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Tearing up the outback dust

Wednesday, 31st August, 2011

OFF-ROAD: Ex-local Chris Wilson competing in the Finke Desert Race earlier this year. Mr Wilson has formed Nine Mile Racing with the Clare family and is now planning to take on the Pines Enduro event. OFF-ROAD: Ex-local Chris Wilson competing in the Finke Desert Race earlier this year. Mr Wilson has formed Nine Mile Racing with the Clare family and is now planning to take on the Pines Enduro event.

By Darrin Manuel

When ex-local Chris Wilson isn’t busy working to rebuild Afghanistan, he likes to spend his time tearing up the outback in Australia’s biggest off-road racing events.

Having competed in the Finke Desert Race in June this year Mr Wilson is now eyeing this weekend’s Pines Enduro event to be held at Millicent, South Australia.

However the majority of his time has been committed to running his construction company in Kabul, so he has sought the mechanical skills of the Clare family to ensure his offroad buggy is ready to go when race day rolls around.

Colin Clare, along with brother Trevor and their sons Blake and Trent, have been busy preparing Wilson’s Jimco buggy for the Pines Enduro event, which marks the fourth round of the Australian Off-road Championships.

The family, who joined with Mr Wilson to create the Nine Mile Racing team, have been tinkering with the buggy at their station near Silverton for a number of weeks.

“You could say we provide support logistics for Chris’ racing which he does on a fly-in fly-out basis,” said Colin.

“We’d been waiting on parts from America, and the boys have busted their butt to get everything ready for the weekend. They’ve really worked very hard.”

Mr Wilson purchased his buggy from the All German Motorsports (AGM) racing team, and described it as “one of the best and most technically advanced offroad cars in the country.”

It features a five-litre V8 BMW motor, producing 580 brake horsepower through a five-speed sequential Fortin gearbox.

“It’s a race car and it’s a very clever and classy piece of work,” said Colin.

“Basically it’s like ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound bag - it’s very tight, very compact.”

Colin said working on the car provided an enjoyable challenge, and the opportunity to tinker with some fascinating high-end machinery.

“It’s rewarding in the sense that it’s not every day that you get to work with something this high quality, they spared nothing in the preparation of the car.

“It’s a world class car, and its up to us to prepare it to a world class standard, and that’s very interesting and very challenging.”

Mr Clare has received significant support from AGM when it comes to working on the car, and said he and his family hoped to meet with AGM’s Crew Chief Brian Little in October to do some fine tuning on the vehicle’s suspension.

The three-day Pines Enduro race will begin on Friday, with Mr Wilson driving and fellow ex-local Tharon Hart acting as Navigator.

If the team make it through unscathed they will set their sights on the Goondiwindi 400 race scheduled for October.

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