By TC Media.
Pics courtesy of Show N Go Photography and Capture the Dog Photography.
Zac Marsh #614 has been rewarded for his finest season to date by claiming the 2023 ARB Mickey Thompson Queensland Off Road Championship, courtesy of last month’s outright victory at the Mt. Larcom Short Course.
Trailing the DRELLS Run Racing father and son duo of Darren 689S and Luke Brandon 690S in the outright standings heading into the Queensland finale, it was the experience of Marsh who shone the brightest to take home the state’s highest honour.
After missing the Dalby event due to prior commitments and experiencing dramas at Goondiwindi, Marsh’s championship winning campaign was buoyed by outright victories at Federal and Mt.Larcom, plus a spirited second at Burdekin.
Luke Brandon #690s held the championship lead late in the season behind the wheel of his Polaris thanks to a year of superb consistency; highlighted by a third outright finish at Moranbah, young Brandon finished just 15 points adrift of QLD glory in second.
In a family affair to round out the 2023 Queensland Off Road Championship outright podium, Darren Brandon 689s who secured the lead at the penultimate round in Bowen finished a mere 3 points behind his son Luke in third; a massive achievement for the DRELLS Run Racing duo who both completed every lap of the seven round championship.
SPLITS Racing’s Tony Patterson #6175s debuted his new Polaris RZR Pro R in style at Moranbah, a career best second outright finish was followed by a third at Mt.Larcom, lifting Patterson to fourth in the standings despite not competing at both Dalby and Goondiwindi.
Highlighted by a final round fourth outright result at Mt. Larcom Kane Prechelt #694s performed consistently all season, other strong performances at Dalby and Burdekin saw the Polaris campaigner round out the Queensland top five.
All classes were once again closely contested across Queensland in 2023; Aaron Phillis #44 claimed Ultimate honours courtesy of wins at Federal and Dalby in his Superboot, surviving Burdekin champion Talbot Cox #16 and Michael Marson #32 for class supremacy.
Class 1 was dominated by David Loughnan #104 in his newly acquired Erceg Engineering Honey Badger, the former Class 6 frontrunners season was highlighted by a class win at Dalby and a constant run of solid results. Queensland Class 1 veteran Tony Fehlhaber #138 scored wins at the Don River Dash and Burdekin to hold down second place, holding off young gun Trent Callander #127 who himself claimed class wins at Moranbah and Goondiwindi for third place in the yearlong standings.
Colin Gaven #295A turned the tables on his Milk Boys Racing teammate from 2022, class wins at Federal, Dalby and Mt. Larcom locked up the Class 2 championship, prevailing over last years champion Mark Andrew #295 and Taylor Teichmann #236 in second and third respectively.
Gold Coaster Jamie Henderson #477 secured a maiden Class 4 championship, with North Queenslanders Steven Von Pein #422 and Rob Wearing #466 rounding out the Trophy Truck class. Tyler Youman #527 defended his Class 5 title, dominating his rivals with four victories from five appearances in 2023, Tony Butler #520 and Matt Gardiner #589 filled the remaining podium spots.
Outright champion Zac Marsh #614 spearheaded the hotly contested Class 6 brigade from post to pillar, three triumphs over six rounds secured class supremacy, newcomer Tyson Howard #6168 who finished second outright at Dalby, and Richard Tassin #691 who was victorious at the same event locked down second and third.
In the closest class battle of the year, DRELLs Run Racing’s Luke #690s and Darren Brandon #689s in respective order survived a late surge by Kane Prechelt #694s to take out the Class 6s silverware; in an extremely tight battle across all rounds only 72 points separated the three Polaris competitors.
Ross Newman made it back to back Queensland Class 66 triumphs, the Warwick based journeyman piloted his Yamaha to top spot over North Queenslanders Nigel Pearce #6608 and Brad Hancock #6671.
Jack Huxstep #711 launched his offroad career with a dream result, highlighted by a final round win at Mt Larcom Huxstep was able to conquer Stephen Blake #724 and Hank Parker #798 in his Pajero for the Class 7 crown.
Rob Stieber #1082 capped off a brilliant season in his Southern Cross by claiming Class 10 honours, aided by wins at Moranbah and Mt. Larcom, whilst last years champion Steven Orr #1051 secured second, ahead of Jason Keane #1013 in third; a mere .3 of a point separating the latter two.
In one of the more memorable moments of the 2023 championship, Stuart Zlotkowski #811 and his iconic Brumby added the Class 8 championship to their list of career achievements courtesy of wins at Goondiwindi and the Don River. Zlotkowski held off the Patrol of Christian Trusz #816 who finished the year with two class wins, and last years champion Ross Challacombe #838 who rounded out the podium.
A sizeable contingent of Class 11 competitors hit the track across 2023, and no one did it better than James Sant #1144, Goondiwindi’s Symon Knight #1175 who finished an impressive third outright at the Don River Dash secured second, leapfrogging the Tatum of Ryan Jones #1111 who settled for third.
The Ladies championship was dominated by Kate Swinglehurst #631 who impressed many with her skills behind the wheel in 2023, four victories at Federal, Dalby, Goondiwindi and Mt. Larcom were the catalyst of her success, whilst defending champion Leila Chapman #616s snared second ahead of Anna Phillis #624.
Luke Brandon #690s capped off an unforgettable campaign by being awarded the Junior champion, second place getter Kye Camilleri #666 claimed a superb Class 6 victory at Goondiwindi whilst Mackay’s Trent Callander #127 held firm for third.
The Future Champions Class was again well supported across the state in 2023, five competitors took to the track with young gun Toby Musico #6688 continuing his rapid rise coming out on top after victories at Moranbah, Dalby and Mt. Larcom. Hollie Gardiner #6689 made it consecutive runner up finishes after a terrific year of racing in her Polaris, while newcomer Lincoln Wilcox #717 dialled in third; other little off-roaders to hit the dirt were Mitchell Jones #6631 and Cooper Pearce #6608.
Victories at Federal and Mt. Larcom laid the platform for Zac Marsh’s #614 Short Course success, he finished the four rounds ahead of Tony Patterson #6175s and Luke Brandon #690s for the Queensland title.
Clayton Chapman #15 placed down two strong performances to secure the shortened Queensland Enduro Series, a breakthrough triumph at Goondiwindi left the multiple time Queensland champion with a comfortable advantage over Talbot Cox #16 and Trent Callander #127 in second and third.
The Queensland Off Road Racing Championship would again like to thank their major naming right sponsors ARB and Mickey Thompson Tyres for their strong partnership in 2023, whilst expressing full gratitude towards the remaining championship sponsors, Dynamic Wheel Co, Lucas Papaw Remedies, Premium Soil Conditioners and Fertilisers, Comiskey Mining Services, North Lakes Best Western, plus Polaris Farm & Garden Produce.
The ARB Mickey Thompson Queensland Off Road Racing Championship will now turn its attention this Saturday nights annual presentation at North Lakes Hotel, with the 2024 season set to launch at the ‘St George Region 330’, for Round 1 of the Queensland Enduro Series.