AORC champions declared after dramatic Kalgoorlie

The official point score for the 2022 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) has been released, confirming this year’s outright and class champions.

In a fitting end to what was a thrilling season, October’s Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race saw its fair share of heartbreak for some and elation for others.

The final round of the year adopted a points-and-a-half system, which had an impact on The Kalgoorlie Desert Race winner Beau Robinson to move all the way up to 11th place overall despite only competing in two events.

Most notably, Ryan Taylor and Kye Floyd were crowned overall champions after a second-place finish behind Beau Robinson and Jake Clucas – a DNF to Jake and Kate Swinglehurst gifting Taylor and Floyd well deserved titles in both the driver and navigator standings.

The Swinglehurst’s retirement saw Jake fall to fourth outright and Kate to third outright on the co-driver standings.

Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia

It also had ramifications in the Pro Buggy Class title fight, with Taylor leapfrogging Jake for top honours, while Floyd edged out Kate in the navigator’s standings by just two points.

Finishing second on the outright standings thanks to a fifth place in Kalgoorlie was Brent Smoothy, while fellow trophy truck pilot Brett Comiskey’s consistent form saw him end the year in third.

Interestingly, Comiskey may have missed out a runner-up placing for the season, but he ended up finishing above Smoothy to win the Extreme 2WD Class as a result of a better collection of section results over the course of the year.

Both driver’s regular co-drivers also had contrasting results, with Smoothy’s navigator Reese Burgess finishing second on the outright standings on top of winning the Extreme 2WD class, while Corey Cooper finished second in the class but fifth in the outright standings after missing the final round.

Rounding out the outright top five for the year was Garry Turnbull with a second consecutive podium in Western Australia – daughter Tamara Turnbull slotting into fourth outright ahead of Cooper in the navigators.

Click here to view all the standings for the 2022 AORC season.

Finishing the year in sixth outright was South Australian Mel Brandle, who suffered heartbreak in the final section of the season finale – when an eventual DNF denied his chances of taking Prolite victory over Ally Howells.

Howells, who didn’t attend Kalgoorlie, ended up as the Prolite champion by just 25.5 points with Brandle needing to have completed the final section in order to secure enough points.

Photo: Bob Taylor Photography

Howell’s navigator Sarah Corrigan was far more comfortable in winning the Prolite Class for co-drivers with the second placed Liam Brandle 642 points behind.

Howells and Corrigan weren’t the only ones to miss Kalgoorlie and still win a title as Rodney and Kody Visser accumulated enough points across the three previous rounds to win the Sportslite class on both the drivers and co-drivers standings.

It was a similar story in the Performance 2WD and Extreme 4WD driver and co-driver classes as Chris Pickert and Bryan Brown won the Performance 2WD class and Joshua Nurrish and Ben Jones took out the Extreme 4WD class despite not attending the final round.

In the Production 4WD class, Walkinshaw Performance’s Warren Luff has put an end to 13-time champion Geoff Pickering’s dominance of the class.

Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia

A second place at Kalgoorlie was enough for Luff to win the drivers’ class championship over the veteran, who did not attend the final round.

However due to the Bathurst 1000 regular having had different co-drivers throughout the season, Pickering’s navigator in Dylan Watson still picked up top spot.

In the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship, a dominant performance from James Cook and Mitch Aucote saw their victory in Kalgoorlie solidify their championship win.

Taking out second place for the year was Glenn Brinkman after a well-deserved third place. Brinkman was also aided by Glenn Ackroyd, who had multiple issues throughout the final event, which saw him slot into second.

Despite the pressure applied from Eden Evans and Shannons Jennings, as well as multiple issues in the final round, John Wisse and Emily Brandle were able to hold onto their SXS Sport lead and finish 2022 as champions.

Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia