Paul Tuck Lee may not be a name many Polaris Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) fans are familiar with, but there is a strong chance they will be familiar with by the end of this season.
Enjoying his first full year in the AORC, Tuck Lee has managed to finish every event this season – a remarkable feat shared by only two other drivers – champion elect Travis Robinson and current SXS Motorsport Australia Championship leader, Gregory Campbell.
While he may not be the quickest competitor in the AORC compared to the likes of Robinson or even Campbell for that matter, Tuck Lee’s consistency has been enough to earn him a deserving Aussie ‘battler’ tag for this year’s season.
Behind the wheel of his single-seater Mudgee Cranes backed pro buggy, so impressive has Tuck Lee’s individual operation been this year, he now sits 25th in the outright standings and third on the Pro Buggy class standings after four rounds.
Above him on the class standings are Robinson and Loveday 400 winner Shannon Rentsch, while the likes of Ryan Taylor and Daniel Hughes sit in fourth and fifth respectively, with Ivan Schmocker in a distant sixth place.
With Rentsch and Taylor both unlikely to attend the October’s Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race and a maximum of 900 points on offer, Tuck Lee is in the box seat to finish the year in second place – an outstanding achievement considering how new he is to the sport and how low his annual budget is.
“It’s been a pretty good season, and I didn’t expect to be in the position that I am the moment, but it’s exciting,” Tuck Lee said.
“Even though I have finished all the races, I am a fair way back off the pace, which highlights that the sport rewards you for finishing because you get the points.
“I guess that’s why I am there and that the most important thing.
“I went to Finke this year and I didn’t know what I was doing, but I really enjoyed it – even if I was two hours behind Toby Price – my aim is just to finish each event.
“I feel like I am definitely getting better with each round though, and the car is also going okay, even if it is 20-years-old – although it could do with a few upgrades but I am slowly working on it.”
As he has for most of the 2023 season, Tuck Lee will be heading to Kalgoorlie in October to attend an event he has very little experience at – one of the reasons he cautiously tackles each event the way he does.
And although there is a class second place on the line, Tuck Lee is unfazed about the result, and was looking forward to just having a go.
“I haven’t seen too much about Kalgoorlie, I will just take it as it comes, I will learn on the day and I intend to try and finish the race,” Tuck Lee added.
“It would be good to finish second in the Pro Buggy class. I only did two races last year and I used to race state level years ago, but this is the closest to success I have had a national level.
“It would be good to finish in the top 20 over and to finish second, which is something I never would have expected.
“I am not too worried about it though. I originally wanted only to do Finke, but I thought I might as well do the whole championship and now I am here.
“As long as I can get a finish at Kalgoorlie, then I will be happy. But whatever happens, it is what it is.
“If I don’t get second, then I will get third, but even if I don’t get that, I am happy. I am just happy to finish every race.”
The Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race takes place in Kalgoorlie Desert Race on 19-22 October.
Feature Photo: Dan Thompson