Winning Return for Tanner James
With blue sky and a strong breeze to move the dust, a strong field of 18 cars greeted the green flag for the Tyrrell Downs Short Course race.
Racing consisted of a one lap sprint of the 15km track; this was effectively a prologue with the time counting towards the overall time. After the one lap sprint it was Cameron McClelland #154 in his VQ35 powered Rimco Class 1 coming out on top of the times with a time of 7m40.04s over second placed Mark Burrows #21 with a time of 7m45.17s closely followed by Alan Dixon #153 on 7m45.48s.
Unfortunately McClelland would be dealt the cruellest of hands, whilst checking the car at the regroup for the start of Section 2, his crew found an oil leak from the rear main ending his day.
Section 2 started in pairs with Mark Burrows #21 and son Matthew in his first race on the front row alongside Tanner James with Dad Aaron #93. It was Burrows who got the jump on James, however this was shortly lived when the #93 AlumiCraft passed Burrows to have a dust free run. Burrows closely followed by Alan Dixon #153 and Nathan Monk in his Chev powered #26 Southern Cross.
Unfortunately for Paul Walsh in his Class 2 this was the end of his racing for the first section; the #216 machine stopping shortly into his second lap with a failed CV joint. Fred Parker in his Chev powered Landrover followed shortly after with a broken harmonic balancer. Tight racing continued for the next three laps of section 2 with Tanner James leading Mark Burrows and Nathan Monk after Alan Dixon developed a misfire and dropped back down the order.
In fourth place at the end of the section was Geoff Lloyd in his Chev Powered Jimco ahead of Travis Conrad in his Class 10, who was putting in consistent lap times to be running fifth.
After the one hour service break it was time for the final five laps of the 15km course to decide the winner. Tanner James enjoyed the dust free run in his Ford Ecoboost powered Alumi Craft to lead from the start and win the day overall with a time of 1h17m18s. Hot on his heels in second place was Mark Burrows and his son in their Jimco #21 with a time of 1h17m23s, only 5 seconds separating the first two places. Rounding out the podium positions was Nathan Monk #26.
12 of the 18 starters greeted the checkered flag. In fourth place was Geoff Lloyd followed by Rod Visser in his Suzuki powered Alumi Craft in fifth place. Daryl Pearce enjoyed a great run in his SR20 Turbo powered Chaseco to secure sixth place ahead of the tin top home of Darren Mott in his LS powered Rodeo Trophy Truck in seventh.
Eighth place went to Drew McClelland in his Class 3. After having a fantastic run early on in the event and running at the top end of the field Travis Conrad limped home in ninth with a broken front steering arm. The remaining three finishes were all tin tops with Sam Thomas in his Class 8 Mitsubishi Pajero finishing tenth, local Bernie Clohsey in his Valiant Ute finishing 11th and last over the line was Brett Salau-Foster in his Nissan Patrol.
Speaking with race winner Tanner James he said the event was awesome and that he really enjoyed it. The aim for the event was to get some seat time and feel his way back into the car after the accident last year at Finke. They had no intentions of winning the event and it just sort of happened; he was happy to see the event well supported”.
However, the best part of the weekend for Tanner was seeing Matthew Burrows jumping in the navigator’s seat for the first time with his father Mark and that they both had grins from ear to ear for the whole day and being able to race with them was fantastic.
Six teams failed to complete full race distance - Alan Dixon had a misfire in the #153 Class 1 machine; Alistair McClelland finally succumbing to gearbox failure after battling with engine concerns all day and Kruiz Jenkins failing to finish with broken wheel studs on the rear.
At the end of an extremely well run day it was time to pack up and head home ready for the next event.