A dramatic second day in the 2021 Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race has seen Nicholas Hicks and Mark Gater claim an unlikely victory in the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Cup – West.
The SXS Turbo crew impressed throughout, having managed to win the event from 16th place after slowly working their way through the field as the weekend wore on.
Just like day one, the second day of racing saw many of the top contenders fall victim to an unforgiving course and drop down the order or completely out of the race, leaving the race wide open to a number of crews.
In what turned out to be a battle of attrition, Hicks and Gater eventually crossed the line in first place just two seconds ahead of fellow SXS Turbo crews Jason and Kiera Galea.
The two crews were neck-and-neck for the whole event, with Hicks faster in the opening section before Galea jumped into the lead by 13.6 seconds at the end of the second section on Sunday morning.
Both crews produced their best time of the weekend in Sunday morning’s section and had stormed their way into top three in the process, trailing only Dean and Jordan Terry. At the point, the Terrys looked certain to win the event having charged to a 15-minute lead thanks to a number of retirements behind them.
However, when the Terrys became the latest crew to suffer a premature exit during the final section, it set up a thrilling climax for the event between the two SXS crews.
Although Galea punched out a decent effort in the third section and looked on track to take the victory, it wasn’t enough as Hicks caught up to him and pinched the victory by just two seconds.
Following the victory, Hicks revealed the emotion of the intense closing stages.
“We saw a bit of dust about 34 km from the end and we knew we had to put the hammer down,” Hicks said post-race.
“There wasn’t a lot of talking in the car at that point. We just knew what we had to do and did it.
“Good on the Kalgoorlie team for putting on the amazing event. We’re pretty new to the sport and this was a great event.”
Finishing one and half minutes behind the top two crews were Extreme 2WD winners Brad Krepp and Kerry Yaxley – with the trophy truck rounding out a fairly surprising podium.
With another SXS Turbo crew in Jayden Grewar and Simon Hart finishing in fourth place, the best pro buggy for the event came in the form of Paul Nappy and Gavin Cullen – the duo crossing the line three and half minutes behind Grewar, but securing a top five finish and class win in the process.
A disastrous second section ruined Stephen Ketteridge-Hall and Haylee Cowling’s chances of winning the event outright, however the seventh placed crew didn’t leave the event empty handed as they comfortably won the Prolite class.
Other notable class results saw the 12th placed Jeremy Lia and Jamie Tilbrook win the Sportslite class, Steve Pacey and Glenn Chaffer take out Supoer1650 and Nic Jennings secure the Production 4WD class alongside navigator Sebastian Jennings.
With the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Cup – West now complete, attention now turns to the Can-Am Loveday 400 in South Australia for the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Cup – Central on 30-31 October.
Photos: Dakar Press Team Australia