Roydn Bailey will sport a different look in 2022 with the SXS star to make the step up to a Pro Buggy this season.
Having campaigned a SXS for the previous four years, with the major highlight being an outright runner-up finish in the 2019 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC), Bailey decided it’s time to upgrade.
The South Australian is yet to win an AORC round throughout his career but has been extremely consistent and has often been in the running for the SXS class honours.
The decision to switch to a Pro Buggy comes after another interrupted season both personally and for the championship as a whole with only two rounds officially taking place due to COVID-19.
At both St George and Finke, Bailey started off well and found himself towards the front of class in each race – however he failed to finish strong due to mechanical issues.
In the season opener, he broke a wheel bearing midway through the event and was forced to nurse the car in the final sections and lost his podium place in the process.
It was a similar story in Finke as he was on track for a class top five place before breaking his front diff 70km from the finish line, which like St George, saw him drop down the order.
While there isn’t a direct correlation between his tough season and the purchase of a new car, Bailey was hopeful that the upgrade would see an improvement in performances.
“I think as a whole, our 2021 season was just as solid as our 2019 campaign, but we didn’t get a chance to run at our more favoured events like Loveday and Rainbow,” Bailey said.
“Despite the results suggesting we had a worse year – personally I think we had a good year and I was happy with how we went.
“I am looking forward to the new challenge of running a Pro Buggy from 2022 onwards though. We wanted to have a crack at outright race wins and we know how good Pro Buggies are, so hopefully this will be a positive change.
“I think we should be competitive. If we consistently run in the top five or 10, then I will be really satisfied, especially since it has a different driving style.
“Right now, the Element buggy is being built by the Habys, who know how to build a good car, so I am confident the car will be very strong.”
With Bailey now gearing up for a season in a new car, his old SXS buggy will be inherited by his son Lachlan, who has enjoyed plenty of time as a navigator.
Although he has more experience on a Quad bike, having won Finke in previous years, and as navigator, Lachlan doesn’t have much seat time in a car.
For that reason, Bailey will still go up to St George for Lachlan, even if his own car is not ready.
“There are a few possibilities floating around at this point in time and I am unsure as to whether I will be able to get to St George or not,” Bailey added.
“With that said, even if the buggy is not ready, we will send Lachie so he can get some more experience and fit the criteria required to compete at Finke.
“Hopefully the car is ready for St George, but if not, it will 100 per cent be ready for Finke and I am really excited for it too.”
The 2022 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship begins with the Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 in the Southeast Queensland town of St George on 18-20 March.