It was a blockbuster year for the Extreme 2WD in the Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) as two trophy trucks made up the outright top three at the end of the season.
Battling for honours were two highly skilled operators as West Australian Brent Smoothy edged out Brett Comiskey for second place behind eventual champion, Ryan Taylor.
However, when it came to the class itself, it was Comiskey who ended up winning over Smoothy in what proved a highly competitive season.
A margin of 158 points turned out to be the difference between the two drivers, while Kalgoorlie Desert Race winner Beau Robinson rounded out the top three for a bumper 31-crew field.
As for the co-drivers, it was Smoothy’s navigator Burgess who claimed a comfortable win, defeating rival Comiskey’s partner in Corey Cooper by more than 600 points – Damien Nicol’s co-driver in Cameron Percy ending the season third.
How it unfolded…
There was drama right from the get-go as the season opener in St George 399 proved challenging for numerous competitors, with many big guns unable to take advantage of the conditions.
Some of those included Robinson and Toby Whateley who both failed to record times in section two.
Comiskey meanwhile got a solid start to his national class title campaign, finishing the opener on top and inside the outright top 10.
Absent from St George, Smoothy made his presence known at the Coomealla Memorial Club and Bendigo Bank Pooncarie Desert Dash, taking out his first round of the season ahead of Comiskey and Robinson.
Both Smoothy and Comiskey finished inside the outright top 10 and were separated by just two minutes – an early example of what was to come in an entertaining battle.
The Tatts Finke Desert Race had a season-high 22 crews entered in the class, with champion racer Toby Price dominating the event from start to finish and winning both outright and the class.
Smoothy made it consecutive outright top 10 finishes and bagged valuable championship points at Finke, his second place in class coming ahead of experienced campaigner Greg Gartner.
Comiskey meanwhile, finished down the order in seventh, despite recording competitive times across both days.
A smaller field of eight crews took on the Can Am Loveday 400, with Brad Gallard taking victory in his first and only event of the season.
Gallard was highly competitive across the intense weekend, finishing on the outright podium as a result, as he finished 11 minutes behind the winner, Aaron Haby.
Rounding out the class podium behind Gallard was Smoothy and Comiskey, with the duo extending their gap at the top of the class points.
A shortened Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro saw Gartner get his first win for the year, taking out the class over Smoothy, who recorded a fourth-straight podium 13 minutes behind the leader.
In third for the class was Nicol, who finished ninth in the overall standings, while the ever-consistent Comiskey recorded a fourth place.
The season then wrapped up with an epic Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race, where Beau Robinson enjoyed an impressive outright victory.
Smoothy and Comiskey finished fifth and seventh in the overall standings, and Smoothy was able to seal second place overall thanks to the retirement of Jake and Kate Swinglehurst, however with Comiskey rounding out the class podium, it was enough to secure the national title.
What Comiskey said
“It was what we set out to do this year, that was our main goal, and it was good that we achieved it,” Comiskey said.
“It wasn’t all about winning every race it was about being consistent throughout and that’s what we got done.
“I didn’t think we would have a chance to be in the overall due to the competition in the field, but it just turned out that this year, a lot of people had issues and we were able to claim third outright which was a huge bonus to our plan.
“After the first round we were definitely in with a chance because we led from day dot, we definitely knew we weren’t the fastest but it was the whole goal to be consistent.
“Parts were a problem this year, everyone has been having supply issues with parts, so we just had to make sure that we had enough fuels and car parts. Getting people to the races was also a bit of a hurdle.
“I just want to thank the whole team, Corey my navigator, Dan, McKenzie, and Luke Camilleri for helping in the pits, our sponsors, my company Comiskey Mining Services for letting me be able to do it. We have big help from BFG Tyres, KMC wheels, our major sponsor DGI Australia. We couldn’t have done it without those guys, they have been with us the last couple of years and it’s good to have them on board.”
Extreme 2WD Driver Standings (Top 10)
1. Brett Comiskey – 2863.5 points
2. Brent Smoothy – 2705.5 points
3. Beau Robinson – 1870.5 points
4. Damien Nicol – 1504.5 points
5. Greg Gartner – 1200 points
6. Justin Montesalvo – 1005 points
7. Nicholas Commins – 957 points
8. Alex Handley – 837 points
9. Brad Krepp – 750 points
10. Mark Foster – 645 points
Extreme 2WD Co-Driver Standings (Top 10)
1. Reece Burgess – 2705.5 points
2. Corey Cooper – 2098.5 points
3. Cameron Percy – 1504.5 points
4. Jamie Jennings – 1200 points
5. James Montesalvo – 1005 points
6. Andrew Commins – 957 points
7. Jake Clucas – 945 points
8. Shane Hutt – 925.5 points
9. Jack Battye – 837 points
10. Taryn Foster – 813 points
Feature Photo: Terry Hill Photography