Well another HUGE Gundy 400 has been run and won, the victors sprayed the champagne and the beaten still will tell stories about Gundy 2015 for years to come.
After a turmoil filled few weeks leading up to the event with crazy weather and massive plan changes – the race track was prep’d and the weather perfect as 80 cars turned up to take on the Grueling Melon Hole country of South Qld! The showers in the week priors was only enough to dampen the top soil and dust still became a racers worst enemy but the mid 20 temps and a cool breeze were perfect race conditions for an unseasonable QLD summer. Some racers were still rocking their OFFROAD CARTEL hoodies at drivers brief which most Gundy residents would never believe at the start of November! The scene was set for an all in war!
Friday night tech inspection got under way with the usual Gundy 400 party at the Goondiwindi Showgrounds – with plenty of bench racing, hot food and cold beverages available – the OFFROAD CARTEL Crew had a stall selling not just the latest OC Gear but also Gundy 400 Merch, DirtComp Magazines, Goondiwindi Tyre Service Stubbie Coolers and much more
Shawn Swaffield #110, Ryan Taylor #24, Nev Taylor #6, Kent Battle #883, Bryce Chapman #58 and Josh Curran #941 all got through inspection without a hitch and it was now time for some good chat, including what the weekends racing would bring!
Shawn Swaffield – #110 SRDivision
Shawn Swaffield and the SRDivision Team came out of the box swinging with an impressive Top 10 Prologue run in their Diesel Central, Fox Off Road Shocks, Curtis Transport, Offroad Cartel Sponsored Alumicraft ProLite.
With a storming Prologue run putting Team SRD into the Top 10 Shootout – they boys set themselves into an aggressive pace all weekend, storming their way through the ProBuggy Field making their way up to 4th Overall by Section 3 after Luke Hall received a penalty for being late to Parc Ferme.
Unfortunately a flat tyre at the start of Section 3 dropped the #110 out of position and made for a charging SRDivision Drive to the pits to load another spare into the rack. With the red mist in full swing and Shawn and Bob focused on getting back into contention for a podium result in class, an uncharacteristic oversight saw the guys travel out the in road of the pits and receive a “course deviation” penalty to the tune of 30mins. This removed any chance they had of recouping positions from the flat tyre. Swaff still had a grin a mile wide and drove a brilliant race with some seriously impressive section times which he will look to capitalize on next year with some more development in house at Diesel Central planned over the Summer Break.
Nev Taylor – #6 Team Taylor
For Goondiwindi 2015 Team Taylor bought out two ProBuggys to play in the Bear Country, with Nev taking over the reigns of the Ex-Harley Letner Tatum for ’15. Back in familiar territory with the V8, 4 speed, left hand drive car, Nev pushed hard in Prologue and made an uncharacteristic mistake hitting a wooden gate post and causing enough damage to stop the Tatum in it’s tracks.
With some solid work by the whole crew at Team Taylor they had the #6 Tatum repaired and ready to rumble for Section 1 on Saturday Afternoon. With new navigator Luke Ayers lined up for his first full run in a ProBuggy the #6 Team Taylor entry headed off on a mission to pick up some positions with some great early speed unfortunately hampered by a simple broken steering bolt – a residual effect from the prologue damage rearing it’s head about half way into the lap.
With some more passion shown by the team, the boys set to work getting the car back from it’s position out on track so that full repairs could be carried out, including new steering rack bolts and straightened and braced steering arms (jobs that could not be completed in the service time between prologue and section 1) – the #6 Tatum was ready to line up for Section 2 on Sunday Morning, with USA import Jared Sallenbach stepping into the Navi’s seat and getting a taste of Australian Off Road Racing – “I was really pumped to be able to have the opportunity to come over and have a look at the Australian racing scene… it was a last minute deal but it was really fun and I hope to be back again soon… ”
Because of their dramas in Section 1 – #6 Buggy was well down the pack on the road which made for some difficult driving conditions in the dust chasing down some of the slower class vehicles, however it was a great taste of racing for Jared who said the conditions were really different to a lot of USA racing saying “we don’t really have anything like those Bear Holes in Baja – the tree line runs and rough conditions really reminded me of the first sections of the thousand… but those bear holes are tough!”
Luke Ayers was back in the seat for Section 3 and the boys had a nice clean run on the 1st lap, however some brake damage was starting to show from the prologue mishap and discretion was decided to be the better part of valor for the Offroad Racing Statesman and the decision was made to park the Tatum for the final lap with a full prep and repairs planned for the off season.
Kent Battle – #883 NORTRANS Racing
Kent Battle made the trek down from Townsville for his first attempt at the Goondiwindi 400. Unfortunately it wasn’t the weekend he was hoping for but in usual Kent Battle style he definitely made the most of it! After a quick look around reconnaissance, Kent was throttle down in Prologue with a storming run down Mellapunya it looked as if the Class 8 war that most expected was going to be every bit as exciting as promised with a huge 14 car field. BUT Goondiwindi swung the first blow and the #883 GQ Patrol broke a front tailshaft at the end of Mellapunya causing Kent to lose steering and have a mechanical DNF one corner from the finish line….. The stage was set for a quick repair, with Kent seeded well down the pack the decision was made to run the Patrol in 2wd until a tailshaft could be modified to suit overnight for full repairs – unfortunately though after a storming 2wd run where the #883 came into view on Mellapunya 2 a long way up the field from his starting position of 59th – the Auto cried enough just 2 corners from Mellapunya 1! Not an ideal weekend for the Nortrans Team – however one that every racer has endured at some point or another and Kent was positive about his return to Gundy for another crack at the infamous war grounds!
Josh Curran – #941 Offroad Cartel Jimco
After some early concerns about the weather predictions (JC has nominated for Gundy 2 times before 2015 and both years have been rained out – and this year threatened to be a hat trick) the #941 Offroad Cartel, Race Wheels Australia, King Shocks Australia Jimco made the trek down south for Gundy 2015. An early tech time saw the car inside the showgrounds and setup next to the Offroad Cartel/Gundy Motorsports Stall early and a great night of fun, strategy and smack to follow between all the racers in the area – no one can ever say that Offroad Racing isn’t FUN!
With work commitments forcing Josh to miss Friday’s Reconnaissance Lap – the boys went for a clean prologue position and a controlled drive on Saturday’s Section 1 moving them from their 32nd start position into 27th on the road. With some over night pre-running completed (the joy of modern camera technology) Josh Curran handed over the driving duties to Dan Curran (still with Brenton Thomson in the Navi’s seat) – and stepped into the commentary box for Section 2.
Dan and Brenton had a fast clean run picking off a number of cars on the road and moving the #941 inside the Top 20 on corrected time after some fun, furious and interesting battles in the notorious Goondiwindi bear holes!
Josh Curran jumped back in the car after a crazy 30min service interval, unfortunately the team got the car back to Parc Ferme 4 minutes late which knocked the #941 back a few positions overall as the time is added to the overall time at completion of the race.
With section 3 underway Josh and Brenton charged early to overtake some slower traffic and be right on the back of Mark Lacey’s ARB Micklefab Trophy Truck when Mark took an unfortunate spill, rolling the truck after clipping a gate and landing upside down in the middle of the track. The boys quickly stopped to render assistance, pulling Mark and Navigator Peter Munday from the vehicle and confirming they were all ok – and in a great show of sportmanship, Peter then assisted the boys with getting back into the #941 Jimco and moving again despite unfortunately dropping some track position behind some slower vehicles. This however didn’t slow Josh and the Jimco too much as they charged on passing a number of vehicles on the road, aided by the fact that the Jimco had brakes that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t – it was easy not to slow up when you had no brakes to stop you! With Josh running his best lap of the day on his final run around the 80km long Gundy track!
After all the dust had cleared CAMS made a great decision without even questioning a 5min 02sec time “stop assist” time allowance – proving again that when CAMS pushes in the drivers brief to stop for stranded or injured vehicles/competitors and that they will return any and all time lost – they mean it! Great work CAMS!
After it was all run and done – Josh and Brenton walked away with 14th Overall at their first run at the Gundy 400.
The boys are both looking forward to coming back to the track and having another crack at one of Australia’s Best Races!
Ryan Taylor – #24 Team Taylor
With luck not on the Team Taylor boys side this weekend, Ryan was unfortunately one of the very first victims of Gundy 2015 – with an uncharacteristic mistake from RT only 100 meters into prologue where the #24 GET Performance Pro Buggy attacked a new set of double jumps that had been built for 2015 with the end result being the #24 Team Taylor car laying very unceremoniously on its side. But as mentioned in the #6 Report – Team Taylor aren’t ones to give up without a fight – and the GET was repaired before the start of Section 1.
Unfortunately Ryan’s weekend didn’t get much better, as he battled with overheating issues which caused him over 30 minutes of down time on Section 1 causing him to have nearly a complete rear start for Section 2. Ryan ran some quick times in Section 2 despite the horrendous traffic conditions he endured…… unfortunately only to break a crank on Section 3.
What can we say – sometimes in Offroad Racing you aren’t racing the others – you are just battling the dirt and demons they leave behind!
Team Taylor will be back in 2016 to have another crack at their favorite event in Australia! Mark our words – this is the race that Team Taylor want to win more than any other in Australia – and they won’t rest until they get the result that they are working towards! DESTINED TO DOMINATE!
Thanks to everyone that came to the Goondiwindi 400 – we had a great time racing, selling, chatting and generally just catching up with all our DirtFreak Mates! Without everyone that makes these events so much fun we would have packed up and gone camping years ago! But it’s just so much fun racing in the Australian Off Road Scene!
All Photo Credit Goes to Team Taylor for Unmarked Photos
Thanks also to Craig Houston Photography and Alan McIntosh Sports Photography -
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