Troy and Deb Schoen have dominated the Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash to claim an emphatic 16-minute victory in the Motorsport Australia WA Off Road Championship’s (WAORC) second round.
An event combining bikes and cars, there were 32 crews entered in the car section of the popular event, which proved unrelenting on multiple fronts as many struggled to handle the tough desert conditions.
However for the Schoens in the Pro Buggy, they managed to fly through the course’s two sections, coming ever so close to a perfect weekend.
The duo didn’t have the strongest of starts during Prologue, just squeezing into second by two tenths of a second and posting a time 14 seconds slower than the fastest crew in Keith Rance and Luke Candy.
It didn’t take long for the Schoens to claim the lead though – the duo taking out top spot just three checkpoints into the first section. From that moment on, they cruised to the victory, grabbing a seven minute section one win before doubling their lead by the end of the event.
With Rance failing to finish the first section, a fate also suffered by other contenders in Adam and Craig Trewhella, Brad Cooper and Aaron Smithson comfortably finished in second place – eight minutes ahead of third placed crew of Jayden and Justyn Grewar.
Making the Schoens’ victory even sweeter was the fact that they claimed fastest time outright, going faster than the bikes, which was just the second time in the last five years, after Shane Elphinstone did it in 2019.
“We are really thrilled. We have won the car section of the event three times in the past, but this year was the cleanest run we have ever had,” Schoen said.
“In the first section, it was one of those tracks that was a real navigator’s course and thankfully we did some big moves to get past Keith early. Saturday was just really hard because there were dramas with cows and horses being on the track, so you had to pay real attention.
“In the second section, it was far better and we just had a good run. Because of the run we had and the pace we had, even if Keith and Adam had stayed in it the whole time, I am confident we still would have won.
“For us, horse power doesn’t always win races, but driving to the conditions does and that’s exactly what we did. It was the biggest win we’ve ever been involved in and it was pretty surprising to be honest.
“I think the best part of it was that we beat the bikes too. It’s not very common for a car to be faster than a bike, so in that sense, we’re certainly blitzed that we picked up the King of the River.”
The next round of the Motorsport Australia WA off Road Championship is the Bencubbin 400 on 5-6 June.
Photos: Dakar Press Team Australia