Tight at the top in Kal after one section

The first section of the 2022 Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race has been completed with just 13 seconds separating the top three crews after 121 kilometres.

Leading the field are BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championships (AORC) leaders Jake and Kate Swinglehurst after the duo started from pole position.

Three-time winner of the event, Beau Robinson and stand-in navigator Jake Clucas crossed the line 11 and a half seconds slower than the leaders, while Ryan Taylor and Kye Floyd were just one and a half seconds slower – setting up an epic final day of the season.

All three crews produced solid pace throughout the first section with Swinglehurst overcoming mechanical problems to secure the fastest lap in an impressive display.

Photos: Dakar Press Team Australia

As for Robinson, he was on track to surpass Swinglehurst midway through the lap, however a mistake around Lake Perkolilli saw him lose the time he regained.

Adding to the closeness of the 2022 season, Brent Smoothy and Reese Burgess sit in fourth place three and half minutes off the Pro Buggy of Taylor, while last year’s Kalgoorlie Desert Race winners Nick Hicks and Mark Gator rounded out the top five of AORC registered drivers.

The bottom half of the top 10 featured three South Australians with outright title contenders Mel Brandle and Garry Turnbull sitting in sevenths and 10th respectively – Brandle and navigator Liam Brandle less than three seconds ahead of Queenslanders Justin and James Montesalvo.

The third South Australians in the top 10 was Luke Erceg and Daniel Ziembinksi, the duo posting the eighth fastest time and just 10 seconds ahead of locals Troy and Deb Schoen.

Just missing out on a top 10 finish was James Cook – the KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (SXS) leader comfortably sealing top spot alongside navigator Mitch Aucote by three minutes.

In second place for the Championship were Colin Bevan and Michael Dodds in 14th overall ,while Chris Kounis and Jhye Kent were the third fastest SXS in 15th overall.

Click here to view full results.

The Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race will continue tomorrow morning with the first lap from 7am AWST, before the final section of the season takes place at 1pm.