Garry Turnbull is hopeful of getting his BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season back on track after a DNF in the Tatts Finke Desert Race.
Heading into the round in sixth place after solid performances in the opening two rounds of the season, Turnbull was hoping for another consistent run in the hopes of moving up the standings.
Qualifying just outside the top 20 in Method Race Wheels Prologue, the South Australian would have felt like he was in a good position for the weekend with banking points his main goal for the round.
Unfortunately, just 37km into the race Turnbull was hit by a trophy truck wanting to overtake him – causing a broken crankshaft and forcing him out of the race.
It was a sad end to the biggest race of the year, however with a number of other top contenders also struggling to score points in Finke, Turnbull only dropped two places on the standings.
“It was a sad way to end Finke and a bit unexpected to be honest,” Turnbull said.
“I was basically slowing down coming to the creek crossing, probably a bit slower than we should have been going and the guy behind us came in a bit too hot and hit us.
“It was a bit frustrating because a lot of effort goes into Finke and it’s a logistical nightmare, so to only make it 37 kilometres through an incident like that was tough, but thankfully we didn’t lose too much ground on the standings.
“Bit surprised that we didn’t fall as far as we could have, and the car isn’t as damaged as we first thought. The engine took a hard hit and we have to do a serious check but we will definitely be there for Loveday.”
With the Can-am Loveday 400 making its first appearance on the national calendar next month, it was an opportunity for Turnbull and a number of South Australians to claim some serious points.
Having had success there in the past, Turnbull was hopeful of finishing inside the top five – despite not having a real idea of his car’s status.
“Very confident we will be at Loveday and all the external checks like oil pressure all seem fine, but we will be taking a big risk on the car in regard to the engine and crankshaft,” Turnbull added.
“I guess the fact that there is a small gap between rounds means I don’t have to stew on the DNF much, but it’s just going to be a busy time trying to get it ready – luckily the frame is not too bad.
“If we can get through that first section, the plan will be to finish in the top five if we can and get the season back on track.
“We have had some success at Loveday in some state rounds. The facilities are very good, and it’s got a good variety. Good straights for our pro buggy and some tight stuff which suits the smaller cars.”
The Can-Am Loveday 400 takes place at Loveday Adventure 4×4 Park in South Australia on 27-29 July.
Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia