With the Loveday 400 considered one of the toughest events on the Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) calendar, South Australian Nic Hicks is aware of the challenge ahead of him.
Behind the wheel of a Pro Buggy, Hicks will be hoping to get a full taste of Loveday at the national level this weekend for the first time after two forgettable years.
His first and only time at the South Australian track saw him as one of multiple crews to attempt the impressive feat of back-to-back rounds in different states in 2021.
With the AORC cut short due to COVID-19, both the Loveday 400 and Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race were forced to run as stand-alone events over successive weekends.
Hicks and navigator Mark Gator went on to win the Kalgoorlie Desert Race overall in a remarkable effort before making the dash across the border to compete in Loveday.
Unfortunately, his attempt to go back-to-back was short-lived as he failed to finish the event, before missing last year’s edition after his new car was not ready in time.
Currently enjoying a solid run of form at state level, Hicks was looking forward to having a crack at the full event.
“I am excited for the weekend because I finally get to run in the AORC this year,” Hicks said.
“Tony (Whateley) puts on a great event there in Loveday, I have two navis in Macca and Ben Stakelum and I have the legends at SBH Engineering team supporting me for the event.
“I have done a few local races in 2023 and have had some success, so I will be focusing on getting a good result in Loveday, on top of going up against the best guys in the country.
“With that said, it’s a good drivers’ track, therefore the plan will be to conserve and drive sensibly and take a bit of control. I won’t be out there setting lap records; I’ll just be staying in my comfort zone.
“We will just use the start of the event to settle in and then hope we’re towards the top at the back end, where you can always have a crack.
“The element has been prepped to perfection as always,
“I don’t know the Loveday track well and I have only done a few laps there, but I have to aim high and my goal is to finish in the outright top five.
“That is going to be a tough ask though because it’s a strong entry list with some real heavy hitters there and the track always gets a bit roughed up towards the end of the weekend.
“However, if I don’t get a top five placing and end up further down the order, then so be it. I am very relaxed about it all to be honest. We don’t go out there chasing result – it’s more about the journey and having everyone involved.
“With that said though, the competitive spirit can always get the better of you when you put the helmet on. For me, I just love the sport and people around it and being a part of it is a privilege ”
The 2023 Loveday 400 takes place at Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park on 28-30 July.