Sloss and Bartlett smash Super Endeavour Rally
MUCH like Queensland after State of Origin this year, Dalby is two for two on the Endeavour Rally racing circuit.
The Great Endeavour Rally is an off-road race across Australia, won by Dalby’s Keith Gooderham; once that finishes, another week of racing marks the Super Endeavour Rally.
Chris Bartlett led the 50-vehicle -strong Great Endeavour Rally, when he was pipped for first place by Gooderham near Uluru.
With navigator Lindsay Sloss by his side, Bartlett kicked off the Super Endeavour Rally, held the lead without challenge, and was the first to cross the finish line at Stanthorpe on Tuesday.
It was a vindicating moment for Bartlett, who was knocked back into dead last by engine troubles when he raced four years ago.
His stock standard two-wheel-drive 1977 HX Kingswood, fitted with a new 202 straight six (custom-built in Bowenville) handled every stage of the rally with grace this time around.
Since the race started on June 14, Bartlett and the other racers have been everywhere from Uluru to Stanthorpe.
Though the last leg of the trip was marred by mud and rocks, Bartlett’s two-wheel-drive Kingswood, still running as well as the day it left the factory, chewed up the course.
“The rain was the biggest challenge. We had everything, rocks, dust, mud, but what stuck to us most? We had a Holden,” he said.
“Everyone said ‘you’ll never get it through’; everyone else was driving four-wheel-drives. But Holdens were built for this country.
“We’ve got a bit of metal fatigue, but that’s about it.”
An army of organisers kept the rally running smoothly, and literal Australian Defence Force personnel tagged along for a bit of practise driving and maintaining vehicles in rough terrain.
“They kept the Fords going,” Bartlett said.
Through the rally, $300,000 was raised for people with disabilities, $10,000 of which was raised by Bartlett and Sloss’s generous local donors.
After making a bee-line for home and hearth, Bartlett and Sloss did the rounds to thank the sponsors that made this year’s Great/Super Endeavour Rally a success.