STEEL-IT ARB Big Desert 480 Locked and Loaded

STEEL-IT ARB Big Desert 480 Locked and Loaded

For a third consecutive year, the northwest Victorian township of Rainbow will kickstart the four rounds of the ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship.

Hosted by the Victorian Off Road Racing Association (VORRA), the STEEL-IT ARB Big Desert 480 will once again be a battle of attrition, with a star studded field of 52 crews across all classes committed to the championship opener this weekend.

Headlined by two-time defending ARB outright champions Brent Martin and Andre de Simone #1 who have taken the leap to the Ultimate Class in 2024, the Rainbow opener is again a mixture of class, youth and experience.

Martin who claimed victory at the inaugural Big Desert 480 in 2022 will be joined by an array of outright chances at Rainbow including Danny Brown #42 fresh off his win at the Pines last September, WA flyer Beau Robinson #1113, and 2023 Goondiwindi victor Clayton Chapman #15.

Last year’s podium sitter Andy Brown #1142, Jimco charger Dale Martin #5, Mildura locals Aaron James #93, and Robert Plant #128 plus multi time Australian champion Mark Burrows #21 will be others vying for Rainbow supremacy.

In the class previews, David Middlemiss #2 and Matthew Burrows #3 who finished second and third outright respectively in the 2023 ARB Championship join Plant and Simon Tucker #110 as the Class 1 challengers; whilst two time Australian Class 10 champion Steven ‘Bowie’ Graham #1065, Dean Meginley #1087, James Tyrell #1036 and Sam Bentley #1018 head the 2.5 litre brigade.

Queensland young gun Stuart Chapman #17, Craig Barnett #68, and Brett Plant #929 are others to watch in the Ultimate Class, whilst Chris Western #1161, Jake Williams #1137, and Trevor Chandler #1121 round out a competitive Class 11 field.

Darren van der Woude #554 and Andrew Cameron #570 are set to duel it out in Class 5, likewise John Smith #445, Darren Mott #435, Peter Sibson #412, Steven Von Pein #422 and Hannah Bentley #418 for Class 4 honours.

Brendan Forssman #202 is the sole Class 2 representative, so too Class 66 stalwart Ross Newman #6681, and 2023 ARB Class 7 champion Heath Weedon #701; whilst 2023 Pines Class 6 champion Jackson Evans #635, Matthew Hummer #633, Lachlan Campbell #607, and Justin Rider #627 are the major Class 6 contenders.

The 2024 ARB Big Desert 480 would not be possible without the support of championship partners ARB 4X4 Accessories, Mickey Thompson Tyres, Raceline Wheels Australia, and Dynamic Wheel Co, along with naming right sponsor STEEL-IT; and class sponsors Marson Race Transmissions, Show ‘n’ Go Photography, Dart Transport Pty Ltd, Glendaren Motor Sport, Warragul Machining and Mechanical Repairs, Browns Gypsum, GRC Motorsport, VORRA, and Goldacres.

A massive thank you also to all the other amazing sponsors either small, large or in-kind who have assisted in so many ways, and to the Rainbow Rises Events Association Inc, who work tirelessly in support of the event, logistics, coordination, catering, track maintenance and venue preparation, plus many other tasks.

There are many storylines that could be written at Rainbow this weekend as the first chapter of the 2024 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship unfolds, with all eyes on who will become the third STEEL-IT ARB Big Desert 480 champion.

The STEEL-IT ARB Big Desert 480 kicks off the 2024 ARB Off Road Racing Championship this weekend, the 23rd and 24th of March.

By TC Media

Pics courtesy of Gears and Wheels Photography

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