2006 Australian Off Road Championship


Pickering's current Pajero NP model
Pickering's current Pajero NP model

27th July, 2006

Although two rounds of the 2006 Australian Off Road Championship (Mildura in August and Goondiwindi in October) are still to be contested, Mitsubishi is quietly confident that a sixth Class Seven title in a row is just about a certainty, thanks once again to the sheer determination of Townsville-based motor dealer Geoff Pickering. Driving the current Pajero NP model, the 64 year old veteran competitor is indeed "almost" beyond reach in the national classification after having scored maximum points in the three events raced so far this season.

Mitsubishi's supremacy was once again demonstrated at the Pines Enduro, which took place under atrocious weather conditions near the South Australian town of Millicent. As was the case in 2005, Pickering finished first in class and 19th overall in the cold, wet, windy and muddy event, which was won outright - amid much controversy - by the off road purpose-built Class One buggy of Eric Phillips. So demanding were race conditions that only 30 of the 74 crews that started the event covered the entire nine lap distance.

"The driving rain made racing conditions quite horrendous", observed Geoff Pickering's long time navigator Glenn Watson afterwards. "Nevertheless, the car performed brilliantly as usual", he stated. "Our Falken Tyres did their job to perfection and, all in all, we could not have asked for a better result considering the conditions."

Geoff Pickering was equally happy with his success. "It was a very demanding event, very testing, very challenging", he conceded. "The race conditions were very difficult, the constant rain had made the track extremely slippery and unpredictable." Geoff added that after the hot sands of the Finke a few weeks before, to drive in cold mud was truly going "from one extreme to another."

"But our Pajero revelled in those very dissimilar conditions, and its overall performance was quite amazing he enthused."

More astounding is the fact that the team is still racing the very car that started it all way back in 2001: the legendary Pajero NP. "Race after race", Geoff declared, "we have realised how strong and reliable our Pajero was, and we have increasingly asked more and more from it, always with a positive outcome in the end."

"As a result", he confessed, "we are expecting more from our car today than we were five years ago, and we always get what we want from it, whatever the racing and weather conditions." Geoff also noted that "the level of competition has constantly improved since 2001, and we have therefore continued developing the car in order to stay one step ahead of the opposition", something that has been achieved now for six years in a row "through very efficient team work", he concluded.

Geoff Pickering

Geoff Pickering the 64 year old veteran Townsville based motor dealer, driving the current Pajero NP model, has almost clinched the 2006 Australian Off Road Championship with two rounds still to run.

Other Mitsubishi news: here.

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