Josh Howells and Eric Hume have made it two consecutive 2022 Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 victories in a row after another dominant performance behind the wheel.
After building a solid lead in yesterday’s opening section, Howells continued his incredible pace in Sunday’s opening section of two laps to extend the gap over Ryan Taylor and Kye Floyd to more than two minutes.
The New South Welshman then capped off a clean sweep of section wins with the fastest time in the one-lap finale as he beat Taylor to the line and claimed victory.
Howells’ victory sees him join nine-time BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Championship (AORC) winner Shannon Rentsch as the only two-time winner of the Queensland event.
Although he did come away with a dominant win, it wasn’t drama free as Howells had multiple issues to deal with throughout the race.
“Back to back victories sounds good – I didn’t expect it but it feels good,” Howells said.
“We had little hiccups along the way and that is always a thing, but we were able to get over them and move forward and we were lucky enough to keep the pace when we did have issues.
“Even though kept our cool and pushed through, I have to give a massive shout out to my team who gave me a car that made it possible to race at the pace I needed to race. It was unreal.”
Rounding out the podium behind Howells and Taylor was Rentsch and his navigator Ian Rentsch – with the duo enjoying a successful return to the AORC having last raced at the Tatts Finke Desert Race in 2019.
While they did secure their first podium since winning the 2019 St George 399, the Rentsch had a difficult battle with Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings having motor issues just 20 kilometres from the finish line.
Gartner and Rentsch had enjoyed an entertaining battle for much of the race, with Gartner leading by seven seconds at the final interval, however Rentsch passed the broken down trophy truck on the final lap to make it an all-pro buggy podium.
Finishing in fourth place after another impressive weekend in St George was Michael Spokes and Brad Rogan – the duo also capping off victory in Prolite class.
Rounding out the top five with one of the best recoveries for the weekend was Jake and Kate Swinglehurst after they recovered from a lowly 39th in qualifying to finish fifth overall – the duo unable to close down Spokes.
Ally Howells produced one of her best performances alongside new navigator Sarah Corrigan – finishing the event in her highest ever AORC position – seventh, while a strong final section from Matt Huxley and Tobi Turnbull saw them replace Phil Lovett and Luke Stanley in eighth place overall.
Lovett wouldn’t have been too disheartened though with the experienced campaigner leaving St George with the KINCOME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship victory.
Having led the class after the first two sections, Lovett went conservative for the final lap and did what he had to do to hold off the fast charging Greg Campbell, who topped the SXS timesheets in the final section and finished 10th outright.
Splitting the SXS crews was another driver who pulled off a major comeback in Sunday’s action in Brett Comiskey.
Sitting alongside Corey Cooper, Comiskey produced three brilliant laps on the final day to steer his trophy truck to ninth place overall and the Extreme 2WD class win as the only truck in an outright top 10 full of buggies.
Other notable class results saw Sportslite driver David Mendham finish 14th, John Wisse and Chris Collins won the SXS Sport class while Geoff Pickering continued his hunt to a 15th Production 4WD title finishing 30th overall.
The BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship now turns to the newest inclusion on the calendar – the Pooncarie Desert Race on 6-8 May.
Photo: Terry Hill Photography