Ocean Reef, Western Australia, August 15: I’m not sure whether it’s a help or a hindrance to your chances when you enter an off-road race promoted as “mud-free”, which is the billing given the Cochrane’s Transport Badgingarra 250 this weekend.
No doubt there are varying views on the subject and, not being an expert on the special arts involved in this remarkable sport, I would suspect it’s probably a whole lot less messy than normal.
Round five of the 2016 CAMS PGS Industries WA Off-Road Racing Championship is on Saturday and Sunday at Birrawong, a property about 230kms north of Perth.
The first four rounds have turned up four outright winners: Shane Elphinstone, Brad Cooper, Scott Schiller, and Brett Smith – off-road stalwarts all.
If you’re planning to go this weekend, Birrawong is about 30kms north of Badgingarra on the Brand Highway. But where, you might ask, is Badgy?
It’s a town of fewer than 400 people around 200kms north of Perth, in WA’s Wheatbelt region, renowned for its diverse country and it extraordinary Spring wildflower display. “Badgingarra” is a Noongar word said to mean “water by the manna gums”, according to Wikipedia.
The 36km Birrawong track is an amalgam of farm trails and paddock runs, with some rocky areas and a few sandy areas. According to the organisers, if you were hoping for a mud-free August race you’ve got it!
(Not too sure how that works because we’ve had plenty of the wet stuff down this way, and its fairly chucking it down today. Gives one an indication of how vast Western Australia is, though).
The format is seven laps around the course with recon, prologue and two laps Saturday and stints of three and two laps Sunday. Presentations are scheduled for 3pm.
They tell me spectating is pretty good. But Birrawong is an operating stock property with a mixture of cattle and sheep. So whatever you do don’t bring your dogs, because you’ll be asked to leave. Quick smart. No exceptions.
Camping (toilets, but no showers) is available from Friday lunchtime, with a coffee van during the event. But bring your own food for the weekend. Unless you’re on a serious diet.
For the uninitiated, like me, there are nine classes in off-road racing:
Pro Buggy – petrol engines not exceeding 6000cc, or 7200cc diesel; Prolite Buggy – engines up to
3500cc, naturally aspirated; Super Buggy – not exceeding 1650cc; and Sportsman – not exceeding 1330cc.
2WD Performance (modified) and Extreme (highly modified); and 4WD Production and highly modified Extreme rigs; none of these may exceed 6000cc for petrol or 7200cc diesel.
The Superlite class (for off-road recreational vehicles like Polaris and Can-Am) must not exceed 1200cc for naturally aspirated engines, and 2050cc for supercharged/turbocharged donks.
The 2016 CAMS PGS Industries WAORRC is a series of six long-course off-road races, with gongs for outright and class titles.
The sporting regs are published each year and, along with other CAMS regs, form the rules you need to follow to get involved.
Coming up, the Three Springs 330 along the shores of the Yarra-Yarra Lakes in WA’s Midwest region in September, and the Gascoyne Dash in October to see who will be crowned King of the River.
You can check out all you need to know at www.waorra.com and, as they say, get down and dirty with the WA Off-Road Racing Association.