4WD classes ready to rumble

Close competition is on the cards for the production 4WD and extreme 4WD classes at the St George 399.

Headlining the production 4WD class are 2017 class champions Geoff Pickering and co-driver Dylan Watson.

Pickering, who also finished a respectable eighth outright in last year’s championship standings, is excited for St George after making adjustments to the car.

“The team at GPR are very excited for the 2018 off-road racing championship,” Pickering said.

“We (Bernard and Ian) have made a lot of progress on the production diesel Pajero during the off season.”

Claytons Towing’s Jodie Allen also returns to the St. George 399 alongside Brandon Taylor, feeling more confident of her abilities in the Toyota FJ Cruiser after a year of long course competition under her belt.

Rounding out the production 4WD class are St George 399 debutants Cameron Sherwood and Tim Hayden with their Mitsubishi.

Paul and Michelle Malt lead the Extreme 4WD entries in their new look Big Sky Racing Nissan Patrol. Extensive bodywork after the Rainbow Desert Enduro last year has resulted in a sleeker and lighter car.

The husband wife partnerships go into their fifth year as reigning class champions after a consistent championship.

“I think we aren’t necessarily the quickest in our class but the way Paul drives is as much about conserving the vehicle and actually completing the races,” Michelle Malt said.

“That has been the key reason to our success for the entire time we have raced.”

Peugeot Racing Team’s Anthony Jones and co-driver Tyrone Power will make their St George debuts, as will Queenslanders Lukas Yates and Jim Bardsley in their Nissan.

The first of three rounds in the 2018 BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship begins with the St George 399 on 4 – 6 May.