Cool weather greeted the 89 competitors who fronted up for the Toyo Tires Riverland Enduro, this year being a round of the National, State Championship and SAORRA Series events.
The poor old camping ground was groaning at the seams with more spectators and competitors than I have ever seen at the track in the 20 years I have been a competitor.
Sadly, one of our crews – #80 Toby Reimann/? was not to get the vehicle to the event, with ongoing clutch issues. Most of the club members camped together, and it was good to see such camaraderie, with all helping each other at various times over the weekend.
There was lots of movement at the camp area, as everyone readied themselves for prologue. With 89 vehicles to get through, and a great crowd to watch them, it was going to be a busy day. Each driver gave their all to finish, in the hope of getting a good starting position for Sunday’s racing.
The woops before the tight right hand turn, in front of the crowd, had some spectacular drive lines taken, suspension working furiously, and sadly caught out a first time entrant to the event, rolling his small green car several times, and putting the vehicle out of the event.
Of the 15 crews from GRKCC taking part, 5 were contesting the State Championship and SA
ORRA sections of the event, the other 10 only contesting the SAORRA section. At the end of prologue, GRKCC crews had placed: #28 Tanner James/Brett Plant/Robert Plant/Aaron James – 8th, #81 James Madden/Paul Frank – 14th, #45 Blake Smith/Aaron Johnson – 29th, #36 Gary Curtis/Matt Curtis – 33rd, #58 Ivan Schmocker/Wayne Evans/Matthew Salt – 39th, #233 Graham Tickner/Bodie Tickner/Samuel Tickner – 47th, #176 Sam Daniele – 52nd, #126 Robbie Ward/Daniel Ramm – 53rd, #153 Brendan Wilson/Adam Spurrier – 63rd, #253 Sam Vanstone/Steven Vanstone – 68th, #271 Daniel Cousins/Nick Cousins – 70th, #222 Jamie Simpson/Geoff Benko – 74th, #212 Clive Randall/Curtis Randall – 78th. Sadly, #37 Rich Andrews/Jamie&Lauren Andrews and #186 Lloyd Afford did not finish prologue.
The crowd, and competitors not taking part, watched the top 10 shootout (with only 3 seconds separating 1st to 10th), and dash for cash, with many an ooh and aah at the aggressive driving occurring in front of them.
Sunday morning dawned, cold and wet. It was not going to be a very comfortable days racing for the crews. The track was very slippery in places, with water laying in shallow sections. This was to make it a muddy start for some vehicles, with rags being needed aplenty. #233 Graham Tickner/Bodie Tickner/Samuel Tickner were sidelined with issues from the previous day, and did not start the race proper.
Trevor Snow and I saw the front runners off, then headed down to the road jump. Wow, some of the vehicles simply soar over it, others were a little bit more cautious, and rightly so. We waited in the rain to see our guys come along on their second lap, only to find out that #212 Clive/Curtis Randall, #36 Gary/Matt Curtis, #37 Rich/Jamie/Lauren Andrews and #28 Tanner James/Brett Plant/Robert Plant/Aaron James had all failed to finish their first lap, with #28 hitting a tree, after looking very impressive on his way round.
The track must have been getting quite rough, as on the second lap, more competitors dropped off the score sheet. #176 Sam Daniele, #253 Sam Vanstone/Steven Vanstone, #126 Robbie Ward/Daniel Ramm and #271 Daniel Cousins/Nick Cousins all retired, and came back into camp.
Lap 3 saw #45 Blake Smith/Aaron Johnson and #153 Brendan Wilson/Adam Spurrier fall by the wayside, Blake only needing this lap finished to complete his SAORRA section, but alas, it was not to be. Brendan needed to complete this lap and one more to end his State Championship and SAORRA sections, but it was not to be his fairy tale end this time.
#186 Lloyd Afford drove very well to finish the three laps required for the SAORRA section, and I am sure he would have had a smile from ear to ear when he crossed the finish line and received his chequer flag. #81 James Madden/Paul Frank had entered the State Championship and SAORRA sections, and completed 3 laps to finish their SAORRA section, but did not finish the 4th lap to qualify for the State Championship section.
#58 Ivan Schmocker/Wayne Evans/Matthew Salt and #222 Jamie Simpson/Geoff Benko were still out on the track, eager to finish the fourth lap, and qualify them in the finishing places of the State Championship section of the event. The were both rewarded with being able to complete the lap, and gain the chequer flag to end their competition.
All in all, I believe the competitors had a good weekend away, some ecstatic with their result, others disappointed at not finishing.
In the SAORRA Multi Club Series section, #81 James Madden/Paul Frank gained 5th O/R and 4th in Class, #58 Ivan Schmocker/Wayne Evans/Matthew Salt were 6th O/R and 5th in Class, #186 Lloyd Afford was 15th O/R and 2nd in class, with #222 Jamie Simpson/Geoff Benko gaining a well earned 20th O/R and 4th in Class.
In the SA Off Road Championship section, #58 Ivan Schmocker/Wayne Evans/Matthew Salt ended up with the result of 3rd O/R and 2nd in Class, and #222 Jamie Simpson/Geoff Benko came 13th O/R and 1st in Class. A well deserved result to both these crews.
Part way through the day, the sun started to shine on all who were attending the event.