Just two rounds after making his BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship debut, Jake Swinglehurst will face his biggest challenge yet.
Making his first AORC appearance at the 2019 Cobb & co Hotel St George 399 Jake was unable to finish the race. The Queenslander improved dramatically at this year’s St George 399 where he picked up a SXS Turbo class runner-up and an outright top 15 finish.
With brother Tommy finishing the AORC season opener third in class and 16th outright, along with a string of good results at local and state rounds last year, the Swinglehurst brothers will be hitting the rest of 2021 full of confidence.
Next month’s Tatts Finke Desert Race will be the pair’s first time competing at the event and while they have no experience in the race itself, they already know plenty about it simply by word of mouth alone.
For Jake, he believes the stories surrounding the great race have helped with his preparation.
“We’re excited because it’s our first one. It’s a bit daunting as we have heard lots about it.” Swinglehurst said.
“Finishing is big a thing. We’re going to tackle it at 100 per cent and go as hard as we can. We would like to be on the class podium like St George, so we’ve been prepping hard and it’s going well.
“We took the cars to Talbot Cox’s place as he has some whoops that are similar to Finke. It was nothing serious, but just gave us a good idea of what to expect. The cars have been pulled apart now and they’ll be put together shortly.
“As far as our driving is concerned, we are quite confident. We want to go as hard as we can and with Can-Am being so reliable, we have full confidence in the car too. They can skip across the whoops, which is great.”
Both brothers will again be behind the wheel of Can-Am SXS Turbos and make up just two of the 175 crews looking to claim Australian off road racing’s biggest prize – 65 of which are in their class alone.
With only Jeff McNiven in front of him on the SXS Turbo standings after a very productive weekend in April, Swinglehurst was looking forward to getting building on his result.
“Our St George results gave us a lot of confidence and we’re on a bit of a high. But really we’re just excited to get out there and just part of the process,” the 26-year-old explained.
“Our class has a high standard of crews. From the likes of Toby (Whateley) Jeff (McNiven) and Kye (Floyd) – they are going to be really strong competition. Prologue for us is really important and it favours our car, so that’s really helpful.
“We were lucky enough to have lots of seat time last year as opposed to a number of the Victorian and NSW crews, so I feel that will be beneficial. When it comes to Finke it’s a completely new ball game so we will see what happens.
“The main thing is that we grab points. A good weekend is going to help us massively for the rest of the season, especially now that [AORC] is five rounds.
“Ultimately we just want have a good prologue, then dial it back for the race and hopefully make it back to Alice Springs for a podium finish.”
The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place between Alice Springs and Finke on 11-14 June.
Photos: Terry Hill Photography