Aron Elliot has won the Thornleigh Car Club’s 2020 Dirt N Dust Challenge Khanacross after coming out on top from a tight, event-long battle with Dave Masing.
Thirty hopefuls took part in the nine-test event, but it all came down to the last test where Elliot just held on for victory after Masing had posted a faster time in four of the final five tests.
Remarkably, Elliot only won one test throughout the day, but it would ultimately prove the difference as there was less than three seconds separating the two front runners come the end of the event.
It could have been a completely different story for the top two if Martin Dal-Santo didn’t miss the final two tests, with the Impreza driver having won all but one test until the the final stages of the event.
Getting out to a comfortable lead within the opening three tests, Dal-Santo only just lost the fourth to Elliot and looked certain for victory after going on to win the next three tests.
However, missing the final two, Dal-Santo settled for seventh place outright as Elliot charged home to victory after Masing was unable to catch him .
Finishing in third place and making it an all Subaru podium was Riley Walters, with the teenager also ending the weekend with a test win of his own and the fastest junior title.
Rounding out the top five behind the fourth ranked Shaun Dal-Santo was the only other test winner of the day and non-Subaru in the top seven, Bethany Cullen.
Behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Evo, Cullen was outright fastest on the second last test and pipped Elliot’s father Garry for fifth on the final stage, confirming her top five finish and cementing herself as the fastest woman on the day.
However at the end of the day, the event ultimately belonged to the winner after the dramatic finish and despite winning the event, Elliot was just happy to be out there competing.
“It feels really good to have the win but at the end of the day, I am just at these events to have some fun with my mates and my dad,” Elliot said.
“Results are nice and all, but grassroots motorsport is about having fun with likeminded people and testing your own ability as a driver and I think I had a pretty good day.
“I didn’t know what the times were for much of the day, but I knew I was a bit ahead of David for the first half of the event. However with the conditions the way they were and him in a turbo, it was always going to be difficult.
"I was confident in my performance, but I wasn’t sure what he was capable of as his car is very good. It’s a shame about Martin but unfortunately, that is how motorsport can be sometimes.
“I was also lucky enough to get some events in before lockdown happened, as well as getting some in after restrictions in NSW were eased, but at this point, I can safely say I'm truly back into it and the cobwebs are fully off, so I am just raring to continue competing.”
The Thornleigh Car Club’s next scheduled event is a track day at Track Day at Luddenham Raceway.