Paul Malt’s first full year in the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship was rewarded with a class championship in the Extreme 4WD field.
Malt, a Queenslander, had competed in a Superlite B for a couple of seasons but never had a shot at the full championship.
His car, a Nissan Patrol Chev 5700cc, was built several years ago and only raced a few times before languishing in a shed for three years.
“My wife Michelle and I purchased the vehicle and spent six months with my father getting it back to competition standard with some fantastic assistance and advice from Rob Chapman at Chapmans Auto and Paul Brandt from Downsouth Motorsports,” Malt explained.
“The St George 399 was the first time I had raced it.”
Malt and co-driver Rick Norris finished the St George 399 18th outright and second in class, but the result was not without incident.
“In the third lap at St George I was starting to get more used to the car and hit the Bakers Dozen whoops a bit too hard,” Malt recounted.
“It was definitely a side to side ‘tank slapper’ and I thought for sure we were going to roll but managed to get it back.”
Malt went on to compete at the Tatts Finke Desert Race with wife Michelle in the co-drivers seat. The pair finished 62nd outright from 140 competitors and claimed second in the class.
“Finke is a special race for us,” said Malt.
“This was my sixth Finke, three of those on quads, and Michelle’s third. We have a group of close friends that we meet out there and it’s a great catch up. There is just something about that red sand that draws us back.”
Malt headed to the third and final round of the BFGoodrich CAMS AORC at Rainbow, Victoria, leading the Extreme 4WD class by just 1 point from fellow Queenslander Travis Rosewarne.
The battle between Malt and Rosewarne never got off the ground however, with Rosewarne retiring from the event on day one. Malt, with wife Michelle, held on to finish in the wet and muddy conditions and secure the Extreme 4WD class championship.
Malt said that for him, there is more to off road than just the competition.
“Racing with my wife Michelle is great,” explained Malt.
“I work away from home during the week so sometimes when we race it’s our first chance to catch up. My father Orme normally crews for us so it’s a family affair.
“Class 8 (extreme 4WD) is fantastic.
“Everyone gets on pretty well and we all help each other out as much as possible. You couldn’t get any closer than the 1 point that separated me from Travis going into Rainbow.”