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Ready for tough terrain

Saturday, 16th May, 2009

With final safety checks and preparations now out of the way, competitors in the ARB Warn 4x4 Challenge are ready to tackle Broken Hill's rugged outback terrain.

Cars filed into the racecourse for scrutineering yesterday, with all cars getting the green light to compete in the week-long event.

The Challenge will begin at 7.30 tonight with the Prologue event at Stephen's Creek before competitors face a series of obstacles and trials at the racecourse Motorkhana on Sunday. Event Organiser Paul Vanderhorst said the build up to the Motorkhana had been good. "It's all shaping up really well - great weather, everyone's in town and the course is being constructed now for Sunday," he said. The new course will feature several new large hole obstacles and sweeping bends, while the winch wall and water hole obstacles have been dropped. Mr Vanderhorst said the omission of the water obstacle would make for a smoother event, with competitors in previous years often suffering mechanical problems due to mud affecting the radiator and alternator. "I think the new course will be great. I'm sure it will be just as fine as the quarry stage." The event's new home at the racecourse should also add to the success of the day, he said. "I think the facilities out here are a great bonus. Spectators, everybody from town, they get to sit on nice green grass, it's got a great atmosphere, and you've got all the facilities that are necessary. "I think it's a great venue, and if we could have it here more often then that would be great." Fans will watch competitors battle it out in two classes, Challenge (modified vehicles) and Production (standard vehicles), with 27 teams from Australia, South Africa, Switzerland and Venezuela taking part. John Clemens and Tony Bright will be the only locals competing, and will this year go up a class after a sound performance in 2008. "We went it in last year in the (Production) class and ran third, so we thought we'd go up into the Challenge class and see how we go against the big boys," said Mr Clemens. "We've done a fair bit of work on the car, a new tray, new turbo and a fair bit of engine work so we're all good to go. "We'll give it a good run hopefully, and we'd just like to thank all our sponsors and all the boys who have given us a hand." At the completion of the Motorkhana, competitors will move as a group to properties on the outskirts of town, with stages at Denian, Viewmont and Poolamaca from Monday to Friday. Mr Vanderhorst said the decision to keep all cars in one group rather than split up across the three stations had been popular. "All the competitors and the marshalls are looking forward to the new format where we all move together as a group from property to property. "It will make the event a lot easier to run, and everyone is just talking about having a great time which is what the event is all about." Gates open at the racecourse Motorkhana on Sunday at 9am with admission $5 for adults, $3 for students and pensioners and children under 12 accompanied by an adult. Proceeds from the Motorkhana will go towards Legacy, and the charity will be selling food, tea and coffee on the day.

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