Plenty of excitement is building around BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship’s (AORC) return to Victoria this weekend, as the Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro plays host to the penultimate round of 2022.
The event will not only run as the fifth round of the season for both the AORC and KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship, but also the Motorsport Australia Victorian Off Road Championship, which holds its second round for 2022.
Heralded as the biggest event on the AORC calendar, crews will battle it out across seven laps of the gruelling 75-kilometre course.
An impressive 63 crews will fight it out in Rainbow’s return to the championship, which is welcoming many of the stars of Australian off road.
Current championship leaders Jake and Kate Swinglehurst headline an abundance of contenders participating in the event, while their closest rivals Ryan Taylor and Kye Floyd are also.
Like many crews entered in Rainbow, this weekend marks Taylor’s debut at the course, and the Queenslander was wary of the consequences of what a disappointing result would do to his title hopes.
“We are going to have to just go for it this time,” Taylor explained.
“There are two rounds to go, and we need to get as many points as we can, so we’re just going to have to prep it turn up and go again.
“I have never been to Rainbow, so it’s another first for us. I’ve heard it’s a good fun track and I’m going to like it, which is great.”
Nine points currently separate the top two in the championship and both crews will be looking to take the advantage heading into the final round of the series next month.
Other notable drivers participating include the trophy truck rival pairing of Brett Comiskey and Brent Smoothy, along with Prolite contenders Ally Howells and Mel Brandle, all of whom will continue their battle for class honours
250 points separate the championship leader Comiskey and Smoothy in the Extreme 2WD Championship while Howells holds a larger advantage over Brandle.
In what is a highly talented Extreme 2WD class, Greg Gartner will be looking to go back-to-back at the Victorian circuit, after claiming the victory there back in 2019, while his son Ben Gartner and Damien Nicol are also capable of a good result.
Garry Turnbull will look to continue his great form off the back of a podium at the Can-am loveday 400, as well as the Pooncarie Desert Dash runner-up Shane Elphinstone and Tatts Finke Runner-up Aaron James headlining several entrants capable of claiming the outright win.
The highly anticipated five-way title fight in the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship will see joint championship leaders Greg Campbell and James Cook looking to hold off the pressure from the likes of Josh Wiedman, Glen Ackroyd and Glenn Brinkman.
Cook believed a big result in Rainbow is important, even though this year’s event will also be his first taste of the rainbow track.
“It’s going to be a tight race to the finish line,” Cook said.
“Hopefully we get a good round at Rainbow. We will put our head down and stay consistent and bring it home.”
In previous years, unpredictable weather and treacherous conditions have made the Rainbow Desert Enduro one of the toughest events on the calendar, with the 2019 edition having to be shortened due to severe rainfall.
With overcast conditions and a hint of sunshine currently forecast to overlook the two-day event, conditions look much better than previous years despite a low chance of rain forecast across the weekend.
President of the Victorian Off Road Racing Association (VORRA), Tony Carabott emphasised the need of support of the local community for an event which is not possible without the help of volunteers.
“We’re looking forward to it and having the best crews in Australia support the event,” Carabott said.
“We are hoping for all crews support the locals who are totally behind the event, get some local feed into them and support the local clubs and local community.
“It is very exciting, things are looking promising, especially that we have a good weather forecast.
“I’m looking forward to everyone being together and looking forward to a great weekend of racing.”
Starting with Scrutineering on Friday, Prologue on Saturday morning will set up the first of two sections of the race, which will be made up of two laps around the course. On Sunday, where spectators can watch some of Australia’s best battle it out in the remaining five laps.
There will be three main spectator points available around the track, which are clearly marked and defined for anyone planning on attending the event.
The 2022 Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro will take place in Rainbow on 2-4 September.
Feature Photo: Show N Go Photography