Rainbow to launch 2023 ARB Australian Championship

Rainbow to launch 2023 ARB Australian Championship

By TC Media 
Pics courtesy of Andrew Stott 


After the successful running of the inaugural ARB Big Desert 480 last season, next weekend’s second edition to be held in the northwest Victoria township of Rainbow will kickstart another intriguing four round ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship. 

Hosted by the Victorian Off Road Racing Association (VORRA), the ARB Big Desert 480 will once again be a battle of attrition, with a fantastic field of 61 teams committed to the championship opener.

Spearheaded by defending ARB Big Desert 480 and ARB Australian champion Brent Martin #1, the quality line up entered for Rainbow is a mixture of class, youth and experience. Martin, who also reigned supreme at Goondiwindi in August, and claimed two additional podium finishes at Hillston and Millicent, will be joined by an array of contenders chasing Rainbow silverware. 



2019 ARB Australian champion Aaron Haby #57 is expected to be one of Martins’ greatest challengers in his Element Prodigy; an early exit at the corresponding event last year will have the South Australian chasing a strong result. Two time ARB Australian champion and last years’ ARB Big Desert runner up Danny Brown #42 will look to carry his form into the new season after a dominant victory at the Pines Enduro in September in the teams Alumi Craft. 



Anytime Greg Gartner #410 launches his Geiser Bros TT into action he is a formidable outright force.  The 2018 ARB Waikerie champion has found a liking to Rainbow in the past and will be out for more gold in 2023, as will Griffith’s Jason Richards #119 who claimed a memorable third outright in last years’ Big Desert 480. 

Aaron James #93 blew the field away in the prologue last year in his Ford powered Alumi Craft and will be one to watch, likewise eight time Australian off road champion Mark Burrows #21, who will debut his brand new MBR Monkfab Ultimate machine at Rainbow and three time ARB Pines Enduro winner Matt Hanson #7 will look to overturn a disappointing 2022 season in his SMU Jimco.  

There are plenty of other podium contenders spread throughout the competitor list, with Dale Martin #5 in his newly acquired Jimco, Queenslanders Michael Marson #32, Clayton #15 and Stuart Chapman #17, Andy Brown #45, 2022 fifth placegetter Craig Barnett #68, Class 10 flyer Steven Graham #1065, Streaky Bay’s Simon Tucker #110, Next Gen star Matthew Burrows #123, former Australian champ Hayden Bentley #818 in his Class 8 Racer and Mick Magher #482 who has had success at Rainbow are among those other notable names. 



In rounding out the class previews, defending ARB Australian Class 10 champion Steve Graham is joined by the experienced Rodney Visser #1057, James Tyrell #1036, Sean Ratcliffe #1007 and North Queenslander Rob Stieber #1082 in the 2.5 litre contingent. 

Peter Sibson #412 will seek to defend his Class 4 triumph from last year, though taking on the likes of Gartner, Magher, Dean Miller #408, Michael Denham #433, Damien Nicol #430 and Goondiwindi’s Jamie Knight #439 he will have his hands full.



Last years’ ARB Class 6 champion Glenn Pike #675 will lead the SXS field after claiming an impressive four class wins in 2022; Simon Gubbins #690 and Scott Coulston #671 are expected to be his biggest rivals, whilst Matthew Lavis #6684 is the sole Class 66 competitor. Brett Tillson #701 will kickstart his ARB Australian Class 7 title defence with a strong line up of challengers including Heath Weedon #779, Hank Parker #798 and Connor Cooper #729 ready to spoil the party. 

Defending Class 2 ARB Australian champion Brock Pendlebury #201 will be tested by Peter Stevenson #248 and Brendan Forssman #274, while Darren Frankling #1110 and Peter Makeham #1122 set for battle after making the move into Class 11 for the new season. 

The ARB Big Desert 480 would not be possible without the support of the championship partners ARB 4X4 Accessories, Mickey Thompson Tyres and Raceline Wheels Australia along with the class sponsors Racer Imports, Nutrien Ag Nhill, Nutrien Ag Rainbow, Warragul Machining and Mechanical Repairs, Promotional Products and Uniforms, VORRA, Mallee Earthmoving, Smallaire, GlenDaren Auto Panels, Browns Gypsum and BelleVue Machinery for the best presented car trophy. 

Also a massive thank you must go to the local community group, the Rainbow Rises Events Association Inc, who work tirelessly in support of the event and head up the local logistics and coordination, catering, track maintenance/set up and venue preparation, plus many other tasks. The event itself would not be possible without the support of the local Hindmarsh Shire Council who provide invaluable assistance along with GrainCorp who are the landowners of the pit area, QMS Quality Metal Solutions for supplying the trophies, and Chasemore Heavy Haulage for supplying the competitor and volunteer gifts.

Catering will be available at the track over the weekend, however, camping is not permitted at the track or in the pit area, but is available at the nearby Rainbow Recreation Reserve.

There is plenty to look forward to at Rainbow next weekend as the first chapter of the 2023 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship unfolds, with all eyes on who will become the second ARB Big Desert 480 champion. 


Stay up to date with the live results across the weekend at offroadracing.com.au

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