HOME STRETCH: Chris Bartlett is leading the Super Endeavour Rally in his custom HX Holden (1977), Three Tools.
HOME STRETCH: Chris Bartlett is leading the Super Endeavour Rally in his custom HX Holden (1977), Three Tools. Alasdair Young

Bartlett leads Super Endeavour Rally on home stretch

BOWENVILLE man Chris Bartlett is leading the Super Endeavour Rally, vindicating the claim he made a few days before it started: “these old Holdens were made for the bush.”

His 1977 HX Kingswood all but blew up four years ago on the rally after a piston broke and wrecked the motor.

The new 202 straight six (custom-built in Bowenville) has handled every stage of the rally with grace.

It was able to hold the lead for most of the Endeavour Rally before being overtaken between Ipswich and Uluru, pipped at the post as luck would have it by another Western Downs man, Keith Gooderham, on June 14.

But that was not the end of the trip for Bartlett. It was time to start the Super Endeavour Rally, essentially tacking on an extra week of racing.

With his mate Lindsay Sloss in the passenger seat, the HX held the lead from Ipswich to Lake Eyre, and is now on its way back through Queensland.

Since June 14, Bartlett and the other racers have passed through William Creek, Maree, Birdsville, Windorah and Charleville.

Yesterday they did the drive from Charleville to Goondiwindi, with organisers deeming the conditions not wet enough to move the path onto bitumen (though they did allow for a meal stop in Surat).

Today they will finish the race in Stanthorpe, and Chris is hoping to win.

More than 150 participants have already signed up for the adventure.

Mr Bartlett’s Kingswood can be picked by its distinctively rough coat of paint, home-made steel bullbar, and durable steel chassis.

Its stiff-bar allows other vehicles to tow it, and there is plenty of room for a swag, a back-up motor and supplies in the boot.

Felicity Bartlett said her Chris’ trip had been marred by electrical challenges as well as the difficulties of driving in the wet, but maintained that the engine would finish the race, if nothing else did.

“The cars carried a tonne of mud into town,” she said.

“He’s been looking forward to this part though, as he knows the land.”


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