Ackroyd gearing up for Finke win with new Can Am

Glen Ackroyd’s hopes of winning the Transportable Shade Sheds Motorsport Australia SXS Championship at the Tatts Finke Desert Race have received a major boost with his new car being ready to run.

The New South Welshman acquired the new Can Am Maverick R prior to last month’s Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash but opted to wait until Finke to debut it as there was still work that needed to be done.

With new BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) regulations now in place to give the car the green light for competition, Ackroyd was looking forward to putting his upgrade to the ultimate test.

“I can’t wait to bring out my brand new Can Am Maverick for Finke as it’s much faster, longer, wider and handles much better than previous cars,” Ackroyd said.

“I also love that it has a gearbox instead of a belt, which has caused us lots of problems in previous years, so I think the car will be more reliable.

“With that said, we don’t know if we are going to have any issues with the gear box once we hit race mode as I have only done 45 kilometres in it – I guess we’ll just have to find out the hard way next month.

“I bought the car in late March but it just didn’t feel right to bring it to Pooncarie, so we pulled it to pieces to focus on Finke. With the new regulations coming into place earlier this month, I am very lucky the timing worked in my favour.

“To be honest, I have a lot of confidence heading into Finke. We are expecting to win SXS because we won’t have belt issues and a lot of it is now going to come down to the driver.”

Ackroyd’s grief with belts on his old Can-Am doesn’t come from nothing, with the talented steerer often breaking belts in AORC events – ultimately preventing him from getting results.

Pooncarie was another example of his progress being halted by mechanical woes.

Qualifying in Transportable Shade Sheds Prologue in third place, Ackroyd found himself on the side of the road on the first lap due to a blown belt, which saw him tumble down the order to 40th outright.

However, an aggressive Sunday morning charge saw him pass a dozen cars and produce some highly competitive times in the day’s first two laps, before making up another eight outright positions to eventually finish within the top 20 and fourth in the SXS Pro class.

“Overall, I was happy with the weekend and with the old car, but blowing a belt on Saturday afternoon really set us back,” Ackroyd added.

“The pace was there all weekend and although we took it a bit easy in Prologue, we still got third. But then we lost 10 minutes due to the belt and it became all about trying to recover time.

“Sunday’s recovery run went well and once we got past being stuck in the dust behind a few cars, it was good fun and we managed to make up 20 positions.

“So that gave us lots of confidence for Finke, which we are looking forward to.

“A big thanks to Fuchs Lubricants, Price’s Off Road and Innovative Interiors. Without them, we couldn’t have been who we are.”

The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place in Alice Springs and the Aputula Community on 7-10 June.

Feature Photo: Dan Thompson