After three rounds, the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) SXS Championship is proving to be quite the title fight with a number of drivers all in the hunt.
While reigning champion James Cook leads after two victories in 2023, one of the standout performers has been rookie James Mogford.
Enjoying a stellar maiden season in the AORC, Mogford has produced solid results in each round this year, highlighted by podiums at the Tatts Finke Desert Race and the Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash.
Mogford could have had a third podium to his name after finishing third in the Markwell Group Gold City 450, only to be disqualified post-event.
Despite the disappointing result in the season opener, a DNF to Cook in Pooncarie and an unfortunate crash from fellow title hopeful Glenn Brinkman at Finke has kept Mogford in contention for some silverware.
“It’s been a good season and I am happy with our performances and I feel like I am driving better with every round,” Mogford said.
“Honestly, I am quite impressed with our progress and how far we have come as a team – we’re learning to push this great car to some really high speeds, as well as identifying and rectifying our weaknesses.
“We should be happy with our first AORC season. We are keeping up with Cooky, who can definitely steer and has good maintenance of the car. He won it last year, so he knows what he knows to do.
“I am glad we can match his speed though and then was highlighted in Finke, where we were actually faster on the way back up to Alice Springs – that was an amazing success and it shows we have the pace.
“And obviously a huge part of my success so far is because of my team and my sponsors – without them I can’t get on the racetrack.”
With just two rounds remaining in the 2023 season, Mogford will continue to push hard and focus on his development.
And while he is enjoying a successful debut season, the Queenslander has his sights set on pushing Cook right to the end and a potential upgrade in the future.
“The title race is pretty wide open to be honest and it’s been an interesting year – all the major contenders seem to have had a learning experience at every race, which is good for the competition” Mogford added.
“Honestly, we would love to win the SXS class this year and that was our goal leading into this season. It hasn’t changed and there are still 800 kilometres to go so anything can happen.
“It’s been a rollercoaster year for everyone and I don’t think Cooky or Glenn will give up that easily, but with still 40 per cent of the season to go, I am going to keep pushing for podiums.
“I have been loving the AORC this year and all the events. The tracks have been awesome and I have no doubt, Loveday will be the same.
“I don’t know too much about Loveday but I just know they have a great spectator point and I have heard a lot of positive things about it – especially the track, so I am really looking forward to it.
“We are competitive in class six, but we would love to see how we go against big boys in a pro buggy one day.”
The next round of the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship is the Loveday 400, which takes place at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park on 28-30 July.