of North Queenslanders Michael Marson and Chris Colborne #32 in eighth, who themselves had a tyre drama on Sunday.

David and Alice Middlemiss #117 claimed second place in Class 1 and ninth outright, finishing two minutes ahead of Craig Krog and Dean Searle #923 in tenth; the Queenslanders roared through the field on Sunday after a broken steering hose hampered their first section.

Locals Rhett Standen and Josh Lyell #225 broke through for a maiden Class 2 victory on home soil, ahead of Russell and Judy Hartnett #245 in second; the Queenslanders completing 2 laps for the weekend with engine failure ending their trip south. Matt Hummer and Aaron Lukschanderl #633 claimed the Class 6 silverware on debut, likewise Class 8 competitors Graeme Hicks and Karl Quast #812 who outlasted Queenslanders Hank Parker and Mark Robertson #798.


In other class results from the ARB Tyrepower Griffith The Gap 440, Matt Lavis and Andrew Dance #6684 claimed consecutive Class 66 crowns, whilst Heath and Michelle Weedon #779 drove their Patrol to Class 7 success. Jason and Charlotte Richards #119 were rewarded for their Sunday heroics to finish third in Class 1 after breaking an axle on Saturday’s start line, while club President Karl Power and daughter Tess #1043 settled for third in Class 10 after a heavy impact ended their run on Sunday’s second lap.



Goondiwindi’s Jamie Knight and Lachlan Brosnan #439 stayed consistent to secure second in Class 4, whilst Dean Miller and Ben Farley #408 overcame a weekend of issues to claim the final spot on the class podium. Darren Frankling and Rob Hackney #1110 made it consecutive Class 11 runner up finishes, with Dale Martin and Adrian Rowe #1125 slotting into third, only one lap showing on the timesheets for Martin on Sunday after the Alpha rolled early in lap two, only to be righted and on its way; torque converter issues finally ending their eventful Hillston campaign.

After watching a number of notables fall away on Saturday including Stuart Chapman #17, Chris Martin #23, Brayden Mifsud #1026, Darren Mott #435, Mark Foster #411, Scott Coulston #671, Sean Ratcliffe #1007, Thomas Forssman #701 and Steve Chilby #70, Sunday’s attrition rate was just as high.

Overnight leader Dale Martin #1125 – torque converter, Toby Whateley #1121 – power steering, Brett Plant #929 – brakes, Tony Fehlhaber #138 – fuel pump, Clayton Chapman #15 – engine, Jake Williams #1137 – electrical, Russell Hartnett #245 – engine, Dave Muir #448 – fuel pressure, Ben Gartner #417 – alternator, Chris Land #180 – axle, Glenn McIntyre #43 – rear hub, Damien Nicol #430 – diff, Aaron James #93, Steven Von Pein #422, Hank Parker #798, Heath Weedon #779, Ken Holt #1058, Glenn Collis #147, David Vallance #1021, David Mendham #1070, Steven Orr #1051, and club president Karl Power #1043, all bowing out during Sunday’s four lap section.

The ARB Tyrepower Griffith The Gap 440 would not have been 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.


The 2023 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship will now turn its attention to Round 3, the ARB Goondiwindi 400, held over the 11-13th of August.

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