2018 BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship
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2018 ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship
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SAORRA Round 6... the Mannum Decider
Saturday, 02 September 2017

Source: Mark Taylor

South Australian Off Roaders will head to Mannum on 9th & 10th September for round 6 of the South Australian Off Road Racing Association Multiclub Series.

Loveday, Parilla, Port Germein, Waikerie and Wynarka have been run and won, which leaves the 23km Enduro track of limestone, sand and dirt, just outside the Murray River town of Mannum left to challenge the SAORRA racers. This track is situated on the Haby Family property, who continues to support the South Australian Off Road scene.

This race will be the decider for the series in both outright and class honours, and as in previous years, should attract a strong field.

Series outright honours currently sit with the son and father team of Chris and Colin Johnson, in the Nightstalker VQ35 Nissan Prolite Buggy. This team has been consistent all year, with Chris giving the car all it’s got on each and every track.

They are currently sitting 27 points in front of second place, being held down by the Superlite B low flying rocket ship of Toby Whateley and Simon Herrmann. This Can-Am package has been super quick this year, but unfortunately has had reliability issues in 2017. With a bit of luck at Mannum they could take top spot, but would need to both run hard at the pointy end, and have reliability.

Mick Surfield and Craig Matthews in the Super 1650 SR16 Nissan powered Rids Joker, round out the current top three sitting 11 points shy of second spot. This team were the bridesmaids last year, and were eyeing top spot in 2017. Their Waikerie campaign left them short, but it’s still mathematically possible, but would need both Johnson and Whateley not to finish.

David and Nathan Hall in the Murphy Prolite have had a cracking season, but a hiccup at Wynarka last month has them sitting fourth in the standings. They are still a chance of taking some silverware home at the end of the year, but would need one or two above to have bad luck.

Fifth is Shane Waters’ Super 1650 Southern Cross Mk5; Shane has had a slow start to the season missing Loveday and Parilla, but in the last three rounds has picked up a first in class in each event. On form he has the opportunity to go as high as second, and could spoil Surfields party.

Sitting sixth is the Super 1650 of father and son pairing of Mark and Tyson Battersby; Mark has had a great full season this year bringing it home on each occasion, showing consistency is the key. Unfortunately all above him would need to falters and the highest possible may be third.

Class honours are also on the line. Ivan Schmocker (58) and Matt Curtis (936) sit on top and hold the Pro title on the same 88 points. It will come down to who enters and finishes? Toby Francombe in the Rids Joker sits third on 50 points and Andrew Fitzgerald is fourth on 43 points.

Prolite currently is held by our outright leaders Chris and Colin Johnson, ahead of fifth outright David and Nathan Hall. Chris has it in the bag, with David likely to stay in second spot. Nev Day and James Anderson are sitting third after a mixed season with a really strong result at Port Germein. They could leapfrog David Hall into second, with another strong result, if the Hall brothers run into trouble.

Super 1650 is another story. While Mick Surfield and Craig Matthews will likely keep their top spot for the second year in a row, the minor places could come from a multitude of competitors. With a 13 car strong field battling it out for Super 1650 honours in 2017, showing Super 1650 is alive and kicking still, it is left to four teams to take the minor places. Shane Waters is definitely in the box seat for second place, and another first in class victory at Mannum will cement him there. Mark Battersby only sits 3 points shy of Waters, so is a real chance to take second should Waters not gain any points.

Waiting in the wings is Mark’s team mates car of Justin Battersby and Jacinta Heness in the Toyota powered Rimco. If any cars ahead of them falter, they will swoop in and take their spots. Currently sitting fifth in the points is the newly debut Rids Joker of Sam Vanstone; while not an easy climb to third place from his current points total, he could get there, with a bit of luck.

Extreme 2WD has been a bit hit and miss this year, with no consistent fields. Currently first is John Smith after a great showing at Loveday and Wynarka, followed by Greg Gartner, Steve Chamberlain and Carl Haby. Steve Chamberlain and Kris Daddow may get the XA Ute fixed from a breakdown at Wynarka and challenge Smith for the crown, but the money is on Carl Haby, if he enters his home race, he will likely take it out the class crown.

Performance 2WD is currently running very close with 37 points covering the top three. A great season sees Chris Pickert and Bryan Brown sitting atop the Performance 2WD tree. They have taken the Navara and finished all but and round this season and look to have it in the bag. Second spot is Darran Vandy, but with Pines in two weeks after Mannum, it is more than likely we won’t see him at Mannum to challenge Chris. In third position is Michael Hanrahan.

If you are in Superlite A you have a chance, as a blanket covers the field, (20 points). If you are at Mannum, then you are in with a shot. Current standings are Peter Dennis, Damien Nash, Roydn Bailey and Charlie Mieglich.

Superlite B is a different story; Toby Whateley and Simon Herrman have the top spot sewn up tighter than set of jeans. On current form second and third Driver won’t change with Adam Bierl and Tony Whateley taking the spots, but in a strange turn, the second and third navigator trophies has Nyree Burmingham, Doug Carthew and Coen Bierl fighting it out. It will come down to who Adam Bierl picks as his navigator…?

Production 4WD will most definitely be taken by Greg Napper in his Patrol, with consistent finishes in the last three rounds, he is basically uncatchable.

Extreme 4WD will come down to the wire with Ian Barkla leading Jamie Parker by 11 points. All Barkla needs to do is drive sensible at Mannum and the title is his. But Jamie needs to get himself up the outright standings, if he wants the top prize come presentation night.

Sportslite is currently lead by Luke Hille after an excellent debut showing at Wynarka; this young lad will be keen to give it another hit out at Mannum.

Updated SAORRA point score can be found here.