Improvements to the purpose-built St George 399 off road course will create closer racing for all classes of vehicles when it hosts round one of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship on 4-6 May.
Trent Challenger, owner of the St George Bakery and the driving force behind bringing the event to St George, has been burning the candle at both ends – baking by night and earthmoving by day to complete the 12 kilometre extension of the course.
“The track has been extended onto an extra property,” explains Challenger.
“It’s just at the back of the Council reserve, there is another guy who has a property at the back and he has let us use the back of that.”
Challenger said he always wanted the course to be longer but State Government land clearing laws meant he could only utilise existing tracks. By extending onto another property, there are now more tracks that can be used.
“The new section runs through a dry creek bed and it twists and turns and there are a couple of drop offs there, nothing too extreme,” he promised.
Organisers have also taken competitor feedback on board, making changes to some of the long straights to promote closer racing between the classes.
“They all loved the track but the big straights, the big cars were just too far away and the small guys were just maxing out, and they said they would like a few more turns and twists,” said Challenger.
“We have taken some of the big straights out and put in some chicanes and some turns to stop the bigger cars getting too far away from everyone else.”
Changes have also been made to improve spectator viewing.
“We have modified the start finish line so it’s close to the ‘Bakers Dozen’ where the spectators sit; you can see the start finish line, the pits, a few of the bends are all closer together now so there is a bit more action in one spot.”
With lots of people volunteering to help, Challenger is thrilled with the amount of support from the local area this year.
“I have got a lot more support this year, the locals are a lot more excited to be involved, with check points and recovery,” Challenger said.
“A few local businesses are putting their hands up for sponsorship of trophies and the like. Beesons Electrical, the private service stations in town, a couple of the mechanics are keen to get involved, and of course the St George Bakery.
“Everyone is excited about it because they know what it brought to the town in the first year, and now they want to get out there and watch it again.
“And with our local show being on the same weekend, there will be a lot of people in town so I think it will be a great atmosphere, the town will be buzzing all weekend.”
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact SEQORRA via email [email protected] to find out more.