BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship young gun Toby Whateley will have to wait a little longer before he can redeem himself after a tough 2019.
The South Australian had a disappointing season behind the wheel, with poor results at the Tatts Finke Desert Race and Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro cancelling out his Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 podium earlier in the year.
Having entered the 2019 season with the number two on his car after a brilliant season the year prior, Whateley revealed it was a season he was glad to put behind him.
“It wasn’t our year. St George went well but Finke didn’t go quite to plan as we were unlucky with wheel bearing issues and Rainbow was a tough race for everyone. It just wasn’t a good year,” Whateley said.
“I feel it was tough because there was a lot of pressure due to our 2018 form and because there was more pressure on us, there was more expectations to get results.
“With success comes that expectation and people were in my ear about where I should be and what I should be doing, but they don’t realise there is a lot behind the scenes that can go wrong.
“You never know what’s going to happen and I just needed to focus on doing the best I could, which I suppose got the better of me.
“Looking back at it now, having an off year was good because it immediately took the pressure off for this year and it made us reassess where we were at.
“We were thinking about purchasing a new car for 2020 and the way the year worked out justified the decision.”
With the assistance of navigator Simon Herrmann, Whateley eventually sold his old car and purchased a new set of wheels.
Soon enough, the brand new Can-Am arrived at their workshop earlier this year and the team began work on it in readiness for the St George 399, which would have taken place on the first weekend of April.
However, with the 2020 season on hold due the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a chance for the team to continue fine tuning the car for when the season eventually does begin.
“I’m a bit sad about not competing at the moment. I love going up to St George because it’s always a good event and a nice one for the car too. Hopefully we can still get there later this year,” Whateley added.
“Once we got the new car, we were going to rush the preparation for St George but because it got postponed, we decided to take our time and add an extra few things we normally wouldn’t have been able to. I suppose that is one benefit of the situation.
“As for preparation, we’re going to hold off taking the car out anymore until the first round is announced. We don’t want to do too much testing because it’s going to cost lots of money to run, as well as causing more wear and tear.
“The new model is fresh, a little bit faster and it has a slightly different design in the clutch. The car should be a big improvement on our performance when we do eventually get back and the testing we have already done seems to back that up.”