Uren ready for unique AORC challenge

Western Australian star Harleigh Uren will relish taking on the best off-roaders in the country when the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) heads to WA later this year.

Having established himself as one of big guns of the Motorsport Australia WA Off Road Championship, Uren’s only chance to see where he stands on the national stage is during the Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race.

Each year when the biggest event on the WAORC takes place, the 42-year-old gets to compare himself only to AORC superstar Beau Robinson, whose sole WA event is often Kalgoorlie.

With many of Australia’s best to contend in the season’s third round, including the likes of Brett Comiskey from Queensland and South Australian Mel Brandle, Uren is looking forward to the challenge.

“Kalgoorlie is a fantastic race and we really love competing there. It’s the pinnacle of WA off road racing,” Uren said.

“Unfortunately for us, we don’t have the budget to go outside of WA and contest the AORC, so our only opportunity to see where the national benchmark is is when we’re up against Beau (Robinson) in Kalgoorlie.

“Obviously Shane Elphinstone has had a great start to his first year in the AORC, so it’s good to have another local driver that we can compare ourselves to, but I think it’s just exciting to have the national championship finally come here.

“Hopefully it all goes ahead and we can have some more national guys come down from the other states, because for us WA based drivers who can’t race around the country, this is the perfect chance for us to see the best in Australia.

“I am not sure how I would go – I am pretty confident that if everything aligned, I could be in a good position outright, but everyone knows with off road racing that you’re always one minor issue away from retiring.”

Photos: Dakar Press Team Australia

Although he has confidence of giving the AORC crews a run for their money, Uren has had a mixed year in the state championship, which has seen him drop out of contention for the state title.

A bright start in February saw the trophy truck driver win the season opener in Perenjori and storm to the top of the standings, however he failed to finish more than one section at the Gascoyne Dash in April and came away with no points.

A second consecutive DNF at the Mid West Challenge last month ruined any hope of securing the title, leaving Uren 29 points behind current championship leader Jared Percival with just two rounds remaining.

Uren still has a mathematical chance of securing the title, however it’s out of his hands and he has admitted that he is now just focused on enjoying Kalgoorlie.

“I suppose it’s a bit disappointing that I’m not really a chance to win the championship, but it means I won’t have any pressure in Kalgoorlie and I can focus purely on the AORC guys,” Uren added.

“If I still had a chance of winning the title, I would have to drive cautiously during the event and I could lose some ground. I am also comfortably leading Extreme 2WD, so I don’t have to worry about that too much either.

“So, with nothing to really drive for, I can have fun at Kalgoorlie, just go full attack and hope for the best.”

The next round of the Motorsport Australia WA Off Road Championship will be the Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race which is scheduled for 22-24 October.