Rhodes Back to Back In the Riverland
FOX Drivers Take Top 6 Outright
07.27.15 A staple of the Australian off-road calendar since 1980, the Toyo Tyres Riverland Enduro continued to attract a high quality field, with 98 teams heading to Waikerie on the banks of the Murray River in South Australias Riverland to compete in the 2015 installment. On Friday night, footballers were replaced with off-roaders on the Waikerie Oval as the teams cruised through scrutineering and went on display for a meet and greet with the public.
Seven former Riverland Enduro winners would roll onto the starting grid, including the #91 Jimco of 2014 Waikerie champ Jack Rhodes for the Prologue and Top Ten Shoot Out to determine the starting order. However, the day would belong to the Aussie Baja Ironman Chris Western in the #61 Element Prodigy, who dominated the days racing, winning the Prologue and then the Top Ten Shoot Out to secure pole position for Sundays main 5-lap race. Rounding out the top three were the Rhodes Racing teammates of Jack Rhodes (#91) and Dave Fellows (#92) in second and third.
Sunday morning saw the field blast away from the line two at a time in 30-second intervals. Sitting next to Chris Western and Stuey Bishop in the #61 V8 Element on the grid, the twin-turbocharged #91 Jimco of Jack Rhodes and David Pullino won the drag race into the first corner and from this point they didnt look back. The Rhodes Racing duo lead the 5-lap race through the fast station tracks and red sand hills from start to finish to claim back-to-back wins at the Toyo Tires Riverland Enduro in a total time of 3h13m36s.
The battle for the podium was hard fought, with the Haby brothers, Shannon Rentsch, Chris Western, Jack Rhodes and Scott Schiller all in contention. After 350km+ of racing, it would be the son and father team of Shannon and Ian Rentsch who would take second outright in the #1 Hogs Breath Jimco. Starting 9th on the grid after power steering issues and a small fire during the Top Ten Shoot Out on Saturday, Rentsch charged through the field to complete the race in a time of 3hr17min32s and maintained his position at the top of the AORC leaderboard after 3 rounds. Fresh from his 2014 Baja campaign, Chris Western and Stuey Bishop returned to their hometown in style, crossing the finish line in third outright and claiming their first AORC podium finish in the process.
FOX continued to dominate the Australian Off Road Championship podium with the Jimcos of Rhodes and Rentsch along with the Aussie built Element of Western. The good form for FOX drivers continued throughout the top ten, with the #16 Racer of Talbot Cox 4th, the #56 Element of Carl Haby 5th, the #971 SS Racetech of Scott Schiller 6th and the #92 Jimco of Dave Fellows in 10th.
The fourth and final round of the Australian Off Road Championship will be the Coffs Coast 400 in New South Wales from September 11-13, where the AORC will line up alongside the stars of the World Rally Championship (WRC) at Rally Australia.