Fight for top five heats up after Loveday

With just one round remaining in the 2023 Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship season, all eyes will be on the battle for the remaining places in the top five after Travis Robinson became the champion-elect at last month’s Loveday 400.

Despite it being his first placing outside of the podium for the season, a fourth-place finish at Loveday 400 all but secured the title for Robinson and navigator Andrew Pinto, with his closest title rivals heading into the event in James Cook and Mitch Aucote falling to fourth in the standings after a second straight finish outside the outright top ten.

Replacing the talented SXS Pro driver in second place was South Australian Mel Brandle, who continued his strong run of form to jump from fourth to second after a solid sixth place finish in South Australia.

While Brandle won’t be able to catch Robinson after the West Australian built an unassailable lead of 156 points, Brandle heads into the final round in outright second with a 10 points buffer over Loveday 400 winners, Shannon and Ian Rentsch – an impressive feat considering he missed the opening round of the season.

But with Rentsch unlikely to take part in October’s Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race, the fourth-placed Cook will arguably be Brandle’s biggest threat 23 points back, with the latter’s SXS Pro rival Glenn Brinkman and Dale Moscatt also in contention sitting only a further 13 points behind.

View the AORC standings here.

One of the biggest movers of the round was Loveday 400 Prolite winners Alan Dixon and Zachary O’Bree, with his second top 10 outright finish of the season promoting him to sixth outright after sitting 22nd at the conclusion of the Tatts Finke Desert Race.

Photos: Tony Donoghue

Although, the Victorians doesn’t have a strong hold on the position, as Gregory and Lachlan Campbell jumped 11 places to sit only six points behind Dixon after an eighth-place finish at Loveday.

Much like the drivers’ championship, Robinson’s navigator, Pinto has an unassailable lead in the navigator’s standings with a 166-point advantage over Ian Rentsch.

While Ian currently sits in second, he is likely to lose the place to Aucote, who only has 12 points to make up with Cook in Kalgoorlie in Rentsch’s likely absence.

While Aucote might be the early favourite for the position, fourth place Dale Moscatt is only 14 points back and will be looking to once again move his way up the standings after beginning the round in seventh.

While the outright standings saw lots of movement, many of the class leaders held their ground.

View the full class standings. 

Despite dropping places in outright, Cook remains the driver to beat in the SXS Motorsport Australia Championship, with James Mogford and Brinkman both still his closest competitors.

In other classes, Sean Beck soared to the top of the 2WD Production as he gears up for a class title on home soil in October, while Brandle only has Dixon to worry about in the Prolite class after the latter moved into second after a fantastic result.

Joshua Gaskin just missed out on finishing the full Loveday 400 event, but still scored a solid amount of class points across the event’s first three sections to move further ahead in the Sportslite class, as did both Nicholas Commins (Extreme 2WD) and Adam Jiear (Production 4WD), who extended their lead at the top of their classes ever-so slightly, despite not completing half of the event.

View the SXS Motorsport Australia Class Standings. 

The next round of the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship will be the Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race on 19-22 October.