The 2019 Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race has provided an exciting finale to the 2019 Western Australian Off Road Racing Championship. A high quality field of 43 Trophy Trucks, Buggies, SXS’s and Tin Tops suited up for a blast through the red dirt of the Kalgoorlie Goldfields
Friday night the event kicked off with the Silver Lake Resources KDR Street Party. With all of the vehicles as well as bikes filing through and filling out the main street of town, the atmosphere was one of excitement. It would only take one look down the rows of shining vehicles parked up on Hannan street to see that this field of competitors were going to throw it down hard when prologue came around on Saturday morning. Adding to the Western Australian competitors and WAORC regulars were Ben Erceg in his Sportslite from South Australia as well as Brent Smoothy in his immaculate Geiser Bros Trophy Truck and Corey Howell who was having his first run on Australian soil in the Fast1A Razorback Pro Buggy.
Saturday morning started bright and early with prologue and it was Beau Robinson who landed the first punch, setting a blistering time nearly 20 second clear of the next competitors. 2nd would go to Shane Elphinstone with Scott Schiller less than 1 second behind in 3rd. Some noteable performances in prologue include young gun Stephen Ketteridge-Hall registering a DNF which meant his event would be off to a tough start and would need to be seeded. Mal Yeardley in his final race in the #171 Prolite was 1st in class and 14th outright, just behind the leading SXS teams of #651 Colin Bevan and #683 Gavin Rodgers who qualified in 12th and 13th. Championship protagonists Darren Agrela and Mat Birnie weren’t as high as we have come to expect from them this season with Agrela slotting into 8th and Birnie with a mountain of work to do starting out of 17th
Section 1 comprised of a 120km blast around the Kalgoorlie desert including notable sections such as a high speed run around Lake Perkolilli. Robinson set off first and when Elphinstone and Schiller both lost time he was out in front and clear of traffic behind. The OBR Trophy truck came in quickest, 2 minutes 22 seconds over Harleigh Uren. Troy Schoen was the first buggy across the line moving into 3rd outright, with Brent Smoothy and Phil Shepley making it 4 out of the top 5 positions belonging to the trophy trucks. Kalgoorlie local Dean Terry moved up into 6th outright with Agrela still playing the conservative card moving up into 7th. For his championship rival Mat Birnie, disaster struck with a stick through the radiator causing a DNF. There was also some action for the spectators with both the Elphinstone Racing Jimco and the #616 Polaris of Dylan Nollas rolling onto their sides in the final km through the spectator section. Gavin Rodgers clocked in the quickest SXS time to sit in 9th outright, just ahead of Colin Bevan with Murray Kifer home in 11th.
Sunday was to be a crucial day in the makeup of the event with the task being 2 sections, each 120kms long. Robinson held a lead, but one mistake in the unforgiving terrain and it could be all over. Through the first lap he held his nerve, extending his lead over Uren with Agrela picking up the pace to clock in 3rd quickest. The mornings section would be one of attrition as we lost the #54 of Troy Higgins, #53 of Corey Howell, the class leading #1032 of Peter Barrett was out with gearbox issues as well as Greg Pickersgill, Michael Nollas, Terry Hosking and Gus Lacey all not completing the lap.
The final section saw Beau Robinson and Shane Hutt take off for one final lap and the once again showed they were the class of the field. Extending the lead again to bring home an emphatic victory. The OBR team running out winners by just under 6 minutes. Harleigh Uren took home a strong 2nd outright with Troy Schoen flying the flag for the buggies sealing 3rd outright and 1st in Pro Buggy. Brent Smoothy claimed 4th outright with Darren Agrela and Ryan Barton bringing their Jimco home in 5th to take 2nd in class for the event, but also their maiden WAORC outright championship win!
Mal Yeardley claimed 1st in Prolite and 8th outright whilst Colin Bevan claimed the SXS Turbo victory in 9th outright. The #1050 of Ben and Luke Erceg were the Sportslite class winners in 16th outright whilst Jason Galea and Kiera Piercy were 1st in SXS Sport in 19th. Local competitor Peter Mellington took a popular 1st in Super 1650 whilst Mark Murray and Graeme Bentink won Extreme 4wd and Production 4wd respectively
Full results can be found here
With the season now wrapped up we expect to be announcing the 2020 Western Australian Off Road Racing Championship calendar soon
Photos by Peregrine Precision Aerial Photography