Simon Evans has been crowned the 2018 DEWALT SXS Australian Champion following a dramatic final round at Broadford, Victoria.
Having occupied top spot for the whole year, Evans’ season stood in the balance ahead of the final round’s Grand Final after crashing out the semi-final and limping to 15th.
With title rivals Brett Cominsky and Stephen Henry both progressing to the last race of the year, Evans was relying on the other drivers to place on the podium and both Cominsky and Henry to finish off it.
Standing in Cominsky and Henry’s way was 2017 champion Ewan McClue, 2016 champion Cody Crocker and off road star Toby Price all looking for the elusive second victory.
Following a brilliant set of heats and a solid semi-final heat, Henry continued took his form into the Grand Final and led for a majority of the race, only to fall behind McClue in the final stages.
It was all downhill from there for the title contenders, with Price and Crocker passing him to round out the podium, while Cominsky unable to recover from a difficult start.
Both drivers failed to finish the Grand Final on the podium, ultimately handing Evans the title.
The dramatic finish saw a jubilant and emotional Evans celebrate the victory with his crew from the sidelines, one he was thrilled to finally have in the bag.
“To be the DEWALT SXS Australian Champion is such a huge relief, I am so happy,” Evans laughed.
“It was a really tough event, and to sit there and rely on someone else to get a get result blows you away.
“I have never won a championship like this, it was so nerve wracking, I never want to do that again.”
Despite the disappointing ending, both Cominsky and Henry didn’t lose any places in the overall championship, ending the year in second and third respectively.
Finishing fourth outright was the round winner in McClue, his victory making him the only driver to claim two round wins in the season, the first coming in Queensland.
“I was really happy considering the conditions today and how rough it has been it was a good and it was great to get a good result,” McClue said.
“We had two great rounds in the year, and unfortunately in Ballarat, still really good to get two firsts in the season and I am rapt about that.”
Evans Motorsport didn’t have as much luck in the SXS Sports Class, with Mitch Keyte pipping Tom Evans to take out the outright class championship, while Tim Liston ended the season on a high winning the round for the class. .
Liston was brilliant all day, keeping the turbo class honest, while eventual runner-up Shannon Leach edged past third placed Keyte, which was enough to hand him the class title.
The championship’s final round was an memorable outing for the third placed Crocker, with the veteran enjoying a his 47th birthday in style claiming a second consecutive podium finish and the day’s fastest lap time.
The DEWALT SXS Australian Championship is yet to announce their 2019 calendar, with event organisers assessing the current structure.