The 2021 Motorsport Australia WA Off Road Championship has begun with a bang as Harleigh Uren secured a thrilling victory in the Perenjori Rod Hatter Memorial 360.
With around 38 crews competing in the championship’s first round of the year, it was Uren in his Extreme 2WD Trophy Truck who managed to fight his way to the event’s first ever cash prize.
The win did not come easy, with the second placed Stephen Ketteridge-Hall and Haylee Cowling finishing the 360km event just 40 seconds behind.
Both drivers barely put a foot wrong all weekend with Uren’s prologue victory proving the difference as he led by 34 seconds at the first section before building the buffer to almost a minute by the end of the second.
Despite Ketteridge-Hall and Cowling being fastest on the final section, it wasn’t enough as they settled for second place and the Pro-lite class victory comfortably ahead of the third placed Jarrod Percival and Darryn Beckett.
Following on from his victory, Uren was thrilled to start the year on a high.
“It’s very good to start the year with a win. I didn’t think I was going to compete, but with a cash prize on the line and my wife supporting me, I ended up doing it and I am glad I did,” Uren said.
“It was nice for the event to add a financial incentive. I didn’t go there entirely for the money, but it was a nice little bonus as it rarely happens in the sport.
“Stephen is a good mate of mine and we are often out to beat each other. I sort of knew I had his measure, but he was always going to push me right to the end and he definitely did so.
“I believe it was my Prologue that set up the victory because it gave me a dust-free run to the end and that made such a difference because once I got my lead, I was able to maintain it.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more to be honest. I won some money, beat Stephen and the car came away unscathed – It was the perfect weekend and I am excited for the next round.”
The overall top 10 also featured nearly every class winner for the event.
Just missing out on podium place were SXS Turbo winners Ben Conn and David Jones, SportsLite winner Deon Visagie finished sixth, one spot ahead of Pro Buggy winners Paul Nappy and Gavin Cullen, while the ninth placed Peer Horn and Trinity Stacey took out the Extreme 4WD class.
With 17 drivers finishing the whole event, it was the last crew to cross the finish line in Sean Beck and Euan McCann who took out the Performance 2WD class.
The next round of the 2021 Motorsport Australia WA Off Road Championship is the Gascoyne Dash in Carnarvon on 2-4 April.
Photos: Dakar Press Team Australia