Racing icons compete in off-road competition in St George
Gearing up for its fourth edition since joining the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship calendar in 2017, the popular southwest Queensland based event will once again have the honour of getting the championship underway.
The Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 rolls around this weekend and it would have been almost two years since off-road crews took on the rural track.
The event will host the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season opener with a record number of crews from around the country ready to tackle this event.
Regular contestants would expect to be running on the same course they spent three years perfecting, however this year there have been some big changes in order to mix things up.
This weekend’s event will see competitors run in the opposite direction to what they did between 2017 and 2019.
A change in personnel sees former KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship Clerk of Course Brendan McLean replace Barry Nuendorff in the hot seat for 2021 and beyond, but the biggest and most notable change is the format.
Most AORC events run a traditional format of scrutineering on Friday afternoon, prologue and one section on Saturday and the race’s remaining kilometers on Sunday across multiple sections.
This year however, the St George 399 organisers decided to move prologue to Friday afternoon after scrutineering to make a day of it, while one heat will be run on Saturday and two on Sunday.
The record 94-car entry list itself is quite impressive as a host of stars across 11 classes prepare to do battle over the three days of action, with reigning champions Mark and Matt Burrows the headline crew.
Other powerhouse names include 2012 AORC champion Matt Hanson, West Australian star Beau Robinson, 2007 AORC Champion Hayden Bentley and national veteran Greg Gartner.
Following the closing of entries, South Eastern Queensland Off Road Racing Association President Kym Barber revealed how thrilled the club was with the turnout.
“It’s an incredibly proud moment for us. We had no idea so many people would want to run the 399 and it’s definitely something we’re going to enjoy,” Barber said.
“It’s not only great for us, it’s a huge bonus for all the parties involved with this round. From the locals in St George township to the greater rural community to the AORC itself.
“We’re absolutely stoked that we get to launch the first round of the AORC in such a big way.
“I am sure the event will be highly representative of what the year will be like and we’re pleased we get to be part of it.”
The Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399 takes place in St George on 19-21 March.
Spectating is free, there is a free bus from the Cobb & Co Hotel and catering will be available.