The entry list for the Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 is starting to take shape with around 50 crews already locked into the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season opener.
Taking place midway through the next month, the popular South East Queensland Off Road Association (SEQORRA) run event will be kicking off the AORC season for the sixth year in a row.
With entries to continue being accepted for another three weeks, the event is on track to break its current entry-list record of 94, which it achieved last year.
While some of the championship’s top contenders are yet to book their place for the Queensland event, there are still a number of heavy hitters from a variety of classes locked in.
Headlining the entry list so far is a driver with a national title under his belt, 2012 AORC Champion Matt Hanson.
The Victorian has experienced some difficult times in St George in his past two visits but is hoping that he can turn it around this year and dine that same form he had 10-years ago.
“We normally prologue well and our first run at St George was no different because we won, but then we had problems during the race, which was difficult,” Hanson said.
“I love national events in Queensland and we really like St George so if the car can finish, I think we can do well – especially because I think the car is fast enough.
“We spent the off season at the Portland sand dunes over Christmas and put 40km on the car, just to make sure it was going okay, so it was good to get seat time.
“I think it would be really special to win the title this year, 10 years after our first. When we won the first time around, it was our first full season in the car and we were able to go to every round.
“Although the car is going much faster now, everyone else seems to be just as quick, so it’s going to be a very competitive year, but it would be pretty cool to win again.”
Some of the other crews already entered familiar to AORC fans around the country include Toby Whateley, Justin Montesalvo, Stephen Graham, David Spokes and Mel Brandle – all of whom would be hopeful of picking up some silverware
With the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship part of the AORC this year, there will be plenty of new faces to make their St George debuts – most notably reigning SXS champion, Stephen Henry.
The SXS Pro class will certainly prove an intriguing battle this year with Henry and the other new drivers on the block to go up against the more experienced AORC SXS drivers such as Jeff McNiven and John Wisse.
Entries for the event are officially open with crews able to enter at early-bird rates until 28 February, while all entries will stop being accepted after 4 March.
Crews entering the AORC component of the event will complete four sections throughout the weekend, with one on Saturday following the morning’s Top 10 shootout and the remaining three on Sunday.
All crews running solely in the state-championship will run in three sections.
The 2022 Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 takes place in St George on 18-20 March.