Kalgoorlie ready for title decider

The BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) reaches its climax this weekend with the long-awaited national championship debut of the Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race.

A bumper field of 93 crews are entered in the event also serving as the Motorsport Australia WA Off Road Championship, however all eyes will be on just a few crews battling to win the outright championship.

Making the title race even more special is that whichever crew comes out on top on Sunday evening, a first-time champion will be crowned.

Standing in the way of these six crews and their maiden national title is a total of 363-kilometres, with crews to tackle three laps of the 121-kilometre course in the hopes of securing a win.

Leading the entry list are AORC frontrunners Jake and Kate Swinglehurst with the brother-sister combination still searching for that maiden podium as well as outright honours.

Just eight and half points behind Swinglehurst in second place is Ryan Taylor – the son of the late great Nev Taylor needs to finish six places ahead of Swinglehurst in order to win the title.

Photo: Gears and Wheels Photography

Navigator Kye Floyd sits a bit further behind Kate Swinglehurst on the navigator standings after missing out at Finke, however the Queenslander is still the next best contender.

Of course, four other crews outside of Swinglehurst and Taylor remain, mathematically, in contention for the title, with each having had consistent years.

Brent Smoothy, Brett Comiskey, Mel Brandle and Garry Turnbull are the four other drivers capable of leaving Kalgoorlie as an Australian champion – although a lot needs to swing their way for them to have any chance.

Click here to view the entry list.

For Turnbull, this year is the first time he has ever really been in the conversation for a national title, and even if the South Australian has the least chance of the lot, his aim is to just finish.

“We are really looking forward to the race, especially since it’s an exciting track,” Turnbull said.

“To me, it’s a lot like an old school track with lots of fast flowing corners and high-speed sections that are not super round. That is the stuff I enjoy.

Garry Turnbull. Photo: Bob Taylor

“It’s a great track to finish the season off and definitely looks like it will be one of the best of the lot.

“As for the title, we are pretty pleased at what we have achieved this year.

“In all the years I have been racing, I have never contested the national title as this is the first year doing the full season and I am really pleased with where we are sitting.

“For me to win, there would have to be a lot to go wrong, so realistically our plan is to finish all the laps and if someone has bad luck, maybe we could sneak a podium but it’s pretty unlikely – although you never know.”

In the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship, there is just as much on the line for four crews in contention, with first year rookie James Cook slightly ahead of Glen Akroyd in second, while just one point behind in third is experienced driver Greg Campbell.

The fourth placed Glenn Brinkman is the only other driver in serious contention as he sits just seven and a half points behind Cook.

Photo: Bob Taylor

Click here to view the standings.

With the event hosting both cars and bikes, it’s a favourable schedule for AORC crews with three laps to be spread across the Saturday and Sunday,

Before the race gets underway on Sunday morning, Friday’s Prologue session at 2pm local time will see crews get their ever-important qualifying position in the hopes of securing a dust free run.

On Saturday, just one lap awaits crews at 10am AWST time, while the second lap will commence at 7am on Sunday morning, setting up the final lap of a huge 2022 season for 1pm local time.

Click here to view the schedule.

Spectators will get plenty of opportunities to watch the event as well, with day passes starting from $10 and weekend passes starting from $20. All children under 12 get free access.

Fans unable to make it to Western Australia will be able to keep up to date with live results via the AORC’s social channels throughout the weekend, while an extended highlights show will be streamed on 7plus and broadcast on 7mate shortly after the event.

The Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race takes place in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, on 21-23 October.

Feature Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia