Percival content with maiden interstate AORC round

In what was his first BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) event outside of his home state, Jared Percival couldn’t be happier with how this year’s Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash panned out.

The West Australian and his navigator Brenton Gallasch finished the 2024 season opener in ninth place after a highly consistent outing across the weekend..

Making their top 10 finish all the more impressive was that it was just Percival’s fourth event in his newly acquired pro buggy, having raced for more than a decade in his home state in the pro lite class.

Committed to do the full AORC season in 2024, the top 10 finish in Pooncarie has given Percival plenty of confidence to continue building on his strong start.

“I am pretty happy with the result – especially since it was my first national event outside of WA and there was plenty of quality in both the overall and pro buggy fields,” Percival said.

“Heading into the event, we didn’t have any expectations as this year will be a learning year and all the tracks are going to be new to me, but to finish in the top 10 was a good result and we didn’t have any issues during the weekend.

“Honestly, it took me until the final lap to get familiar with the track because we had a few GPS setup issues and the track is very different to what I am used to in WA, being harder ground where there is less degradation.

“And although the track was challenging, it was a good event and we had a lot of fun – which is what we are hoping to get out of this year as a whole.

“Overall, we are really happy with how it panned out and it gives us a lot of confidence, but there is still a long way to go in terms of my own improvement. I am getting more seat time and getting used to the car, which I have had just four races in so far.

“It was a big step up getting into the pro buggy car. The car itself was amazing and didn’t have any issues so we’re looking forward to getting more seat time.”

Photos: Dan Thompson

With his first national interstate event now complete, Percival was looking forward to ticking off another major milestone – debuting as a driver at the famous Tatts Finke Desert Race.

“I am really excited to go to Finke in June. I have been lucky enough to navigate at the event before, but I have never raced my own car, so I am looking forward to being able to do so,” Percival added.

“As the races go on, we can get competitive and push up the field, but with Finke being such a unique race and an even stronger field than Pooncarie, I am not sure we can go top 10 there.

“I am just hoping to get to Finke and back, which would be an achievement.

“I have been racing in WA for more than a decade now and have grown up with the sport, so I thought it was the right time and opportunity to have a crack at the AORC with a new car, so it’s exciting.

“I’d like to thank Element Off Road for their help and support, along with season sponsors Jed’s Contracting, Three Chillies Design and Plantech.”

The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place in Alice Springs and the remote community of Aputula on 7-10 June.