The 2022 Western Australian Off Road Racing Championship has gotten off to a fantastic start after 2 entertaining days of racing action. A record field of 52 competitors took the start, with a lot of anticipation to see how the championship chase would start. Both of the 2021 title protagonists were there, with current champion Jayden Grewar ready to defend his crown and the runner up Jared Percival looking to go one better. Throw in the spectacular Harleigh Uren, as well as former event winner Shane Elphinstone and front runners Trewhella and Rowett, the field was stacked!
Saturday morning saw a prologue which was run over an 18km course. Harleigh Uren was the victor, setting a scintillating time of 10:42.2, some 32.2 seconds quicker than the next best time of Trewhella. This would net him the Off Road Rush WA Hotlap award for the quickest prologue time. There was a big casualty however, with the #44 of Elphinstone hitting a fence and not finishing his run. Throughout the classes Percival was the quickest prolite, whilst Grewar put the SXS field on notice by going quickest in class by nearly 30 seconds. Nicholas Van Geest was the fastest of the Extreme 4wds whilst Bentink and Holt lead their class battles.
Section 1 on Saturday afternoon was a single 72km lap and with a generous 90 second gap between starters, there was a big chance to make up time on the rest of the field without there being too much dust. Uren backed up his prologue run to storm to away from the field, going quickest by just under a minute ahead of Dave Rowett who leapfrogged Trewhella into 2nd place. Percival held a slim advantage over Ryan Print who was having a stellar run in his prolite. Grewar held the SXS Pro lead, with Matt Dec charging hard and claiming 2nd place in class just over a minute behind with Mal Yeardley lurking a further 5 seconds back in 3rd. Mark Murray resolved his earlier issues from prologue to quickest in Extreme 4wd. Aaron Dark had a good lap in his Super 1650 and he was shadowing the leading Sportslite of Aaron Gates. Graham Bentink was flying the flag for the Production 4wd with Greg Pickersgill having an eventful but successful run in this new Performance 2wd Toyota
Sunday Morning would see some big changes amongst the field as 2 laps of the Perenjori course threw up many challenges. Harleigh Uren blazed through the first lap, but soon saw his race end with transmission issues. Matt Dec also came through lap 1 in the lead of SXS Pro overtaking Grewar who had a flat tyre, but unfortunately for Dec his scintillating run came to an end when he rolled the #611 Canam X3. Mr consistency Jared Percival locked in again as the quickest Prolite whilst his closest rival Print would not finish due to a split fuel tank. In his debut race Jake Montgomery was impressing everyone piloting his SXS Pro to be the quickest in the section and vault himself into contention for a class win. But the main man was Shane Elphinstone who powered through the field passing nearly 10 cars in 1 lap on his way to the quickest time. This also left Elphinstone an outside chance for the race win, being a little over 6 minutes away from the new race leader on corrected time, being Adam Trewhella
There was drama before the final section even started. Whilst gridding up the #44 machine, electrical dramas put the Elphinstone duo out of the race. Trewhella who was now first on the road, took the race by the scruff of the neck and made it his own, powering to the fastest section time and locking in first outright in the process. For the Trewhella team, many years of trying and countless hours in the shed has paid off and few could argue that if he puts together a full season, the man they call Borneo is a real championship contender. Dave Rowett could only go 4th quickest in the section, but still claimed 2nd outright with Jared Percival claiming 3rd outright in his Prolite. Mark Murray put in a very impressive run, 2nd fastest outright time for section 3 leaving him in 4th outright. Jayden Grewar atoned for his earlier flat tyre to seal another SXS Pro class victory, followed by Montgomery and Yeardley. Pickersgill claimed 1st in Performance 2wd and a handy 22nd outright with Aaron Gates also delight to win the Sportslite Class. Aaron Dark brought the #293 Super 1650 home to win the class with Dorian Dark who was the youngest navigator in the field pointing the way home
With the McPhee Freight, Gturbo Perenjori 360 now done and dusted, the scene is set for the Gascoyne Dash to provide some awesome racing action as Round 2 of the 2022 WAORC. If the record field for the largest ever Perenjori event being broken is a sign of anything to come, 2022 is going to be a very exciting one for off road racing in Western Australia
Full event results can be found here