2013 Xtreme Winch Challenge – Round 2

Round 2 of the Xtreme Winch Challenge was held last weekend at “The Mountain” just outside the small NSW town of Manilla. It was to be a cold weekend with overnight temperatures dropping below zero, however the bright sunny days made for a great weekend of hotly contested special stages in the traditional steep gullies and creek beds that this rural property has to offer.


_MG_1821Nine comp trucks lined up for the start on Friday night and with the temperature dropping quickly and the sun setting rapidly behind Mt Borah, the winch action started.


Event Organiser David Metcalfe started the event with the traditional speed run and the GU Patrol of Cam Gale and Col Warnenken set the fastest time and looked like favourite for the weekend. Phil Bell and Iain Hughes in the OTC Toyota 40 Series were second quickest and looked to be a real challenger for the outright lead.



80But things would change in the two remaining night stages which were run together with a minute gap on the start line making for some great spectator action with two winch walls side by side with a truck on each. The OTC 40 series was on SS3 first and that is as far as it would go after a breakage sidelined them for the rest of the weekend leaving Phil and Iain in the spectator category.


The Suzuki of Chris Cahill and Nick Bail suffered a flat tyre and a faulty winch as well as other problems in Stage 3 resulting in a did-not-finish (DNF). It would set the scene for the rest of the weekend for this team as their only option was to put a standard tyre on and this is what they used for the remainder of the weekend.


_MG_1882But the standout performance came from Andrew McFarlane and Mark Calder driving a Landrover, winning both Stage 2 and 3, a great effort from this team. Warnenken in his GU Patrol was second in stage 2 and the Farmtruck of Dave Burrows and Howard Crossley finished second in stage 3.


Saturday morning was looking ominous with a thick fog surrounding the XWC Headquarters at the Royal Hotel in Manilla. Driving out to the property the fog didn’t get much better but as soon as the road started up the mountain, the fog cleared and a magnificent clear blue skied morning would greet the competitors for the first stage.


The order of stages is not set in concrete with the XWC and stage 7 would be the first of the morning stages and it came with a bit of a novelty. During the stage walkthrough, the navigators decided with David Metcalfe that they would throw in a Driver challenge just before the reverse winch wall. This would involve the navigator ‘breaking their leg’ and the driver having to do a compulsory wheel change all by themselves with no outside assistance. Navi’s were sworn to secrecy and the ensuing drama unfolded.


_MG_1851The Springs 4×4 Park entry of Emily Taylor and Katie Ireland got caught out with no tools or jack, which was loaned to Cahill in the Suzuki so they could carry out repairs and a DNF was awarded to the girls. Matt Holgate and Peter Ford in a GU Patrol also got caught out with one odd wheel nut on each wheel and no socket to fit the odd one, so another DNF was the result.


Once the Cahill Suzuki got onto the track, they were probably aware of what was going on, managed to change the wheel, but then rolled their truck on the downhill reverse winch. Luckily the damage was almost unnoticeable and they would continue the rest of the day easily. Kevin Gorrick and Scott Archer in the chopped down 80 series Landcruiser finished the tyre change without incident but then failed to finish on the final winch wall with battery charging problems.


All in all the first morning stage was an interesting and challenging run through the back section of the creek. Only three of the remaining eight teams finished the stage with Warnenken in the GU Patrol going the wrong way and skipping the last winch wall. McFarlane in the Landrover set the pace and won the stage putting them into the overall lead and setting the standard for what was left to come.


The rest of Saturday saw four more stages in the main gully and with a number of DNF’s in Stage 6. The day’s stages were not completed before night and a few teams needed to start the stages on Sunday Morning.


IMG_1721Another bright and sunny day greeted the teams on Sunday morning with a very early start to allow teams to catch up on the Saturdays missed stages. One of the highlights of the early start was the fantastic breakfast put on by the XWC team with John Leeson cooking up a storm on the BBQ.


Stage 9 was in the only stage in the western gully and introduced some different terrain which was not kind to Matt Holgate and Peter Ford in their GU Patrol. They jammed the Patrol between two trees just metres off the start line, breaking the driveline and finishing their attempt at a good result. A navi change for Cam Gale in the GU Patrol was required after Col failed to turn up for the first stage of the morning with rumours of late night Karaoke and no sleep circulating. Seasoned navi Stephen O’Donnell stepped in for Col to allow him to stay in the contention for the event.


With two stages left to run, the final stage would be the longest stage of the weekend with a possibility of at least five winch points. The first was easily driven by most teams and many of the teams also drove the second and fourth winch wall, but the third proved to be somewhat of a challenge with a punch card forward and reverse winch that became severely cut up after a few trucks had eroded the very top.


_MG_1898The second last winch wall was a tuff one, but Paul Semmens and Nathan Mills managed to drive it in their GU Patrol along with Taylor in her Patrol. The Cahill Suzuki ended this stage with another roll and a small fire that was quickly extinguished. Once again the damage was minor but another DNF did not bode well for their overall result for the weekend.


Once again Metcalfe and his team ran a great event with the Landrover of McFarlane and Calder taking the outright win. They had a faultless run with five stage wins over the weekend. Semmens and Mills had three stage wins in their GU Patrol handing them second place outright. Burrows and Crossley in the 75 series Landcruiser had a consistent run all weekend and finished in third outright.


Final Results


11 Andrew   McFarlane & Mark Calder Landrover QLD 934
7 Paul Semmens & Nathan Mills Nissan GU NSW 792
1 Dave Burrows & Howard Crossley Toyota 75 NSW 783
69 Cam Gale & Col Warneken Nissan GU NSW 677
8 Kevin Gorick & Scott Archer Toyota 60 NSW 500
3 Emily Taylor & Katie Ireland Toyota 75 QLD 478
9 Chris Cahill & Nick Bail Suzuki QLD 472
12 Matt Holgate & Peter Ford Nissan GU NSW 440
10 Phil Bell & Iain Hughes Toyota 40 NSW 177


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