WATCH: Nissan v Toyota - The battle for supremacy at Xtreme Winch Challenge
The final round of the 2019 Comeup Xtreme Winch Challenge (XWC) series was held on the Springate Property, East of Tamworth on the last weekend in October. The XWC has got everything you'd want from a 4WD competition... Winching, rock climbing, rollovers and some awesome terrain designed to test man and machine
Darius Crick and Luke Rooke were at their second Comeup XWC event for the year and were sitting in 5th after the three Friday night stages. In stage 5, they finished 4th, their best stage result for the weekend. Unfortunately they’d break a Control Arm in the creek run on Saturday Afternoon that would give them a DNF for the stage. The next morning they’d again face troubles, with bent steering. They managed to straighten it enough to finish stage 9, but recorded a DNF for Stage 10 and finished the event at the bottom of the leaderboard in 9th.
Like Crick, John Adamson is in a Landcruiser 80 Series was also back for another crack at a Comeup XWC Event. But he too would have bad luck breaking a tail shaft in Special Stage 6, but he’d performed well on the stage before, with some spirited driving in the creek bed. But with two DNF’s and two stages where he failed to start, he was relegated down the leaderboard to finish 8th for the weekend.
Possibly the tallest car in the series was the Totota Hilux of Mike Grima and Terry Adams. In stage 5, they were 4th quickest, but 30 points of penalties would drop them back to a final position of 6th on stage. On Saturdays final stage, the Hilux would take the award for most spectacular drive, rolling the car, landing back on all four wheels and then finishing the stage in 5th outright. Navigator Tarry Adams was a last minute stand in and the pairing managed 7th for the weekend.
Tom Bowden and Aaron Melvile are relative new comers to the XWC family and were fronting up for their 2nd XWC in 2019. The Daytime stages were where they excelled, finishing 3rd in Special Stage 5 by driving both the creek exits without needing to Winch. Rain at the start of Stage seven wouldn’t dampen their spirits and once again they showed their form, finishing the multi-truck stage without penalty to once again be third quickest.
In the final Super stage on Sunday, they’d again be penalty free. They were 4th quickes, but after other teams suffered penalties, they’d finished stage 10 in 3rd . If it hadn’t been for an issue preventing them from starting stage 3, they would have finished much higher than their eventual 6th outright for the weekend.
There was a different line up for the Wyong Automatic Transmission Service FJ45 this weekend. Regular driver Rod Rathbone was out of action and navigator and brother Russell Rathbone had upgraded to the drivers seat for Round 5. But it was still an all family affair with Rods Son, Russ’s nephew, pulling the winch rope. But a tricky winch puzzle would see them score a DNF on the first of the morning stages. They had the theory right, but failed the practical with the winch not wanting to play nicely.
Some hairy winch climbs on Saturday afternoon would have the team on their toes and lifting some wheels, putting on a great show for the crowd. Sundays Super Sunday Stage would see the Rathbone team make up some ground in the first half. But a less than perfect winch alignment in the second half of the stage would let them down and they’d have to be satisfied with 5th overall for the weekend.
Pete Bannister and Tim Simpson in the Ford Maverick, AKA the Mav, were one of the favourites to take out the series, but didn’t start the night stages well, so needed to make up time during the daytime tests. And on the first of the morning stages, they finished with top points, thanks to their rivals penalties, and despite only finishing 4th quickest. A win on the next stage would set them up well for the afternoons stages, but a 30 point penalty would drop them from the second fastest to 6th in terms of points. And it could have all ended in disaster when a near roll over in the final stage on Saturday was saved by some quick thinking.
Bannister was 2nd fastest in the first half of the final Sunday Super stage, but clearly he was determined to roll the mav, successfully putting it on it’s roof away from pour cameras. We only got to see the aftermath and the Mav would finish the weekends competition in 4th outright.
Dave and Pat Burrows are a local Father and Son team from Tamworth, and are regular competitors at the Comeup XWC. Going into Saturdays stages, they were nicely in 2nd outright and looking good for a win. In Stage 6, they were quickest on times, but a 10 point penalty dropped them back into 3rd position.
They’s make up for it on Stage 8, taking the stage win with some excellent team work getting the Farm Truck to the top of the winch walls and up and through the tight and technical gully without taking out any of the many course markers.
On the final stage, they tipped the FJ45 Landcruiser on it’s side, this could have been the end of the road for the Locals. But the time lost getting it back upright was made up when Burrows drove the middle winch wall. A 10 point penalty in the final section wasn’t ideal, but with just over 40 points separating them from 2nd, they’d have to settle for bottom place on the podium in 3rd Outright.
Another Father and Son team would be on the Podium for Round 5. The Wauhope based Jilg Racing team of Peter and Jayden Jig would work well together in each of the 10 stages, only one 10 point penalty over the entire weekend. They took no risks and were more conservative than many of their rivals, but it was a move that payed off. They weren’t the fastest all weekend, but their consistency would be rewarded. The GQ Patrol team has only been racing in the Comeup XWC since the beginning of 2019, so we can expect to see a lot more from them in the future.
In the Super Sunday Stages, The Jilg Racing team continued their consistency. They were third quickest in SS10, but with penalties applied to other teams, they grabbed 94 points to seal their second on the Podium.
But the top place on the Podium, and really it was no surprise, was Team Ranga. Not only did they win Round 5, they also took out the series in what can only be described as a consistent and determined drive at each of the four rounds they took part in.
In six of the 10 stages, they score a maximum 100 points and were clear winners, 52 points ahead of Jilg Racing. Paul Semmens and Nathan Mills are no strangers to winning this event, and they once again showed that they are the team to be measured against. What’s amazing is that they broke two CV’s in the GU Patrol and had them fixed ready for the next, such is their drive to win.