After two years competing in the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) Glenn Brinkman is ready for his biggest challenge yet.
The Queenslander is currently en route to Saudi Arabia where he will be tackling the iconic Dakar Rally early next year alongside regular navigator Dale Moscatt in the PH Sport Zephyr.
With Dakar one of the many items on his bucket list, Brinkman featured prominently in the AORC for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, gaining off road racing experience and learning the tricks of the trade in preparation for the famous event.
Not only did he gain a vast amount of experience over 11 events over the 24 months, but he also ended up finishing second overall for the SXS Motorsport Australia Championship last year and third this year.
Now, after multiple years in the making, Brinkman is ready for the next major step in his journey.
“I am a bit nervous to be honest. It’s been two years planning so knowing we are just a couple of weeks away has put me on the nervous side of things,” Brinkman said.
“It’s a huge investment physically, mentally, and financially, and although I don’t care too much about the money, I would love to finish it. 15 days in the car is a long time, and if I can finish it, then I will have reached the pinnacle of my motorsport career.
“For us, the goal is to finish. It is ticking a bucket list item of mine to complete Dakar, but Dale is also a big part of the equation. He wants to finish it just as much as I do. He has finished twice, so I want to keep his record in good tact.
“To finish this event, I think you need to have 50 per cent mental strength and 50 per cent physical strength, and my focus has been the mental side of things because I think Dale is fit enough.
“We also need to make sure we don’t finish too far down the order each day either. The last thing we want is to end each stage in the dark as that will make it significantly harder than it already is.”
While next year will be Brinkman’s first time competing in Dakar, it won’t be his first international event, with the KickAss Products driver having raced Rally Raids in Morocco last year and Abu Dhabi this year.
Brinkman heads into next year’s event with a mixed international record as well, having finished Morocco a fair way down the order after mechanical issues before a rollover 100km from the end in Abu Dhabi ruined what had been a solid outing.
Because of his mixed results, Brinkman has developed a good strategy for his Dakar attempt.
“I don’t need a trophy, so for an event like this, it’s about taking our time. We come from a rally background where the seconds count, but this time it’s about minutes and hours that you need to consider,” Brinkman added.
“If we are there abouts at the halfway mark, then I will have the confidence of getting a good result in the T3 class – although with that said, I am not going to check times. I am just going to focus on myself, hold position and soak it all in.”
“Dakar looks like it gets harder and harder each year and I am really looking forward to the 48-hour stage the most. It’s a 600km stage where you have no contact with the crew, you’re given army ration packs and a thermal blanket and you spend the night in the desert.
“I don’t think I have experienced anything like Dakar, not even in Abu Dhabi or Morocco, so it’s very exciting, and I can’t wait.”
The 2024 Dakar Rally takes place in Saudi Arabia on 5-19 January.