Spotlight on Declan Cummins & Sam Phillips/Patrick Philp, 2017 Super1650 Class Champions

Declan Cummins and his Limited Options Racing crew are relative newcomers to the sport but their enthusiasm and commitment has brought early rewards with a Super1650 class championship in their first full year of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship (AORC).

2016 was Cummins first full off-road season where he campaigned his Hornet Buggy to a Super1650 class win in the Queensland series.

He also claimed a fourth in class at the 2016 Finke Desert Race on his first attempt.

In mid-2016 Cummins made the decision to upgrade to his current Super1650.

“My car is a Super 1650 buggy made by Lothringer in the USA back in 2007,” Cummins explained.

“It was brought to Australia in 2013 by CnC Racing and has won two previous AORC Super 1650 championships.”

Armed with his new buggy, Cummins, based on the Darling Downs in Queensland, made a super start to his 2017 AORC campaign at the St George 399.

Guided by co-driver Sam Phillips, the pair took out the Super1650 class win and claimed 13th outright.

“St George was a great event,” said Cummins.

“It’s the closest event in the AORC calendar for us so we had lots of support and had a good result.”

Cummins then lined up for his second attempt at the Finke Desert Race, not knowing how the Lothringer would handle the rough terrain and extreme dust.

“We really didn’t know how the car would handle the Finke whoops, but it did really well,” Cummins said.

Unfortunately Cummins and co-driver Patrick Philp came to a halt at the 205km mark on the run from Alice Springs to Finke, gearbox failure putting an end to their event.

Despite the DNF at Finke, the BFGoodrich CAMS AORC Super1650 class title was still within reach so the Limited Options Racing crew travelled to the Rainbow Desert Enduro in Victoria, their sights set on the title.

Image: JS Motorsport Photography

Cummins prologued sixth in class and by Saturday’s wet and soggy end, the pair had the class lead and were 12th outright.

Sunday’s racing proved to be the toughest of the year for many with five grueling laps to complete in wet and muddy conditions.

Cummins brought the Lothringer home in just under five hours, claiming the class win and sixth outright.

As far as highlights for the year go, Cummins said the result at Rainbow is right up there.

“Finishing sixth outright at the Rainbow Desert Enduro was a huge effort in a small powered car like ours.”

The result at Rainbow sealed the Super1650 class championship for Cummins and co-drivers Phillips and Philp and was also enough to put the team sixth outright in the BFGoodrich CAMS AORC.

After such a great year Cummins’ plans for 2018 are pretty simple.

“Do it all again, I didn’t buy it to look at it parked in my shed!”