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Aug
16
2012
Bitters  Lemon and Limestone Coast
Date : 16th August 2012 Comments : 0 Author : Octane Alley Category : Octane Alley

Bitters, Lemon and Limestone Coast

The 2012 Glenroy Plains Off- Road Masters

After spending 7 months flat out rebuilding the Patrol we were looking forward to stretching it’s legs and getting out and having a race. Finally we were going to learn, if the changes we had made in the off season would translate into something worthwhile in the race environment.

The Glenroy Plains Off Road Masters event is set on a private property about 25kms out of Naracoorte in South Australia. The property is called Moorex, a farm with cattle sheep grazing on it, with rolling hills and spectacular views. The soil is made up of dirt and sand with grass on the top. It looks hard and fast but sucks the power from the engine like a magnet. This has to be one of the hardest tracks on your engine.

The track is flowing as it winds its way across the paddocks. The length of one lap is 46kms. The distance for the event is 7 laps. The key here is to make sure you go hard in the first couple of laps as the track will become boggy, sandy and loamy, super fast. The end result is slower times, harsher conditions and out of control bumps.


Prologue

I love the feeling of not having a race for 7 months and your brain has to dial in from the day to day grind on the road with the clown that sits in the right hand lane at 80kmh, to a balls out, flat chat, blast across paddocks at speeds of up to 160kmh. One thing comes to mind is, the gates seem to come  up faster off road than on.

Launching off the line the Patrol dug in and drove off the line, snatching second to maintain momentum and heading off to the first corner. The centre section of the track heading out was a mud fest, so we had to negotiate that first. Heading out of the gate off to the rest of the track we found some really good traction and the new engine and suspension changes started to gel. Good balance, steering and excellent drive.

Prologued worked well for us qualifying in 34th out of 54 cars and 1st  in Class by1minute and 12 seconds over the 10km Prologue course.


Race 1 -  2 Laps

We lined up in Position 35, one place back from qualifying, based on the seeding of drivers who had a DNF in Prologue.

The light went green and we won the hole-shot, we were racing side by side with a Category 5 HQ ute with huge tyres and lots of suspension. I thought to be honest once he got past us he would walk away into the distance. In difference it turned out to be a door to door battle over the next 15km. In reality we were not fighting the Class 5 car for a class position it was more for overall placing.

After passing him we were into some clean air, and heading off to pass another car. We caught up with another Cat 5 car the old Channel 7 car.  An F100 with a 351 Clevo in it.

The rest of the 2 laps were pretty consistent,  Lap 1 time was  33:01: 734 and Lap 2 time was  33:01:484.   Not bad, a few hundredths of a second difference over 46 km…..

Some highlights were heading through a gate at 150kmh and then jumping 3 feet into tho air 150meters across the paddock. That’s why I love this sport.

Wrapping up the first 2 laps of the event on the Saturday we finished in 21st position from 35 and were around 7 minutes ahead of the next competitor in our Class.


Section 2 -  Laps 3 & 4 

Sunday morning came alive with the perfect sunrise and the sound of V8’s and turbos warming in the morning. Gotta love the serenity!!

A quick Driver’s Briefing and we were away.

Day 2 is always a challenge, more of a survival game to be honest, the track cuts up really badly making it really rough and boggy. Lap 1 was a great fight similar to the day before with the second of the Category 5 F100’s with a 351 Clevo. We got the jump on them and handed over as we got onto the harder ground. No substitute for cubes…..
 
We fought back and regained some ground over the next ¾ of a lap and going into the second of the 2 laps nearly had them.  Sliding through a corner I noticed a puff of steam from under the bonnet. I looked at the temperature gauge and saw that it had got to 100 deg and then 110 pretty quickly.  We cut the chase and backed off for about 500 metres. The temperature was off the planet, so I stopped to investigate. Popping the bonnet I saw that Mr, Espresso had been doing the barista thing with the cooling system, creatively he had removed the fan belts to boil the water in the kettle. No spare set in the back, so at that point the good thing was to call it game over.

You know the silly thing is we always carry a spare set, yeah, yeah apart from this time. If we had the belts, we could have fitted them and got back in the race. At the stage of failure we had 13 minutes on the next competitor in our Class.

So we withdrew from the event.

You could expect to be disappointed, but there were a lot of positives, we rolled an untested fresh race car out of the box that handled, drove and was dominant in the Class. A small list of things to tweak for the next race and we’ll be back on track for the rest of the season.

Next event is Bagshot at Bendigo.  We shall see if we can go for gold.

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