The North Queensland Offroad Racing Association’s inaugural Pato 7 Hour has been run and won with competitors eager to get involved in the event again.
Taking place in Charters Towers, the Enduro saw teams of two vehicles attempt 27 laps or as many as they could on the 14km track during the assigned seven hours.
With four teams competing in the seven hour event, it was Dave Skinner and Chris Sollitt who were crowned inaugural champions after completing 26 laps and coming within one minute of their 27th lap.
Coming in second behind them with 22 completed laps was Sam Hancock and Gordon Fletchers alongside co-drivers Brad Hancock and Angela Walker, while Tony Critchley, Rob Tuner and co-driver Jordan Bensemann edged out Mark Bredan, Brian Bradford and Ann-Maree Croning by one lap for third on 15 laps.
Despite a smaller field than usual, event secretary Don Young revealed the event was a resounding success due to the competitor feedback.
“Everyone who attended really loved the concept. It’s the first time we have done that set format and they really embraced it,” Young said.
“Generally when we run a two day event, competitors are lucky to do 10 laps of the 14km track meaning they may do less than 140k for a weekend. However last weekend, the winning drivers did over 200km each in 7 hours.
“The competitors have come to us to do more because they loved getting seat time.
“Although we had a small field, we didn’t mind because it meant we could do a bit of trial and error for the event and we can get bigger and better next year.”
While the seat time was one of the major highlights for the event, Young believed the competitors also enjoyed the opportunity of competing in a team-based scenario.
“We definitely want to do more team events like this,” Young added.
“On top of seat time, the event brings team tactics into the fold as well. It makes them think about what they are doing.
“I think it adds a little extra to it. When you are doing a normal event, it’s just you and the car, but for the Enduro, the teams were communicating with each other about coming in and out of the pits and it made it very exciting.”
Since the event, a number other drivers have shown interest in taking part in the future based off the weekend’s success, as well as the event’s officials who also enjoyed a less stressful day due to the nature of the event.
For Young and the club, there are plans already in motion about doing another event.
“For the organisational side of it, surprisingly it was easier on our officials because they didn’t have to worry about timing every lap,” Young explained.
“All we did was time the prologue and that was purely for count back purposes in case competitors were tied on 27 laps each. The day also was a lot less stressful day on the officials.
“All in all, there was lots of great feedback so we are going to do it again and we now know what works and what doesn’t so watch this space for future events.”