The official BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) point score has been released and it’s a new driver who leads the way after the Tatts Finke Desert Race.
Having finished seventh at the iconic race earlier this month, Jake Swinglehurst now leads the championship with navigator Kate Swinglehurst leading the co-driver championship.
The duo’s rise to summit was helped by Ryan Taylor’s difficulties on the opening race day where he punctured two tyres on the way down to Finke and was forced to produce a recovery drive on the way back on to Alice Springs.
With Taylor finishing the event in 20th, it allowed Swinglehurst to get the jump on his fellow Queenslander and slot into top spot for the first time in his career.
Heading into Finke sharing third place with Ally Howells, a hard-earned P18 for Brett Comiskey saw him move into the position on his own after Howells was unable to score any points in the third round of the Championship.
Another driver to take advantage of Howells’ misfortune was Shannon Rentsch, who recovered from a DNF at the Coomealla Memorial Club and Bendigo Bank Pooncarie Desert Race to finish Finke in fourth place.
That much-needed injection of points helped the Victorian to fourth outright on the standings – just three points shy of Comiskey.
Rounding out the top five after three rounds is another Extreme 2WD pilot in Brent Smoothy – the West Australian another driver to have posted three highly consistent results across the season.
In the AORC class standings, both Comiskey and Smoothy lead the way in the Extreme 2WD class with the former holding the advantage.
In the Pro Buggies, Taylor still leads ever so slightly despite a poor run in Finke, with just 22.5 points separating he and Swinglehurst – the difference coming down to a number of Pro Buggy pilots suffering issues throughout the race.
Ally Howells was another driver fortunate enough to keep her lead in her respective class with her closest rival in Mel Brandle having closed the gap slightly but not as much as he would have liked.
The Production 4WD class seems to be heating up with Jodie Allen having surpassed 14-time champion Geoff Pickering for the first time in her career and leads the class.
Despite a forgettable Finke for Greg Campbell, where he was the 33rd finisher for the Kincrome SXS Motorsport Australia Championship, the New South Welshman remains on top of the SXS standings.
With Campbell not scoring points in the third round, it allowed a number of other drivers to close in on him, including James Cook and Glen Akroyd – both of whom had missed a race each this year.
It’s quite a close battle at the top of the standings with Glen Brinkman, Josh Wiedman and Justin Rider all sitting in equal fourth place and just nine points off Campbell in the lead.
Finke proved to be quite the game-changer in the SXS Pro class though with Akroyd now ahead of Campbell by just one and half points, while John Wisse extended his points lead in the SXS Sports class over Edan Evans after she was unable to finish the race.
The AORC continues next month with the Can-Am Loveday 400 on 30-31 July.