Greg Gartner has begun his 2021 Off Road season on a high after powering his way to victory in the Victoria Off Road Racing Association’s Rainbow Rises 240.
Driving alongside son Max in his iconic trophy truck, Gartner continued his remarkable record at the West Victorian course, having won two of the past three BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) rounds there.
With a pool of AORC stars entered in the first round of the Motorsport Australia Victorian Off Road Championship, which welcomed 46 crews, Gartner picked up where he left off in 2019 and took out a commanding victory as he solidified his credentials as a 2021 AORC title contender.
Despite eventually coming away with a five and half minute win over the second placed Jason Noonan and Sam Sapuppo, the Gartners didn’t have it too easy throughout the event though, with multiple crews offering plenty of challengers.
Starting the event with a fifth place finish in Prologue, the Gartners trailed only South Australian crew Todd Lehmann and Dean Carter by the end of the event’s second section.
Following the retirement of contenders such Matt Hanson, Daniel Wells and Glenn Owen, the biggest threat for the Gartners then came through 2019 AORC champions, Mark and Matt Burrows.
Despite not going faster than the leaders on any occasion, the Burrows were on their tail for much of the event until the fifth and final section of the day, where they unfortunately failed to finish the race.
The Burrows retirement saw Noonan and Sapuppo promoted to second place and to the Pro Buggy class win, while 2018 state champion Alan Dixon enjoyed his return to the sport to claim the remaining spot on the podium and the Prolite class alongside new navigator Aaron Evans.
Rounding out the top five were two SXS Turbo crews, with last year’s third place getter in Glenn Pike alongside navigators Darryn Conn and Natalie Pike edging out Alex Handley and Jack Battye for the class win and fourth place.
Just missing out on a top five finish was Sportslite class winner James Tyrrell, while Sportsman Buggy winners Dean Williams and Jon Huber crossed the line in eighth place – just two seconds ahead of another SXS Turbo crew in Luke Densley and Warren Collins.
It was a tough day out for the Super 1650 pilots with three of the four competing crews failing to finish, meaning Daniel and Jodie Jorgensen were ultimately handed the class win despite not being able to complete all 27 laps.
With the Rainbow Rises 240 complete, the club now turn its attention to its main event in August, the Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro, the fourth round of the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship on 27-29 August.
Photo: Gosling Photography