Aaron and Chelsea Haby have won the 2022 Can-Am Loveday 400 after another brilliant day behind the wheel. The South Australians produced a faultless performance throughout the fourth round of the 2022 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) season, eventually charging out to a victory of almost 12 minutes.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Haby said. “It’s a very proud moment for the team. The car was built in Australia and it’s absolutely brilliant. I am actually feeling pretty good physically, I could go out and do a few more laps to be honest. Being my home track would have been an advantage in the early stages, however once you do that first lap, you pretty much know where to go. Overall though, it’s fantastic. I am absolutely stoked and doing it with my daughter was fantastic.”
While the Habys were in a league of their own and cruised their home course, behind them there was plenty of attrition that saw the podium change multiple times.
Finishing the event in second place was another South Australian crew in Brad and Paris Gallard, while Garry and Tamara Turnbull rounded out the podium – the latter’s first AORC podium in more than 30 years.
Both the Gallards and Turnbull were handed the unexpected podium in the final section of the race after Ryan Taylor and Kye Floyd suffered electrical issues, while Shannon and Ian Rentsch’s Pro Buggy eventually fell victim to overheating.
It was a cruel blow to both of AORC title campaigns, although Taylor was able to get his car back in motion and finish the event. Rentsch on the other hand was towed back to the paddock.
With the rain causing plenty of drama across Sunday, there were a handful of drivers able to navigate their way through the fast degrading course to bank solid points.
Just missing out on the podium were Mel and Liam Brandle, who crossed the chequered flag in fourth place outright and with the Pro Lite class win – marking a dominant day for South Australian crews.
West Australians Brent Smoothy and Reece Burgess ended up taking out fifth outright, along with the Extreme 2WD runner-up placing, despite receiving a five-minute penalty for a false start in section five.
Many crews struggled throughout the weekend, but some managed to recover to get a good finish, including 2019 AORC runner-up Roydn Bailey, who alongside Tyson Warner, found himself in sixth after overcoming a rough start to the event.
It was a similar story for AORC championship leaders Jake and Kate Swinglehurst, who had looked down and out after problems in Prologue and sections one and two, but recovered nicely for a trouble free run on Sunday to finish seventh outright.
Making up the rest of the outright top 10 was Performance 2WD winners Chris Pickert and Byron Brown, Ally Howells and Sarah Corrigan in ninth and Pooncarie Desert Dash winners Taylor and Floyd.
Like Swinglehurst, Taylor’s finish was a decent recovery after his campaign looked over on the ninth lap – however the duo’s quick fix on the car helped them finish and secure some important points.
Just missing out on a top 10 finish was Josh Wiedman and Steven Walten, however the youngster didn’t walk away empty handed, finishing with KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship honours.
“I feel good. It’s been a long time coming and it was nice to finally have a run where we didn’t break down and actually finished for once,” Wiedman said. "I am pretty thieved. That last lap was the slowest I have ever done so I just babying home so I could finish.”
Behind him on the championship podium was Glen Akroyd and Michael Price, while James Cook and Mitch Aucote managed to secure third place after a difficult Saturday.
Other class winners included Rod and Kodi Visser in Sportslites and Connor Corrigan, who was the fastest Super 1650 buggy alongside Ryder Taylor.
Walkinshaw Performance’s Warren Luff and Anthony Ramunno also secured their first Production 4WD drive class after finishing nine of the 10 laps.
The next round on the AORC calendar is the Hindmarsh Shire Rainbow Desert Enduro on 2-4 September.
Photos: Rob Taylor