Rainbow locks in strong field

The entry list for next month’s Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro has been confirmed with 62 entries to contest the Victorian event’s return to the national calendar.

Taking place early next month, the fifth round of the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) will welcome many of the 2022 title contenders.

Headlining the entry list are current championship leaders Jake and Kate Swinglehurst, while their closest rivals in Ryan Taylor and Kye Floyd are also entered.

Only nine points separate the top two crews ahead of the final two rounds, and with neither having been to Rainbow, an intriguing battle is set up for the two-day event.

Joining Swinglehurst and Taylor in Victoria will be a number of other top 10 drivers, including Trophy Truck drivers Brett Comiskey and Brent Smoothy and Prolite stars Ally Howells and Mel Brandle – and all four drivers will he continuing their respective battles for class honours.

In Extreme 2WD, just 250 points separate class leader Comiskey and West Australian Smoothy, while Howells holds a slightly bigger advantage over Brandle in the Prolite class.

With Can-Am Loveday 400 podium placer Garry Turnbull and Coomealla Memorial club and Bendigo Bank Pooncarie Desert Race runner-up, Shane Elphinstone also entered, there is plenty of star power capable of winning the event outright.

In addition to the drivers who have been at every round, there are a number of big names entered in the event that haven’t made regular appearances this year.

Leading that charge is 2022 Tatts Finke Desert Race runner-up Aaron James, from NSW, and will likely be towards the front fighting for outright honours.

Joining James as one of the event favourites will be Greg Gartner, who won the AORC’s last round in Rainbow back in 2019. The Extreme 2WD class is shaping up as one of the strongest fields with son Ben Gartner and Victorian Damien Nicol both capable of a good result.

Aaron James in action during the 2022 Tatts Finke Desert Race. (Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia)

After a short run at Loveday, Luke Erceg is back for consecutive rounds and will be up against Howells, Brandle and Matt Burrows in a very competitive Prolite class.

Boasting the largest class entry list for the event is the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship with 25 crews entered.

Like the outright championship, there is plenty on the line for the SXS championship with a number of drivers capable of taking out the title.

Joint championship leaders Greg Campbell and James Cook, young gun Josh Wiedman, Glen Ackroyd and Glenn Brinkman will continue their five-way title fight, while the likes of Lachlan Bailey, Jackson Evans and Warwick Mitchell could all produce a strong result.

Click here to view the entry list.

President of the Victorian Off Road Racing Association inc (VORRA) , Tony Carabott was pleased with a big entry list despite being late in the season.

“It’s been a long season for many of these AORC crews, so to have more than 60 crews entered in our event is great to see,” Carabott said.

“The AORC is proving to be quite competitive this year in terms of class and national championship title fights and I am sure these battles will continue

“With the forecast looking promising, we are looking forward to a great weekend of racing.

“So obviously a big thanks must go out to crews for their support of this event, as well as the VORRA and Rainbow Rises Events Association Inc, committees, the local community, and businesses for their hard work and the Hindmarsh Shire for their ongoing support.

“We really look forward to welcoming the AORC back and seeing some of the best crews in Australia competing on our track.”

The Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro takes place in Rainbow on 2-4 September.

Feature Photo: Show N Go Photography