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Gold Digging in the Mining City
Date : 14th December 2010 Comments : 0 Author : Octane Alley Category : Octane Alley

Gold Digging in the Mining City

The last round of the Victorian State Championship was set for Bendigo. The venue is a place called Bagshot which is about 20km north of the Gold Mining city.  The track is a mix of sand and clay, the type of surface that’s like racing on tarmac when dry and an ice rink when wet. The crazy thing is that we split gum trees while travelling up to 130kmh, with just enough room to get through the gaps.

The track distance is 5.5 kms and the format of the event was to have a Prologue of 3 kms, 2 Sessions of 10 laps and a Final Session of 5 laps. A total race distance of approx 130kms.  

The funny thing about Bendigo is, it’s either stinking hot which makes the track a super dust bowl or the rain comes and turns it into a mud bath for all, but hey….this is Off Road Racing, so what ever comes is whatever you work with.  As one of the Team said, “Andy, build a bridge”.

So you guessed it, the rain poured down the night before and saturated the track, flooding corners and creating killer bog holes that suck you in and spit you out.....awesome fun.


We really haven’t done a lot of racing at Bagshot so what the ground was like to drive is always a bit of a surprise. So in terms of really having a go, we felt our way around the 3km Prologue Track, qualifying 8th outright. In line with the season we have had,  middle to upper of the pack was where we needed to be, all in all not bad.

Race 1

It was time to put the pedal to the metal and get out there and give it a shake. In terms of strategy I was saying to Karen my Navigator  we should work into the race and let it come to us. Last time we raced at Bagshot, we hit a tree on the second lap at 80kmh and bent the truck. So this time I was working on letting the race come to us. We knew for sure with no morning rain the track would get faster as it dried out. And in the process we would be able to use the 4WD to our advantage, as the track started to grip up. The worse the conditions the better it would be for us.

We launched off the line and were feeling our way around the track, getting a sense of where we could make time up and where we needed to pull our heads in. Keeping the flow smooth and using the throttle to rear wheel steer, we were able to make up some ground on the competitors in front.  We found the line, used the camber and banking as a berm and just kept the momentum in the Patrol.

As the sludge started to clear we stepped it up another couple of notches picking up 3 cars and finishing Race 1 in 5th spot. Seemed the plan was coming together.

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Race 2

We launched off the line for Race 2, the track was a half and half mix of sludge and really grippy clay. Perfect for maximum attack, we knew the track and were set for some serious pace.

In the 10 lap session we picked up another 2 positions, one through one of our mates beaching his SR20 Turbo Powered Baja on a tractor tyre and the other through pace.

It’s a pretty funny story really. We hooked up on the back of this guy in a Category 2 Buggy. These things are super light and get in and out of the trees really quickly. So I was thinking that when we got onto his tail he would be able to get away. It wasn’t the case. So we were trying to put a move on him and ended up in the slippery stuff offline and got spat out into the trees, bending the driver guard.

We got back on the track and picked him up in the next 2km of track. Now what was that about patience and letting the race come to me.....HMMMM?

Race 3 - The Final

So we were in position 3 outright in the last round of the Victorian State Championship. This is really cool for us, as we have been developing the Patrol all year and finally have seen some fruit for our labour. I have to say the truck is working like an absolute charm and is a rocket, making it easy to get some serious speed out of it.

Launching off the line we got the ‘hole shot’ and proceeded to work our way around the track. Conditions were now as we expected, super dry, grippy and favouring the brave.  The session was over in what seemed like no time at all. We had an absolute ball, lifting 1 or 2 wheels, sliding through corners and in general carving up the track.

We had 40 seconds to make 2nd and 3 minutes to make 1st.  Hard to do at the pointy end of the field.  The end result was finishing in 3rd outright which is unheard of in a Production 4WD and another Class win.

The final result was a Victorian State Championship for our Class, 3rd outright and a Class win.  Not bad for one weekend.

(Photos:   Courtesy of Carol Slade)