Shannon and Ian Rentsch have continued their domination of the 2018 BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship, winning a wet and wild first race at the Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro.
The Victorian duo won this afternoon’s two-lap race after starting off pole position, posting the fastest time in their Jimco Pro Buggy in this morning’s prologue.
Intermittent rain showers made for changeable track conditions around the 75-kilometre course, Rentsch employing a cautious approach to keep his title hopes on track.
“We have been pretty cautious in some sections of the track, there is a lot of water laying around, it’s just like being on ice,” said Rentsch.
“I don’t want to ruin everything and I hope we can continue our good form tomorrow.”
South Australian’s Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings brought the Geiser Brothers Ford Raptor Trophy Truck home in second outright, last year’s winners continuing their good form at the event.
“Unfortunately we have had the rain… it makes it very very treacherous… in the non-sandy areas it’s really unpredictable and fairly scary really,” Gartner said.
“Up the straights it was pretty good, the wind was getting under the bonnet and we did see 210 there for a minute, I’d like to go faster but we have no more in it.”
Third home was Josh Howells in his Jimco Pro Buggy, the young-gun admitting he hadn’t run in conditions like today for a long time, if ever.
“It was about 400 close calls out there,” Howells said.
“Trying to stay on the track was a full time job. Besides not being able to see half the time, I think we had an alright run.”
Beau Robinson and Shane Hutt were fourth in their Geiser Bros Trophy Truck with SMU Racing’s Justin Anderson and Ben Robinson rounding out the top five.
AORC contenders Toby Whateley and Simon Herrmann ran into trouble in their Can-Am Maverick SXS Turbo, suffering not one but two flat tyres.
“Coming in from the first lap, we had a flat tyre and then we got another flat tyre around the 60-kilometre mark,” Whateley explained.
“We also had trouble with the car so we had to try and play it safe and make it home.”
Whateley finished the day in 12th outright.
In class results, Rentsch and Gartner lead the Pro Buggy and Extreme 2WD classes respectively.
Gregory Gualandi has more than a minutes buffer in the SXS Turbo class, while in the SXS Sport class, Rick Chambers holds a commanding eight minute lead.
Alan Dixon leads the Prolite battle and off road stalwart Geoff Pickering is ahead in the Production 4WD class.
Supported by Hindmarsh Shire, Victorian Government, Graincorp and the West Wimmera Health Service, the Rainbow Desert Enduro continues tomorrow, with the five-lap finale starting at 9am.
Top Ten – Section 1 (Provisional)
1. #33 Shannon Rentch/Ian Rentch 1:30:59.167
2. #410 Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings 1:31:57.060 57.893
3. #15 Josh Howells/Bryan Erskine 1:32:01.889
4. #413 Beau Robinson/Shane Hutt 1:32:03.264
5. #75 Justin Anderson/Ben Robinson 1:36:38.603
6. #21 Mark Burrows/Colin Hodge/Mathew Burrows 1:37:09.777
7. #607 Gregory Gualandi 1:42:21.984
8. #420 Justin Watt/Dave Hartwig/Melissa Watt 1:43:43.30
9. #622 Roydn Bailey/Keke Falland 1:44:55.794
10. #482 Michael Magher/Daniel Hose 1:45:26.698
Prologue Top Ten
1. #33 Shannon Rentch/Ian Rentch 5:15.344
2. #15 Josh Howells/Bryan Erskine 5:29.567
3. #410 Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings 25:36.390
4. #21 Mark Burrows Colin Hodge/Mathew Burrows 5:40.175
5. #413 Beau Robinson Shane Hutt 5:44.369
6. #155 Eric Schlifelner 5:48.751
7. #75 Justin Anderson/Ben Robinson 6:01.927
8. #26 Nathan Monk/Daniel Monk/Damian Monk 6:05.777
9. #153 Alan Dixon/Jonothan O’Connor 6:20.155
10. #420 Justin Watt/Dave Hartwig/Melissa Watt 6:44.088