20 March, 2024

Rainbow ready to rally

Round 1 of the ARB Australia Off Road Championship is set to take off in Rainbow this weekend, with the Street Party and scrutineering beginning at 4pm tomorrow.

By Zoey Andrews

2023 Car #410, Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings, flies over the finish line on day one of racing.
2023 Car #410, Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings, flies over the finish line on day one of racing.

Sanctioned and supported by the Australian Off Road Racing Association, and hosted by the Victorian Off Road Racing Association, 55 crews will compete in the 480 kilometre gruelling race through what past competitors have ruled one of the hardest - but most enjoyable - courses in the world.

The 2023 ARB Australian Champion Brett Martin will be challenged by runner up David Middlemiss, and eight time Australian off road champion Mark Burrows.

Fans will have the chance to get up close to the monster machines, and meet with drivers and crews on Friday night before the teams tackle the hills, sand and tight tracks of the Big Desert 480.

Federal Street will be closed from 2pm tomorrow to allow racing officials and community groups to prepare for scrutineering and the Street Party, which will see live music and delicious food and drink catered by local groups.

Saturday morning will kick off the race portion of the weekend, with Prologue from 10am, and Section One, consisting of two laps, scheduled for 1pm.

The Rainbow Rises Event Centre will come alive, with racegoers eager to see the upgraded facilities and new pit area first-hand.

The upgrades were made possible thanks to a $625,000 grant last year, and include a nine-toilet amenities block, a dedicated catering area, and a new dedicated access road and parking zone, separate from the Graincorp Bow Hill bunker site.

Barista-made coffees and cold drinks will be available at the Event Centre on Saturday and Sunday, along with hot dogs, chips, dim sims, chicken nuggets, assorted sandwiches, cakes and slices, and the barbecue will be turning out bacon and egg rolls, hamburgers, sausages and steaks.

Volunteers will be preparing an evening meal of Lasagna or chicken and salad, followed by dessert, at the Rainbow Recreation Reserve at a price of $30 for adults and $20 for under-16’s, with drinks available at bar prices. Bookings are essential.

Other options for food and drinks in town include the Eureka Hotel, Hayden’s Cafe and the local servo.

Sunday’s action will be underway at 8.30am.

The first two laps will be followed by a 45-minute service opportunity, before the final two laps of Round 1 see the winners crowned at the podium in the afternoon.

A livestream following all of the racing action and excitement, from Friday night’s festivities to the checkered flag, will be screening on the Event Centre big screen, and also available on the ARB Big Desert 480 Facebook page and AORRA YouTube channel.

Streaming will begin approximately 30 minutes before the cars roll out.

Please be aware of scammers offering links to “free” websites or subscriptions - ARB Big Desert 480‘s Facebook page and AORRA’s YouTube channel are free to view, and are the only legitimate links.


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