St George 399 podium getter Michael Spokes is counting down the days until the 2022 edition of the Queensland based event after a year of sitting on the sidelines.
Having picked up his best ever result at the event with third place, the New South Welshman was one of many BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) competitors to miss out on a number of events in the months that followed due to the state’s long standing lockdown.
While he was technically eligible to attend the Tatts Finke Desert Race, Spokes was unable to attend the event due to personal reasons, meaning he has been only able to run in one national event this year.
And it was impressive race to say the least.
Spokes and co-driver Brad Rogan didn’t have the best of starts to the three-day off road race, but slowly worked their way back into the contest as a number of crews ahead of them struggled.
Qualifying in 12th, Spokes made up four places in section one before repeating his efforts in section two, but passed an extra four places.
As he entered the final section from fourth off the line, he managed to post the second fastest time out of the whole field – with event winners Josh Howells and navigator Eric Hume the only crew faster.
Despite a strong finish, Spokes missed out a runner-up finish as Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings secured second spot thanks to their pace on the opening two sections.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to carry on his momentum for the rest of the year, but it gave Spokes enough confidence for 2022.
“St George took a couple of days to settle in and we were a bit slow on the Saturday, but everything worked out and we ended up with some good times,” Spokes said.
“We had no expectation of a result, but anything in the top 10 would have been good, so to end up where we did and how we did was amazing. We really didn’t expect it.
“In hindsight, I really wish we went to Finke, but we just couldn’t get there. Then the rest of our calendar was cancelled due to lockdowns, which is a shame.
“We’re really keen to get back out there again. I miss racing so much. St George was such a good event and hopefully we can put in a similar performance.
“The car is pulled apart as we have been waiting a few months for parts, so in one way, we’re quite fortunate that we didn’t miss out on anything major.
“We’re booked in for St George and a few east coast events. Hopefully we can get our full calendar in – we have had two years of very little racing, so I am just itching to get in a full year of racing.”