Two-time Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) race-winner Josh Howells will make his AORC comeback next month’s 2023 season opener in Charters Towers as his comeback race.
Having not competed in the AORC since breaking down at the 2022 Tatts Finke Desert Race, an extended off season has allowed the New South Welshman to gear up for another crack at the country’s best off roaders.
Since his breakthrough year in 2019, Howells has been considered a powerhouse of the competition, thanks to two wins in St George and two podiums at Finke.
Despite starting last year with a victory in St George, Howells’ season took a turn for the worse at the Coomealla Memorial Club and Bendigo Bank Pooncarie Desert Dash as mechanical woes saw him notch up his first DNF in a long time.
Hoping to bounce back at Finke – an event he had finished on the podium in consecutive years – Howells’ strong prologue was all in vain as he failed to finish again with mechanical issues.
Now, with the Markwell Group Gold City 450 just around the corner, a fresh Howells is itching to get back behind the wheel in an event that will be new for everyone.
“I am actually really looking forward to heading up to Charters Towers because it’s been quite a while since I was able to race and I think an event like this is perfect for my return,” Howells said.
“It’s an event that not many have done, which makes it a level playing field and I like that aspect.
“The organising club (North Queensland Off Road Racing Association) have been doing a lot of work to get the track ready and the course looks like it’s tight between trees, which I love.
“The place itself looks very green with plenty of trees and less open paddocks and that will make this a very exciting event
“As for the season itself, as much as it sounds like a cliché, I will be taking it one round at a time and picking them off one by one – I can’t entirely commit to a whole championship campaign, but I am excited to be able to start off at Charters Towers and see where we go from there.
“With that said – I’m just looking to go out and have fun and go fast with the family.”
A huge entry list of almost 60 are entered for next month’s 2023 AORC season opener, which will see crews complete nine laps of the 50km course over two days.
The Markwell Group Gold City 450 takes place in Charters Towers on 10-12 March.
Feature Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia