ARB Albins Goondiwindi 400 - Wrap Up
ROBERTSON OFF-ROAD RACING
Our trip to ARB Albins Goondiwindi 400 started Monday when new cylinder heads & pistons arrived for the truck. We assembled the engine Monday, fitted it into the truck Tuesday and on Wednesday morning travelled from Mildura to Adelaide so Troy TZee tuning could dyno run and retune before heading back to Mildura. On Thursday morning at about 5.00am we set off to Goondiwindi. Friday we went out to the track to do the recon track, which looked great, then we were off to scrutineering.
Saturday my oldest son Andrew Robertson got in for prologue Andrew hasn’t been it the truck before but has been doing a lot of the engine work with me. It was the first real time out for the truck with the Mickey Thompson 37/12.50/17 MTZs and it was a different truck, the traction and control was unbelievable compared to the previous make, giving me more confidence in the truck. It hooks up & stops and corners like it’s on rails.
First lap was going well, however we experienced an alternator problem about 50km in (it was not charging) so we slowed a bit trying to make it in as we were down on battery voltage. We fitted a new alternator at the end of the lap and it was all good - still running in third position.
Sunday my youngest Daughter Katelyn Robertson got in. Katelyn has never been in the truck but she felt ill at the 60km mark so we stopped till Katelyn felt well enough to continue back to the pits and we sat out the next lap, we were then seeded for the last heat and Andrew got back in and we just went out to have some fun. We had a cracker of a lap passing a couple of fellow competitors and pushing the truck hard testing the new Mickey Thompsons which performed faultlessly! We did crack the radiator which stopped us from doing the last lap but at least we had a ball.
Just a little note I lent my two new Mickey Thompson spares to one of the Micklefab sister trucks as they had been complaining they couldn’t get traction and were sliding everywhere. It probably was not the smartest thing I’ve done because they’re still on that sister truck! I did ask for them back but that didn’t work ha ha, I will just get some replacement Mickey Thompson – the best thing is the overnight delivery – very convenient.
A very big thankyou to the Mickey Thompson Team for their support. This enables me to perform at a higher level and it made the tracks & truck even more enjoyable.
What a tough event The Albins ARB Goondiwindi 400 was. We went into the weekend with a 2 point lead in the ARB Off Road Racing Series, so our plan was to have a good trouble free weekend in our #41 Alumi Craft.
We prologued in 7th and finished 8th in the top 10 shootout. We had a big moment at about 30km in the first lap on Saturday and though our weekend was going to end up with a big rollover, but somehow the car landed back down on all four wheels, from that point on we drove a good steady pace. We ended up 11th after the lap.
Sunday's first 2 laps we had a trouble free run and were sitting 10th with 2 laps to go. The final 2 laps went to plan and we stayed out of trouble and moved up to 5th outright for the event. The Mickey Thompson tyres again were perfect, the pounding the tyres take when hitting those melon holes at speed must be massive. The grip level and predictability of the tyres is amazing.
We endend up winning the 2015 ARB Off Road Racing Series after a good consistant year of racing over 5 events. To go through the year with no flat tyers helps. A big thanks to all our sponsors for their help. Mickey Thompson Tires Australia, Racer Imports, Owen Truss, Fox, Shane Wilson Race Engines and Matko Hire. We have a few changes to do to the car for next year to make it better and we are looking forward 2016. If your not running with Mickey Thompson's yet, DO IT.
Our Goondiwindi 400 didn’t quite go to plan. We managed to finish 100% of the event for the first time, but we had a few obstacles along the way. Our power steering servo unit blew a seal on lap 1 on Saturday afternoon and gradually got worse throughout the event. Almost as fast as we could pour the fluid in, it would leak out onto the floor and our pedals and cab. We ended up putting about 9 litres of fluid into the car but still after the 30km point of every lap we lost our power steering. We persisted and got to the finish, but our result doesn’t reflect how happy we were with the car and the crew.
This is our first full race running the 35” Mickey Thompson MTZs. We are so thrilled with the performance and wear of the tyres. We pushed them hard for the full 400km and they would be able to race again with no problems. The best thing we found with the MTZs was the braking grip and mid corner grip. It took a while for us to work out how good these tyres were under brakes and we had to adjust our braking points. Once we got the swing of it, we were using these to our advantage. Very thrilled with the MTZs.
This was the first long course event the Power Tech Racing team had taken on, most of the other events we have competed in were nothing more than a couple 100kms over the weekend.
Passing scrutineering without a hitch, we were set to go racing first thing Saturday morning. We started prologue at the bottom of the field and completed it without any issues it was a nice flowing 10km section of the full track. After Prologue we were confident the car was ready to tackle the first 80km lap.
Section 1 consisted of 1 lap of the 80km track, the Pajero handled it without a problem, having set the tyre pressures to the ideal pressure the MTZs got us through the mixed surfaces with ease.
Section 2, day 2 consisted of 2 continual laps of the 80km track, after section 1 we were sitting mid field for start. After getting caught up in dust from some of the faster buggies, which resulted in us hitting a tree. We were able to finish the first lap and return to the pits for a quick check over the car and a re-fuel to get back out on the track to finish the last lap of Section 2.
Service break/parc ferme of 30 minutes allowed us to get in and tighten any loose nuts and bolts, ensure we had enough fuel and the car was ready to continue.
Section 3 felt like the longest and hardest 2 laps of the whole race, with everything starting to fatigue. The faithful Pajero pulled through and we made it back with plenty of time to spare. The Mickey Thompson tyres proved to be the perfect fit to help us score a 3rd in class. All in all was a tough but rewarding weekend.
Big Thanks to all our sponsors: Mickey Thompson Tyres, DJ HardCorey, ARB Caboolture, Caloundra & Maroochydore, Power Tech Industries, KLM Gas & all our Pit crew who have helped us out in some way or another, we couldn’t have done it without you.
The last round of the season for us was Goondiwindi in Queensland. This is our favourite track out of all we’ve raced on so far. Kevy Nott our friend and fellow Team Mickey member jumped in for us to fill the navigators seat for this race. It’s almost become a tradition for us to do this race together. We got there on Thursday so there was no rushing. I hate rushing and feeling pressured on race weekends so we try to give ourselves as much time as possible. We got settled in on Thursday and got some rest in and headed out to the track at 12 on Friday to do recon of the long course. Most of us were shocked to see that someone had taken a grader to our beloved Malapunyah run. It was now a smooth highway with smooth gentle transitions before every jump. Where holding it flat through there last year was only for the brave, this year everyone could hold it flat. It just wasn’t that natural terrain we all love about “Gundy”. That being said it was still bucket loads of fun.
The rest of the track is exactly as we left it last time we were there more or less with the addition of “malapunyah run #2 being a very rough section in front of the crowd with big holes that were challenging to drive at speed. Friday afternoon was scrutineering and the vehicle display. It was good night with lots of people and lots of interest in the cars.
Saturday morning we headed out to the track and got set up. Prologue was a little slow for us as we were just re acquainting our selves with the track. We laid down a good first lap that afternoon. Sunday morning into the second lap for the day we blew a power steering line and pump at the same time and ended up not being able to go any further. There was a major stuff up in recovering us. Due to them sending Paula on a wild goose chase what should have taken her 30 mins to find us ended up taking an hour and 30. When we got back we fitted a new pump and repaired the line. 10 kms from the pits the car began to badly over heat. We emptied all water we had into the radiator, limped between 3 recovery and check points begging water at each until we finally found a crack in the radiator! This ended our event! Had they handled the recovery directions properly we would have had time to do a proper service like everyone else and we would have found and repaired the crack in the radiator easily. We needed these points badly and as we weren’t able to complete the last two laps and collect a few more points. That cost us the championship in the class. Later that night at presentation we were awarded second place class 8 for the ARB Offroad Racing Series. Only a very few points behind Jason Whitaker. “Missed it by that much!”
That concludes our season of racing and we look forward to a regroup and get ready for round 1 of the ARB Series in Griffith NSW. We will have my mother and father here from Canada to watch their first ever Offroad race and first time watching their son race. We hope Griffith is as good to us this coming year as it was this year.