One of the traditional moments of the first round of a new season in any sport is the ability to start fresh with a new lease on life for competitors and fans alike.
Next month’s Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season opening round at Charters Towers will be no different for Nicholas Commins.
Last year proved a baptism of fire for the New South Welshman in what was his first ever season in the AORC, as he struggled to finish any races due to mechanical dramas in each of his five outings.
Despite the challenging run of results, Commins still scored a decent haul of points in the Extreme 2WD Class and finished seventh on the class standings.
Now with a combination of having the experience of a full season under his belt and an off-season of fixing his trophy truck, the 43-year-old believed he was capable of improving for this year.
“Last year we had an ordinary run in our first season, but we learned a lot about ourselves and about the truck itself, so we’re hopeful we can use those learnings into a big year this year,” Commins said.
“It was a big learning curve to be honest, and we broke a lot of stuff. But we got that fixed and we have more power now thanks to upgrading to a 7 litre engine.
“We bought a truck from the United States and I guess we tried for too much power, which broke everything on the way. Now we have a good engine tuner in Bathurst and good blokes working on the truck all the time.
“For us, it’s a bit of a redemption year. We did a lot of travelling for no results, but now I feel we’re in a much better position and we are competitive so it should be a good year.”
While he remains positive for a year of improvement, it all begins next month at Charters Towers for the Markwell Group Gold City 450.
Like most other crews, the newest event on the AORC calendar will be quite unfamiliar to Commins, however he remains unphased as he will approach the round in a similar fashion to last year.
“We are looking forward to it. We know nothing about the track. We heard it’s tight, but it is what it is,” Commins added.
“Last year, every race was a new one for us, so the unfamiliarity of it is very familiar to us and in that sense, the planning we have done is more focused about getting the most out of the truck.
“We have no expectation for Charters Towers or the season as a whole for that matter. We just want to go up north and come home with a result and a finish up our sleeves.
“It should be good. I am really looking forward to it. Everyone says it’s tight but it’s neither here nor there for us, so we can’t wait to get up to Charters Towers and put all our preparation and our learnings to good use.”
Nicholas won’t be the only Commins contesting the season opener either, with his father Aidan also entered in the event.
Aidan will be behind the wheel of a Brenthel PRO Buggy after making the switch from a SXS buggy at the end last year.
The Markwell Group Gold City 450 takes place in Charters Towers on 10-12 March.
Photo: Dakar Press Team Australia