Author Archives: smuracing

Last race for 2018…..

SMU Racing is looking forward to what will be the team’s last raced for 2018.  The SMU #7 Jimco will head to the Teagle Excavation ARB Pines Enduro this weekend in Millicent South Australia.  Unfortunately the #75 Tatum of Justin Anderson will not make the race after competing at Rainbow not that long ago.

The Pines Enduro wil be over just under 400km through the Pine forests in what is normally great racing with wheel to wheel action.  The short course on the Saturday is always a great spectacle for the big crowds that get there with cars starting two at a time as they compete for the honour of starting first (from last) the next day.  We enjoy the unique first qualify starts from last on the Sunday which provide for some great close racing and the crowd get to see some close battles rage as the race cars come through the infield from the forest.

The racing again should again be close this year with again a strong field entered.  SMU Racing will be hoping to go one better after coming second by an agonising five seconds in 2017 after a power steering pump caught fire 120kms from home.  It was an enthralling finish that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Looking forward to seeing friends and off road racing supporters at the track on Friday night before racing gets underway on the Saturday.

 

Safe travels to SA and see you at the track

 

GO SMU!

 

 

SMU Racing adds some firepower to 2018 and beyond

SMU Racing has added some firepower to the team as it expands to two cars which debuted at the Tatts Finke Desert Race for 2018. The team is proud to announce that Justin Anderson in his #75 Tatum will now form part of SMU Racing’s assault going forward.

Both vehicles will race in Pro Class with Justin running a Tatum powered by a twin turbo Nissan VQ35.

#7 Driver Matt Hanson commented, “We are super pumped to have Justin and Owen as part of the team. We have all been mates since the beginning of time and I have been chipping away at him for years now to become part of SMU Racing, but when he actually decided to come across we were all very excited.

“Ace has been a super driver over a long period of time with many race victories under his belt. We have all been racing together since the eighties, so to have the ability to enter races with a real live chance of having two SMU Racing cars on the podium is very exciting”, added Matt

Likewise Justin was looking forward to the #75 Tatum donning the SMU colours and livery going forward,” H and I have been mates for a long time and we plan to do a lot of racing together so it made sense that we get the cars done the same and try and make a bit of assault on races under the SMU Racing banner.  Hopefully we can get some finishes and some results in the process!”.

The team have just come back from Alice Springs in the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race. It was a tough initation for the team with both cars having issues.  Matt was chasing issues from the day the team arrived.  Lucky to get the car on the start line, electrical gremlins cut into valuable suspension set up time in the lead up.  After starting from position 6th, the car was running fourth before surcoming  a cooked alternator at the 185km mark.  Special thanks wheeler we were in Alice to Richie Hayes, Ken and the team at KC Auto Electrics, George Apted for recovery, refreshments and moral support after the breakdown and OBR crew for more after race moral support/therapy!

After a faultless lead into the race Ace struck dramas in prologue with turbo issues.  Disappointing after some strong sectionals.  Able to get on top of this issue, starting out of position 30 on the Sunday,  Justin and Owen had made a hugely positive start and were on the road up to 15th. The Tatum was handling exceptionally well with the twin turbo Nissan on song. The SMU Tatum had passed a number of cars before a driveshaft issue put the team out of the race at the 140km mark. Back to Alice Springs for the #75 crew.  Thanks to OBR for assisting in recovery and after race refreshments / therapy!

 

Next race on the Agenda is Rainbow for SMU #75 whilst SMU #7 is going to undertake some suspension testing with a few wholesale changes being made over the coming month before determining the car’s next race.

 

Thanks to Show’n’Go photography for some great shots.  Video shortly to follow.

GO SMU!

 

Mickey Thompson and SMU Racing – a partnership that continues to deliver results

When the SMU Racing Jimco was getting reassembled after an excursion through the trees at the 2015 Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro, a number of significant changes were made to the SMU Jimco as racing life was contemplated.

One of the most crucial of these contemplated changes was the initial trial, and then resolute adoption of the Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3 tyres.

“We were wanting to trial the MTZ P3s to see if there were any significant benefits over the tyres that we were running at the time. Having tried a number of tyres over 30 plus years of racing, we had found that none had really stood out as excellent and a lot stood out as not that great”, said Matt Hanson driver of SMU Racing car #7.

“The team first trialled the Mickey Thompsons at Tyrrell Downs in a club race that was the first race back for the team after the accident at Pines. What was stood out was two fold. The grip out of corners was immediately noticeable with greatly reduced wheel spin as a result of better traction. This allowed the then new Shane Wilson Completion Engine Ford Twin turbo V6 Eco boost to get the power to the ground”, said Matt

“The other striking observation we saw straight away was the ability of the tyre to pull the car up due to this traction. This allowed the car to break a lot deeper going into corners.”

Both of these advantages made an instant impact on the timesheet and in a world where a number of off road tyres feel the same, the Mickey Thompson stood out straight away. SMU Racing won the race and looked forward to the next race at Pines where the Mickeys again were on the SMU Jimco.

After 420 gruelling kilometres at Pines shortly thereafter, same impact with grip and braking and same result with the team coming away with the win again. Two from two and the Mickey Thompsons were doing the job!

It is fair to say that SMU Racing has been converted and are now a firm believer in the Mickey Thompson product. Since those initial two races the team have won more events and prologues, with no punctures adding further weight to the performance that these tyres have added to the car. The team is proud to partner with Mickey Thompson Australia and love being involved with the band of Off Road racers that race on Mickey Thompson tyres around the country.

“We think the support and focus that Mickey Thompson Australia has put behind Australian Off Road racing has been nothing short of spectacular. Jeff Newick and his team are to be commended on getting behind the sport one hundred per cent. The rise of the Mickey Thompson brand been universal and I don’t think there has been such a profound change in the off road racing tyre landscape that I can remember. Having the best tyres in the MTZ P3s obviously helps and I think the number of podiums over the last few years with cars running MTZ P3s is testament to the performance of these tyres”, said Hanson

SMU Racing is on its way to the Finke Desert Race where the team is hoping to start the weekend in good fashion on Saturday morning in Prologue. The team’s Mickey Thompson tyres are sure to be spinning hard and doing their job!

Flexicut Engineering continuing to help SMU Racing do the impossible!

Flexicut Engineering based in Dandenong, Victoria have been helping SMU Racing for a number of years now with engineering jobs that need specialized and precision expertise. From CNC turning and milling, to design to CAD and fabrication, Robbie O’Brien and the team at Flexicut is a one-stop shop for all of your engineering projects.

“There have been a number of jobs over they years where we were at a complete dead-end (some would be laughing as that isn’t hard when it comes to my engineering knowledge!). But seriously we have had some real challenges on projects like the design and build of a plenum manifold and various modifications to driveshafts”, commented Matt.

Robbie and the team are absolute specialists and make it look easy. They work with a number of the Supercar teams that is another indicator that they are leaders in this very specialized field.

“We cannot thank the team at Flexicut enough for their help on some of these difficult projects which they always deliver on. They would have to be one of the easiest and friendliest teams to deal with and absolute number one when it comes to understanding quickly the task at hand”, said Matt.

Flexicut are based at 37 Stephen St Dandenong, proudly Australian, utilise advanced manufacturing methods, short lead times and a competitive pricing structure to provide an efficient service of superior quality and absolutely committed to:

• Guaranteed same day quote service on most jobs
• No additional costs for material and process handling
• Company logos can be engraved on products for a minimum fee
• Willingness to work through special requirements on jobs and pricing structures on quotes
• Passion and commitment to providing you with an excellent service

SMU Racing is very proud of this longstanding partnership and thank Flexicut in helping them get to the start line of the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race.

Livid Lighting – Lighting up SMU Racing in 2018

The SMU Racing team is excited to announce Livid Lighting as exclusive Lighting sponsor for the team for the 2018 Australian Off Road season. Livid Lighting is also now incorporates the Peak Lighting brand who successfully partnered with SMU racing in the 2014 – 2016 seasons.

SMU Racing team Driver Matt Hanson was excited to announce this new partnership on the eve of the upcoming 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race.

“Livid Lighting are known for their exceptional LED lighting and to have them on board the SMU Racing Jimco will not only assist us with vision and letting upcoming vehicles know we are coming up but they look awesome and have really added to the look of our race car. We will be running a set of Xplorer driving lights as well as an amber Hornet LED lightbar which mean people will know we are out there!” said Matt.

“Additionally we will be fitting our transporter and support vehicles with the very best Livid Lighting LED lights so that our night vision turns into day as we travel to Off Road races around Australia during the year”, said Matt.

Dan Lindley, Director at Livid Lighting Australia, said the sponsorship is an important part of Livid’s Lighting’s marketing strategy to increase national brand awareness and to showcase their product to the most hard core of off road enthusiasts at the track and around the country as they watch the AORC and ARB series televised during 2018 including the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert race.

“Australian Off Road racing is in an exciting phase and it is exciting to partner with one of the country’s leading teams. We look forward to the SMU Racing Jimco standing out from the pack with our new Xplorer and Hornet LED lights, said Dan.

SMU Racing is in the final stages of preparing for the Tatts Finke Desert Race where the team is hoping to build on some promising signs at St George 399.

Check out some of the action from St George…..

 

Keep checking in with our website on the road to Finke as we keep updating the team’s lead in to the event including the biggest SMU racing news since inception in 1983…..stay tuned!

GO SMU!

 

HJC Helmets again proud to be partnering with SMU Racing for the 2018 Off Road season

 The SMU Racing team is proud to announce HJC Helmets as Exclusive Helmet sponsor for the team for the 2018 Australian Off Road Championship season. This is now a six-year relationship with HJC Australia although SMU Racing’s relationship with HJC as a brand goes back a lot longer.

SMU Racing team Driver Matt Hanson was elated to announce the continuation of this longstanding partnership on the eve of the upcoming season for a product that the team have long used and trusted.

“HJC Helmets are a product we have used since 2003, and to partner again in 2018 is very exciting. HJC helmets have long been known as one of the leading helmet manufacturers in the world and to have them again with SMU Racing will ensure that we are equipped with the very best in safety. This year Navigator Nigel Pendlebury and I will be wearing the newly released AR10-IIIHJC helmets. These are super lightweight, super strong and have the latest in helmet ventilation systems. A superior helmet and given they protect an important asset, not worth skimping on” said Matt Hanson.

“The HJC helmets have just come in from KT Autosports and they look fantastic. They are unbelievably comfortable and extremely light, a huge help given the conditions we race the SMU Racing Jimco in around Australia”, said Matt.

Kristopher Trotter, Owner of KT Autosports who is the exclusive Australian distributor for HJC Helmets, was equally excited to continue the partnership with SMU Racing on the eve of the upcoming Australian Off Road Championship season opener. Kristopher said the sponsorship is an important part of KT Autosports strategy to increase national brand awareness to what is already a very well known and trusted brand amongst helmets worldwide.

“We actually contacted Matt and the team back in 2013 as we noticed they were already using HJC. Matt was a big believer in the brand and acknowledged that safety and comfort together were so important in Off Road and the main reason they were using HJC. It is a longstanding relationship with the team that we are equally proud of. SMU Racing have done a terrific job showcasing HJC Helmets and when things occasionally go wrong, like can happen in all forms of motorsport, we were very happy that the boys walked away from their big crash unscathed at Pines in 2015 with the helmets doing exactly what they were designed to do, said Kris.

“Keeping the team safe and comfortable in the newly released AR10-III helmets is paramount and the boys were thrilled when the newly released helmets were tried on for the first time. For anyone who is looking for HJC Helmets, which are ideally designed for Off Road, you can check out our website at www.ktautopsports.com.au, Face book at KTautosports or contact me direct on 0448 568 570.” said Kris.

SMU Racing look forward to Australian Off Road Championship Round 1 at St George this weekend.

Off Roading as we know it!

The 2018 Off road season has got off to a good start at the Mellool short course race run by the Sea Lake Off Road Club.  A great event and all boxes ticked as we head to St George.

Competitors were greeted with a hot and dusty day but a superb off road track that lay ahead with a little bit of everything.  Hard ground, soft terrain, dust, trees, straights, dust, whoops, long sweepers, dust, traffic and more dust!  An excellent track where drivers had to be on their game and seriously what off road racing is all about!

SMU Racing came away with a win closely followed by Glenn Owen and Cam McClelland.  Most important was that the car had no issues and new navigator Nigel Pendlebury settled in for the year ahead, enjoying the ride and such a great experience to have him and the family and friends as part of the day.

Aspecial thank you to the Sea Lake Off Road Club for such a great event, the Monk family for the use of this fantastic track which they generously donated for the day and such good off road people, and competitors on the day under which were trying conditions at time, but made easier by everybody looking out as we made our around the course – that you.

A great job by the team led by Tim Collard where the car performed faultlessly all race and ably assisted by Shane Wilson, Johnny Webster,  Nigel Pendlebury and the whole family and crew in the paddock on the day.  It must be said that attending races where the whole family can be on hand and part of the day is such a great concept and a definite preference for when looking at taking away the family to go racing – well done SLORC!  Everybody had such a good time because of this.

Thanks to Tania Pendlebury Photography and Show ‘ n ‘ Go Photography for the pics

Lastly thank you to our Partners, who without their assistance we could not go racing.  Our Partners only provide the very best in product.  SMU Racing have been in this game for 34 years now and have done enough ‘’testing’’ to know what is the real stuff and what is not.  Off Roading is a hard game let alone doing it with inferior product.  Endurance, safety and speed is key to staying on the track and staying at the front which we have found is far more enjoyable than the alternative!  Do it right…

A massive Thank You to:

  • Shane Wilson Competition Engines
  • Dutton Garage
  • HJC Helmets
  • Racer Imports
  • Albins Off Road gear
  • Mickey Thompson Tyres
  • AVR Performance
  • Quickbitz.com.au
  • Xtreme DI
  • Dynamic Wheels and Tyres
  • Race Paint
  • Flexicut Engineering
  • Jimco
  • offroadracing.com.au

We look forward to St George which is Round 1 of the Australian Off Road Championship before we see a quick turn around for Round 2, Tatts Finke Desert Race 2018.  A busy two months, but time that the team look forward to with great anticipation.

We are excited about St George and bringing our Quan!

GO SMU 2018!

Tick tock……

Happy New Year from the Team at SMU Racing, we trust that everyone is rested and looking forward to the year of Off Road Racing ahead!

Sheds will be going into overdrive at the moment with Portland and Griffith not far away.  Unfortunately we cannot attend these events this year, with Mellool the first planned event for the SMU Jimco for 2018.  All going well, the car will head to St George before heading  to Finke Desert Race where we will be hoping to get a palatable result compared to the last two attempts where we have had 2 DNFs in Prologue!

Nigel Pendlebury is welcomed to the team in the Navigators seat for 2018 and he brings a wealth of experience in Off Road.  Back in the day Nigel (235) and Matt (284) had some exciting battles in Super 1650 class, so we look forward to the season ahead with Nigel as part of the team.

We will have more updates as we get closer to Mellool including some exciting team news which will make 2018 that little bit better!

As ever we are grateful to the support we receive from our partners with whom without, we would not be racing:

  • Dutton Garage
    Shane Wilson Competition Engines
    Racer Imports
    Albins Transmissions
    HJC Helmets
    Mickey Thompson Tyres
    Dynamic Wheels and Tyres
    Flexicut Engineering
    Jimco
    Race Paint
  • Offroadracing.com.au

To the team Tim Collard, Shane Wilson and Johnny Webster working towards getting the car on the track for our first race – thank you, we are not far away!

Close but no Cigar!

SMU Racing went to the 40th anniversary Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro in the hope of adding some trophies from this milestone race. Since the arrival of the new SMU Jimco in 2011 the team has a proud record at this race and it was a highly anticipated race for the team given the promising signs shown this year.

Prologue started well with a 4th in the slippery conditions. The Heats which were run well and had the large crowd entertained as a result of good close racing and, despite having the trusty turning brake off in the drivers hand half way round(!), we were able to manage a second overall behind Danny Brown and post the quickest lap for the Heats.

Sunday was a follow on from Saturdays weather with four seasons continuing to present in one day. Starting from the fourth last row on the grid the race got underway and was manic from the get go. Despite spinning twice on the first lap the team were well placed after Lap one passing 39 of the 65 odd cars and posting the quickest first lap. Difficult conditions due to weather and short gap intervals between cars meant that the racing was fairly willing and many bunches of cars racing together. One small issue was that our radiator got completely covered in with mud which caused some increases in engine temperature – nothing the navigator couldn’t shovel off with his spare hand!

The team were in front of Rana Horan 2min 31secs at the end of Heat 1 and after some near perfect driving conditions increased this lead to 7mins 6 secs in front of Tyler Owen at the end of Heat 2. Car was perfect, the Shane Wilson Competition Engine Ford Ecoboost was running faultlessly, the Mickey Thompsons 100% doing their job, Albins transmission not missing a beat as per usual and the HJC Helmets keeping the drivers heads safe and cool in trying conditions – visibility no issues.

With 35kms to go on Lap 5 the SMU Jimco lost power steering. This was like the Millennium Falcon losing its hyperdrive engine! The team decided to continue on to see if they could get the car home. Good decision as little known to the crew the back of the car was on fire with the power steering fluid going up in flames! Luckily the well insulated Pines mud did its job ensuring no damage was done to the SMU Jimco. Two tonne of car and deep ruts on every corner was providing bone crushing feedback through the steering wheel and had the team using up every inch of track and some to keep the car in a straight line coming home. Speeds were reduced to cope with this and obviously not come into trees (many near misses) and other cars which was difficult.

We headed into the last lap hopeful of being able to finish but knowing that Tyler Owen would at some stage soon be bearing down on us. We got to the road home section before he put the blinker on but we knew he had to put 36 seconds on us to win. As we were heading home the heavens opened, and we thought / hoped (!) this may slow Tyler down. We were still in third gear down the straights as the car was impossible to keep in a straight line. Coming into the arena we could see the car in front and doing our best to get there but the drivers arm were starting to show massive signs of not co operating!

SMU Racing crossed the line thinking we had not done enough. We were right – the final margin five seconds over close to 500kms! Great ending for the crowd, a massive congratulations to Tyler Owen and his team for the overall win – a huge result. As they say that is Off Road Racing!

Congratulations to Danny Brown and George Apted for winning the Series Championship – very deserving and a great team and great blokes! To all the Class champions a big well done also as it doesn’t matter what class you are in, they are always hard to win and a big achievement.

A big thanks to the team on the day in the pits as well as Leigh Wells who jumped back in the navigators seat for this race – hopefully the demons from 2015 are now exorcised for you as well!!!!!

Thanks to Steve Chapple Photography and Turn 8 Photography for the shots as well as the awesome video footage shot by Michael Hurren and Randall Kilner and their crew – great footage!

Side note on what we think is now becoming a bigger issue facing the sport is the rocks that the cars are spitting out the back. Second year running we have received a large rock into the cabin from a vehicle in front and we hear that this happens a lot. Nobody’s fault – it does happen a bit though. Last year we got one that the driver managed to deflect with a hand (injured hand as a result) and this year the driver copped a large rock to the chest. We will be wearing chest plates going forward – we think this is the best way of dealing with this issue given any mesh screens we think would fill with mud and decrease vision even further.

That is the end of the racing season for the SMU Racing team. A promising and enjoyable year.

A big thank you to SMU Racing sponsors and partners who without their help we could not go racing:

Dutton Garage
Shane Wilson Competition Engines
Racer Imports
Albins Transmissions
HJC Helmets
Mickey Thompson Tyres
Dynamic Wheels and Tyres
Flexicut Engineering
Jimco
Race Paint
offroadracing.com.au

And lastly to the team Tim Collard, Shane Wilson and Johnny Webster thank you for the year and support and some good times ahead in 2018!

See you at the track next year!

RAINBOW MUD!

Nice to get some time in the car but ultimately well short of where we wanted to get to for the weekend – these words summed up SMU Racing’s adventure at the 2017 Rainbow Desert Enduro.

It was good to go to a race closer to home, which was part of the attraction given our recent 800 metres outing at Finke Desert Race, after a Direct injection issue that could not be rectified at the track.

The heavens opened on Friday night at scrutineering which was disappointing given the amount of effort that had gone into the event. Still everyone appeared to enjoy themselves though as the #7 SMU Jimco was on display, tucked neatly under it’s cover, shielded away from the harsh elements.

Josh Trifetti was in the hot seat for the weekend and enjoyed the proceedings as they unfolded over the weekend. But the eyes of the offroad world were on our mate Trav Robinson from OBR, hoping he could get his maiden AORC title. Unfortunately as this sport can only do – good old off road racing was at its ugliest cruel for the weekend, and denied Trav his chance of taking home the AORC 2017 title.

Prologue was underway and for some reason we were experiencing an electrical gremlin that kept cutting the car out around the course. Prologuing second, which was good given the issues, we then came second in the top ten with again the same electrical issues frustratingly not allowing the car to get into any sort of rhythm with the car cutting out no less than 11 times.

The SMU team were desperately trying to fix the issue which centred around the PDM and with three minutes’ till go time, we were able to get the car started and to the line next to Shannon Rentsch for the two car take off – the team only hoped that the issue had been fixed….

After initially winning the start Shannon got up the inside before the first corner and we ate Shannon’s mud and sand for the first part of Lap One. When Shannon overshot a corner, it was a chance to get in front. Some great clean racing with no dust and plenty of passing room meant that it was a close battle for the first lap with Shannon 3 seconds behind us as we went past the post for the first time. We were having a ball. Most pleasing was our electrical issue had been solved.

This battle continued on the second lap on what was a great track but made quite difficult due to the slippery conditions that the rain had created. Some of the straights on roads (that resembled ice skating rinks!) at 230kms plus an hour were interesting to day the least! With 9kms to go to the end of Lap two we heard the deathly CV rattle from the back of the car which promptly ended our race not long after hearing this ugly sound. Getting out of the car and expecting Shannon at any moment to pass though it was not until a little bit later that our mate Beau Robinson came through. Turned out Shannon had clipped a tree probably not that far behind us – fun racing that ended in tears for both teams!

Good to get at least a couple of fun laps in and good to see that we think that we have solved our issues from Finke which is great. Looking forward to our last race for the year – the Teagle Excavations ARB Pines Enduro – the 40th anniversary race which is very exciting exciting for the Millicent Sand Buggy Club. We won the 35th race so we will be trying our best this year to take home some silverware from the 40th event in what should be another great field. Such a great effort to have run 40 consecutive events.

Leigh Wells is on navigating duties for Pines and will be nice to see Borgy back in the car!

Looking forward to seeing hopefully a big turnout in a few weeks – see you in the forest!

GO SMU!