Greg Gartner Motorsports’ Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings have claimed an epic win at this weekend’s Rainbow Desert Enduro.
Competitors battled not only each other but the elements with extensive rain before and during the event producing slippery and muddy conditions, testing both drivers and their machinery to the limit.
In a race of attrition—only 28 teams started day two from 56 entries—Chris Browning and Chris Clarke came in second in their prolite buggy, 15 minutes behind the Geiser Bros trophy truck of Gartner.
Justin Watt and Dave Hartwig were impressive in third, bringing their brand new Alumi Craft trophy truck home five minutes behind Browning.
The biggest winner of the day was Matthew Martin; his fourth outright was good enough to claim the 2017 BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship, only two points separating Martin and runner-up Browning after three rounds.
The outright championship was blown wide open after Travis Robinson, the championship leader coming into round three, became stranded out on the course on his second lap due to an issue with the timing chain in his Jimco buggy. In further bad luck for the Outer Bounds Racing team, brother Beau Robinson, yesterday’s winner and early leader of today’s race, was forced to retire soon after due to a power steering failure.
Gartner was thrilled with his hard-fought result.
“A really tough weekend for us with the rain and everything else; it’s the way it goes. Our prologue was quite good, yesterday was challenging and today we had a flat tyre so we had some issues but at the end of the day you have the be here at the end,” Gartner said.
“I love these events, I would have 600 or 700km races all day long; it’s in your own time and it puts endurance back into it and that’s what we really really enjoy.”
Despite falling just short in the outright championship battle, Browning was satisfied with his performance this weekend.
“We couldn’t be happier really to end up with this result. We came here really focussed on the class championship and whatever else happens, happens. To finish second in the event is just awesome.”
Of his second in the outright championship standings, Browning said: “Our flat tyre at St George was very costly, after that we got dusted out in the next heat, had we done a bit better there it might have been different. But we are happy to be here and with the results we got.”
After today’s race, Martin put his championship win down to consistency throughout the year.
“You have to be reliable; Chris has been reliable, I’ve been reliable, his blown tyre at the start of the year probably cost him, but you’ve got to be consistent,” Martin said.
“Today was really really tough. Yesterday we had to really drive the car hard to get back in those outright spots to get some good points.
“I’ve never really thought about winning the outright championship; I won the class championship a few years back and we had the chance this year with Shannon (Rentsch) and Jack (Rhodes) missing the first round. It’s one to tick off the list.”
Rainbow Desert Enduro Top 10 Outright
1. #410 Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings (5:23:05.146)
2. #131 Chris Browning/Chris Clarke
3. #420 Justin Watt/Dave Hartwig
4. #121 Matthew Martin/Kerri Martin
5. #601 Jeff McNiven/Andrew Reid
6. #210 Declan Cummins/Patrick Philp
7. #489 Michael McLean/John Stewart
8. #651 Greg Campbell/Joshua Bennett
9. #6677 Mel Brandle/Melissa Brandle
10. #655 Nick Jackson/Lauren Johnson
Class results were still pending at time of publication, with cars still on course.