Travis Robinson has the potential to lift the 2023 Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) trophy at this weekend’s Loveday 400.
With 100 points up for grabs in the penultimate round of the season and a maximum of 150 points available at October’s Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race, if Robinson leaves South Australia with a lead greater than 150 points, he will be crowned the 2023 champion.
Currently sitting atop of the standings with a 129-point lead over the second placed James Cook, Robinson would need to outscore Cook by just 21 points and the third placed Mel Brandle by a mere 10 points.
Queenslander Glenn Brinkman is also in mathematical contention to seal the title but will need an extremely unlikely sequence of events to occur to do so.
Put simply, if Robinson is able to pick up the maximum 100 points with a win at Loveday, Cook would need to finish inside the top three to stay in contention, while a podium for Robinson would require Cook to finish inside the top six.
With Cook not being the only driver in contention, a top three finish for Robinson will all but rule out Brandle, and Ryan Taylor’s absence from the round means the reigning champion’s title defence is officially over.
Although the task of winning may not come easy to Robinson, who is yet to win an event in either of three rounds; with a hattrick of podiums to his name, there is every chance he can claim the title in South Australia.
Even a top 10 could seal the deal for for the West Australian, providing drivers like Cook, Brandle and Brinkman don’t finish above him and Daniel Hughes and Glen Akroyd don’t finish in the top five.
Should he DNF and Cook, Brandle, Brinkman all score points, while the likes of Hughes, Ackroyd, Greg Campbell, Shannon Rentsch and Brett Rogers can all record top 10 finishes, then the tight fight may be prolonged into the final round.
So how did Robinson get to this point at such an early stage of the season?
After Cook became the first SXS driver to claim a round win in AORC history at the Gold City 450, Robinson rounded out the podium behind Taylor.
A second podium of the season then came in Pooncarie, finishing in second place behind New Zealander Raana Horan, while Cook had his first ever DNF and ultimately handing the West Australian the outright lead in the standings.
Robinson then extended his lead at the top of the standings after a third-place finish at the famous Tatts Finke Desert Race, which made it three straight podiums, where this time he finished alongside stars Toby Price and Greg Gartner.
The fourth round of the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship will be the Loveday 400 at the Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park on 28-30 July.