The Can-Am Loveday 400 has finally arrived as more than 30 competitors from both South Australia and New South Wales take on the tough 40km course at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park.
As one of the most diverse courses in Australian off road, Loveday is often regarded as a driver’s track, with competitors behind the wheel of the fastest cars not always necessarily on the top step of the podium come the Sunday evening.
This weekend, the event will run 400km for the first time as crews will be vying for the Motorsport Australia Off Road Central East Cup, which allows the winner free access into an event of their choosing during next year’s BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC), with the exception of the Tatts Finke Desert Race.
Starting on Friday with scrutineering, crews will then turn to prologue on Saturday morning, which sets up sections one and two in the afternoon before the remaining three sections are run on Sunday.
Ahead of the Can-Am Loveday 400’s first running under the AORC guise, event organiser Tony Whateley was thrilled with how successful preparation has been thus far.
“We have the weather we want, the lawn is green, the bar is stocked and we have the local council supporting us too. It’s looking absolutely perfect for the weekend and we’re ready to go,” Whateley said.
“It’s really fallen on our feet with the way the weather is. Everything is looking just great – even the grapevines.
“We have just come out of a three year drought and the rain from the previous two months has been more than the past three years so we’re really happy. Just to see the green around the place is amazing.
“It looks like we’ll have 10mm of rain tomorrow as well, which will knock off the dust for Saturday. We’re also going to have heavy wind throughout the whole weekend, which means even if there is dust, it will blow away. It really is going to be perfect racing conditions.”
As for the crews who will be racing in those perfect conditions, the field is made up of 26 South Australian crews and eight who are making the trip from New South Wales as they look to get some form of racing done in 2020.
From a local point of view, AORC stars Toby Whateley, Roydn Bailey and Hayden Bentley lead the way, while Aaron Haby, Garry Turnbull, Daryl Nissen and Mat Ridley are all competitors who know how to get some success at Loveday.
There is no shortage of talent coming from outside the border either with a number of crews likely to be challenging for outright honours. From the Pro-Buggy and Prolite of Josh and Ally Howells to the off road veteran in Phil Lovett behind the wheel of an SXS, all are hungry to race and keen to win.
With such a solid set of names making up the entry list, Whateley was confident it would be an entertaining weekend.
“We would have loved to have double the amount of entries this weekend but with Victoria being closed and the uncertainty surrounding restrictions, it was always going to be difficult,” Whateley added.
“However while we might have a smaller field this year, there is no doubt in my mind that it’s full of quality.
“Having Phil here is really good because I have been wanting to get him here for quite some time now as he’s such a great competitor. Everyone is also really excited to see Hayden’s new Trophy truck as well.
“It’s good to get the Howells mob over here as it’s their first race here in Loveday too. Aaron Haby, Garry Turnbull and Toby (Whateley) have all won here before so there is quite a solid entry list and there is no telling who can win.”
The Can-Am Loveday 400 takes place at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park on 23-25 October.