GARTNER STRIKES GOLD AT RAINBOW
Penola’s Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings struck gold at the Rainbow Desert Enduro on the weekend, skating their new new #410 R&J Batteries Extreme 2wd Trophy Truck through the mud to take the outright victory. Fresh out of the box from the USA, Gartner debuted the new Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck just a fortnight ago with fourth outright and first in class at Waikerie and backed it up by stepping on to the top step of the podium at Rainbow, which was also the final round of the 2017 CAMS BFGoodrich Australian Off Road Championship.
“We are pretty thrilled with the win and it is good to be here. To have a fourth and an outright win in the first two runs in the new truck is a good start and we are happy. The Geiser Truck is 110% and it is great to be back on top of the AORC podium for the first time since winning Finke in 2011.” Commented Greg at the finish-line as the rain came down.
Gartner started the weekend in style, running fourth in the prologue after a timing glitch initially had them listed down in 30th, then stepped up to third in the top ten shoot out. Championship leader, Travis Robinson got the jump on Gartner off the line on Saturday afternoon’s two lap section which left the South Australian covered in mud.
“We stuck with him and chased Travis for 35-40km and got covered in mud. He was obviously looking after his championship, but we almost took him out a couple of times skidding off the track. Eventually we got past the #13 Jimco buggy, however, Beau Robinson had caught me in the process. I ended up letting him go as I wanted to race my own race and came in around 2min 15sec behind him that afternoon in second place.”
More rain overnight made for another muddy morning of racing as the trucks blasted away from line letting the roost fly as they attacked the track for another 5 laps of the 80km course. Starting at 30 sec behind Beau Robinson, Gartner soon made up the gap before getting filled in again forcing him to back off and lose a bit of time.
“Three-quarters of the way through the first lap on Sunday we were doing 205kph up a road and unfortunately got a flat from something we had hit in the bushes. So we had to pull up and change that which allowed Justin Watt and Travis Robinson to get back past. When we got going we found Travis spun out, then ended up getting Watt at the start of the second lap. We then had our scheduled fuel stop at the end of lap two, then a quick stop in the pits in our own time to put another spare tyre on it. We then went back out and saw Beau had some dramas and felt we were in the lead and continued to just run our race. The second fuel stop after lap four went to plan and then we pushed a bit on the final lap to see how the truck would go and it is working pretty well.” Said Greg
Gartner and Jennings greeted the chequered flag in the #410 R&J Trophy Truck in an overall time of 5hours 23min 5.146seconds, taking victory at the inaugural Rainbow Desert Enduro. Chris Browning and Chris Clark were second outright in the #131 Prolite Alumicraft, with fellow Extreme 2wd competitors Justin Watt and Dave Hartwig rounding out the podium in third in their #420 Alumicraft Trophy Truck. The tough conditions saw only 17 of the initial 56 entries finish the entire race distance.
“I’d like to thanks all my guys who have put the hours into the truck to turn it around and put it back on the track after Waikerie a fortnight ago. Our racing program wouldn’t be possible without the support of R&J Batteries, Fuchs, Toyo Tyres Australia, CASE IH Agriculture, Hage Tractors, ATI Industrial, Geiser Bros, Craig Carrison Race Engines, JB Irrigation, CJM Attachments, Millicent Tyre Centre, CAPPA Motorbodies, Dirtcomp and Albins.”