Star-studded entry list locked in for Pooncarie

The entry list for this month’s Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash has been announced with a star-studded field locked in for the 2024 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season opener.

More than 60 crews have entered the event, where they will contest more than 400 competitive kilometres across two days of action.

And while it may not be a record number for the Sunraysia Motorsport Club-run event, the calibre of entries makes this one of the strongest entry lists at an AORC event outside of the Tatts Finke Desert Race in recent years.

Headlining the field is reigning champion Travis Robinson and Andrew Pinto, with the duo looking to go back-to-back after securing a maiden title last year.

The West Australians will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them, with this year’s season opener attracting at least a dozen crews who can win the title, let alone the event.

The latest influx of entries saw two-time event winner Josh Howells get his entry alongside sister and 2022 Prolite champion Alex Howells, while AORC fans will get their first look at two-time SXS champion James Cook debuting his new pro buggy.

View the full Pooncarie Desert Dash entry list here.

Robinson, Howells and Cook are just a few of the big names entered in the class itself, which will field a massive 21 cars, including 2012 AORC champion Matt Hanson, 2019 AORC runner-up Roydn Bailey, South Australian brothers Aaron and Carl Haby, Aaron James, Brent and Dale Martin, Tom Swinglehurst and West Australians Shane Elphinstone and Jared Percival.

There is also a strong contingent of Trophy Trucks entered in the first round, led by Beau Robinson, reigning Extreme 2WD champion Nicholas Commins, Jake Williams, Brent Smoothy, Phil Lovett and the highly anticipated return of both Hayden Bentley and Brett Comiskey.

Photos: Dan Thompson


Other notable entries include 2023 runner-up Mel Brandle, 15-time Production 4WD champion Geoffrey Pickering, Rick Chambers, John Wisse and a handful of SXS Pro drivers in James Mogford, Lachlan Bailey, Glenn Brinkman and Glen Ackroyd – all of whom lead the 19-car SXS Turbo class.

Clerk of Course Troy Bennett was thrilled to have a strong entry list for the event, which opens the AORC season for the first time.

“To have an entry list of this calibre is incredible – not just for the event, but for the championship itself,” Bennett said.

“It may not be a record, but 67 is the perfect number, and the quality of the field is second to none as there are at least a dozen drivers who are capable of winning.

“To have some highly recognisable names in the sport make their return to the AORC here at Pooncarie is fantastic and we really look forward to seeing how the event unfolds.

“It’s also a testament to the club itself and all the many volunteers and administrators who do an amazing job at putting on what has clearly become a popular event.

“The club is over the moon with this year’s entry list and we can’t wait to welcome the best off road drivers from around the country to our backyard.”

View the full entry list here.

The Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Dash takes place in the New South Wales rural town on Pooncarie on 18-21 April.