The 2022 Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 will look very different to previous years with the event’s famous dams not in use this year.
For the first time in a long time, St George and surrounding towns received lots of rain, ending a long drought that had affected the region
With the big dams often part of the event, housing the paddock and different parts of the course, the Southeast Queensland Off Road Racing Association (SEQORRA) will have to adjust the course due to three dams being full of water – the first time this has happened since the event was created.
Despite the hiccup, event organiser Kym Barber believed it was still business as usual and the club would only have to change a few things ahead of the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season opener in March.
“We have a feeling that people may have to bring some jet skis and compete with those instead as all three dams are full,” Barber joked.
“It’s a bit of a shame that this has happened, but in all seriousness, it’s fantastic for the region because some of those dams haven’t been full for more than nine years, so the district is well off as a result, which is great to see.
“We always knew this sort of thing could happen and it was a matter of when, not if, so now we are just in the process of moving parts of the course, headquarters and the paddock around to make sure we steer clear of the dams.
“The track will look quite different in areas and the start/finish line will have to be moved, however right now, the area looks spectacular and it’s very green.”
In addition to the course adjustments, there have also been some other major changes to the popular event, one of which is the schedule.
Last year, Prologue took place on the Friday afternoon with the top 10 crews then fighting out for pole position in the top 10 shootout directly after, where the winner was announced at the Cobb & Co Hotel.
In 2022, Friday will see scrutineering take place on Friday with Prologue to follow and the results to be announced on Friday night at the pub once again.
Crews entering the AORC component of the event will then complete four sections throughout the weekend, with one on Saturday following the morning’s Top 10 shootout in the and the remaining three on Sunday.
All crews running solely in the state-championship will run in three sections.
Entries for the event are officially open with crews able to enter at early-bird rates until 28 February, while all entries will stop being accepted after 4 March.
With the Queensland based event to have the honours for getting the AORC underway for the sixth year, Barber was hoping 2022 would be a good year.
“We were quite lucky to squeeze our event in before COVID cancelled the rest of the season last year, but hopefully we can get a full crack this year,” Barber added.
“It’s exciting to start the season off as it always is and even though we have had a few hiccups, it’s all coming together due to a really good crew who have once again put in a wonderful effort.
“A big thanks to McIntyre Agriculture for its ongoing support, Eddy Bowman and Hank Parker for their incredible efforts because the event would be nothing without him, the landowners for once again giving us somewhere to compete and the council, who continue to back us.
“I look forward to welcoming the AORC in March.”
The 2022 Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 takes place in St George on 18-20 March.
Photo: Terry Hill Photography