Loveday redemption for Erceg

After a forgettable result at the 2022 Loveday 400, Luke Erceg is hoping for a change in fortune when he attends the event again later this month.

It won’t be the South Australian’s first appearance in the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) this year though as he contested the Markwell Group Gold City 450 in March before missing out on Pooncarie and Finke.

However, it will be last year’s DNF that will be a key motivator in his pursuit for a good result this year.

Behind the wheel of a Prolite buggy in 2022, Erceg’s brake rotor exploded during Prologue, before an all-night recovery job ended up in vain after he blew the engine eight kilometres into the event’s first heat.

Following that disappointing result at Loveday, Erceg sold the Prolite buggy, bought a SXS car and finished ninth in Charters Towers, then sold the SXS and has since obtained his father’s Sportlite buggy – making it his third car in as many AORC races.

With the Sportslite title still up for grabs, Erceg was hopeful of scoring some valuable points and putting himself in contention.

“It wasn’t our intention to race in the AORC this year as we are fully focused towards building a new Pro car for next year, however there have been multiple opportunities open up,” Erceg said.

“We had a good result in Charters Towers running in SXS and then I have dad’s Sportslite buggy for this event, which we’re looking forward to because not one driver in the class has managed to score points more than once.

“If we can finish and bank some good points towards the class title – then who knows what will happen at Kalgoorlie.

“With that said, I will be pushing for a top 10, because even though the track has a few big straights, there are tight and twisty sections, so we will be able to match it with the top guys.

“We also know the track well, and we will use that to our advantage, but honestly, we will be all guns blazing because we’re not focused on the championship so we’re less restricted.

“We like challenging ourselves, so we’re targeting that top 10, but if something happens, it doesn’t matter and it’s not all doom and gloom.”

As for the event itself, Erceg was a big fan of the track and was excited for some redemption.

“Loveday is a good track and we always have a good time there,” Erceg added.

“It has everything. There are long straights for horsepower and then the tight twisty stuff which gives the slower guys a chance to catch up.

“The diversity of the event makes it a level playing field and I love it. And then by the end of the weekend, it’s rough as anything, which adds another dimension.

“I would love to make it past eight kilometres this year and then to finish the event – especially after last year’s disappointment.”

Entries for the event are still being accepted and are open until Tuesday 18 July.

The Loveday 400 takes place at the Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park on 28-30 July..

Photo: Bob Taylor