White at home in AORC after title-winning debut

At just 74-years-old, John White couldn’t have asked for a better debut season in the Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC).

The Tasmanian campaigned the 2023 season behind the wheel of a Honda Talon and comfortably claimed the SXS Sport class title after winning two of three rounds he attended.

Starting off with a second place at the Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Race alongside his grandson Jack Briggs, White and Briggs went on to grab their first class win on the biggest stage, the Tatts Finke Desert Race.

Despite missing the Loveday 400, White went on to secure the class title at the Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race with his second win of the season.

While the decision to run in the AORC only came about after his other motorsport commitments were no longer available, White loved competing in the championship and taking the title in the process.

“I have been in motorsport for a long time, but because other championships I was involved in were put on hold, and consequently, I thought I would like to go desert racing, which led me to the AORC,” White said.

“I have always been a farmer with a UTV, so I expected to be a finisher at each event, which was the goal, but I was pleasantly surprised with how I held up at the event and the community itself.

“Running in each event didn’t knock me and my old joints about anywhere as much as I thought they would, so that was a good result. I also had a lot of fun – one of the most special parts about the year was introducing my grandson to motorsport.

“Winning the title was certainly very cool though, and it showed that we did our homework correctly in picking the right vehicle that was extraordinary with its reliability. Even when it overheated, we simply needed to sit for five minutes before getting back out there.

“We actually had the car built for us, but after fixing all the mistakes from the original build, we ended up with a nice little unit.”

Following on from his maiden title-winning season, White had no hesitation about returning in 2024.

“Most definitely we will be a competitor this year,” White added.

“I expect to be doing most rounds this year, whereas I missed Charters Towers last year due to the car not being ready in time, but I am really excited to get there this year.

“I also intend to go for back-to-back titles. I know our car is miles behind the stronger vehicles, but I am confident that we can have another strong year in the class, so it would be nice to win again.

“One of the joys of desert racing is the people involved – they are very much community-minded individuals. The AORC is a wonderful family and I am looking forward to being back.”

The 2023 AORC season gets underway with the Wentworth Shire Pooncarie Desert Race on 19-21 April.

Photo: Daniel Thompson Photography