Camilleri charges to career-best finish

After a disappointing start to the 2023 Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC), Kye Camilleri bounced back in style during the Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash.

Starting the year off with a DNF at the Markwell Group Gold City 450, Camilleri picked up a career-best P10 finish during the second round, sky rocketing him up the standings to 20th overall.

His charge in the SXS Pro class also was evident as he finished the race in second place behind new class leader Glenn Brinkmann, which also elevated him to second on the standings.

Remarkably his strong result at Pooncarie came down to two important factors – a clean drive and an efficient race strategy.

“We were really happy with Pooncarie,” Camilleri said.

“We had a good team strategy and a good reactive approach, especially when everyone seemed to be running out of fuel. We basically backed off, put the car in ECO mode and cruised to the finish line.

“In that final section, we were in fifth overall but then all the fuel issues so it was a bit of a surprise when we came out second in class.

“While getting the great result did surprise me a little bit, I always sort of knew I could do well in the class based on how well I have done in the state championship.

“With that said, it was still a special feeling and one that I won’t forget.”

Photos: Dan Thompson

The result in Pooncarie did wonders for Camilleri’s confidence and at just 17-years-old, the future looks bright for this talented steerer.

Having now notched up his first proper result, Camilleri will look at continuing his momentum at next month’s iconic Tatts Finke Desert Race.

From running in Queensland state rounds to the biggest event on the off road calendar, the teenager was excited to race.

“Last year I did a few rounds of the Queensland State Championship, which included a combination of short and long courses,” Camilleri explained.

“But as soon as I was old enough to do all the national rounds, I entered the AORC and now I can’t wait to have a crack at Finke.

“Now that it’s going ahead, I am excited to get out there. The goal will be to finish in the top three for the class, which will be a challenge because there are many great drivers.

“A week after Pooncarie, we discovered our buggy was misfiring on two cylinders, so we changed spark plugs and that seemed to fix it.

“Our latest shakedown, we did some clutch testing and there were no problems so now we’re ready to tackle Finke.

“I am also looking forward to seeing all the people who come and the general event atmosphere, so it would be amazing to finish and to finish well.”

The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place in Alice Springs on 9-11 June.