Pooncarie return in Chandler’s sights

After missing the season opener in Charters Towers, Trevor Chandler is hopeful he can get his 2023 Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) campaign underway at this month’s Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash.

A former star of the SXS Motorsport Australia Championship, Chandler made the upgrade at the start of the year to a pro buggy, committing to the full AORC season.

Unfortunately, some mechanical dramas in the lead up the season opener prevented him from making it to the Markwell Group Gold City 450.

With second round his closest race to home for the year, Chandler was looking forward to starting a new chapter in his promising career and getting his 2023 season underway.

“We’re very excited to head to Pooncarie,” Chandler said.

“I was there last year navigating for Jake Williams in the SXS Championship so I was able to get an understanding of the track.

“It looked really good as they had a lot of rain there right before the race, so hopefully there is a fair bit of moisture there again and we can have some fun – it looks fast, tight and technical so it should be good.

“I was gutted I couldn’t make it to Charters Towers because of these little issues. We have had quite a few teething problems and small hiccups along the way, but I think we have gotten on top of them now.

“The only downside now is that I did a converter alignment recently, so that’s currently being looked at and should be fixed by next week.

“I obviously have to rely on others to get it fixed, but I’m pretty certain I will be in Pooncarie next week because we wait until the last minute to get there as it’s a close event for us.”

Although Chandler will be in a race against the clock to get the car ready ahead of Pooncarie, he believed that once it was ready to go, he would be competitive towards the top end.

However, with the AORC featuring highly competitive competition and a number of big names vying for top honours, Chandler was aware there was a lot of work to do both in the car and in the workshop.

“I am hoping to do the whole AORC, but at this point, anything can happen, and we just want to get to Pooncarie, get some kilometres in and a produce a competitive performance,” Chandler added.

“The sensible side in me believes this year should just be about getting kilometres in, but the competitor side of me wants to win and get good results.

“There are a lot of guys with a lot more horsepower and experience than I have at the top level and in pro buggies, but I believe the AORC is about consistency and if you want to do well, you just need to get results and you can be towards the top of the field.

“With that said, the car needs to last 500km normally, so there is plenty of work to do and many things in a weekend can change – so we need to focus on the car.

“The entry list looks good. Would love to see a few more big names there but there is no doubt the event is going to be tough.”

Entries for the event are still open and close on Friday 14 April with interested crews able to enter via the Motorsport Australia Member Portal here.

The Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash takes place in Pooncarie on 20-22 April.