Refreshed Rainbow ready for new date

It’s 9am on Saturday, 10 August 2019.

After an evening of continuous torrential rain in Victoria’s west, the first day of the 2019 Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro has had to be cancelled due to parts of the muddy course being unsafe to race on.

It was right then and there, event organisers knew something had to change. In its third consecutive year, the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship season finale was again plagued by poor weather.

Shortly after the shortened finale, which saw Mark Burrows crowned a national champion for the eighth time in his career, organisers hastily met to discuss the obvious matter of a much-needed date change.

With many factors to consider in selecting a new date, including the potential addition of the Kalgoorlie Desert Race onto the national calendar and the availably of land needed for the course, it was eventually decided that the latest date the event could run on was around the end of August.

It was a decision that was warmly welcomed by crews, clubs and the wider Rainbow community and Victorian Off Road Racing Association (VORRA) president Tony Carabott believed it would make all the difference.

“I think the new date change is going to be a real positive,” Carabott said.

“Setting it back three or four weeks will make a big difference. It will also give the competitors a bit more time to prepare following Loveday and for Kalgoorlie after.

“The date was something the club knew we had to change. While weather can’t be helped, the competitors would have been thinking of requesting a change of date, but the club showed initiative and the feedback we have received has been really encouraging.

“We had to be proactive. We had to work with the locals and also the farming industry in getting this new date confirmed. Four weeks later is the most we could move it and we are stepping into the warmer weather now so hopefully we don’t get rain.”

Outside of the new dates, the only major change VORRA is expected to make is to the event’s facilities as they look to enhance the experience for competing crews and spectators.

As for the popular race itself, it will remain the same format with Scrutineering to take place on the Friday evening, Saturday morning’s Prologue to set up two race laps in the afternoon and Sunday to hold five laps.

And while it’s no longer the championship’s season finale, Carabott is still excited for the event and revamped 2020 season.

“It’s always good to be the finale and the decision maker but I think it’s time to let someone else have a go and be part of the five-round championship,” Carabott said.

“I would like to see another round added in the future but as far as VORRA is concerned, we are still a critical round and we’re really excited for it.

“Preparations are going good. Everything else at this stage looks like it will be the same. The format of the race is pretty good and the competitors are happy with it so it will remain unchanged.

“We are trying to improve the facilities of the area – especially around the GrainCorp Pit. We have also reinstated the track recently and after March’s Rainbow 240, we will begin focusing on the national round.”

The Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro takes place on 28-30 August, while the Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship begins with the Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 on 3-5 April.