After more than 20 years of competing in the CAMS Australian Motorkhana Championship, Aaron Wuillemin has finally become a national champion.
With more than 50 competitors taking on 12 tests at the Bendigo Car Club’s Bendigo Livestock exchange, Wuillemin proved too strong for the competition and was locked in a tight battle with 2018 winner Corinne East-Johnstone for much of the day.
The duo exchanged test wins in the first half of the event, but some costly errors to the reigning champion just after lunch saw her lose valuable ground leading into the final three tests, while her rival continued to build momentum.
Despite East-Johnstone continuing the fight to defend her title with three strong final tests, it was all in vain as the eventual champion, who barely put a foot wrong all day, secured the title with a test remaining.
Coming in third place after a thrilling final test was six-time champion Scott Bennett, a well-deserved effort after the West Australian suffered a gearbox issue earlier in the day and spent two-thirds of the event in a different car.
Following the victory, Wuillemin was thrilled to finally beak the duck of a national title.
"I am really happy to win. I have been trying to do this for a long time and finally we have managed to crack one," Wuillemin said.
"At the start of the day, we put brand new tyres on so we weren't sure what happened. When other people started making mistakes it was just a matter of continuing to be clean and not hitting anything.
"This is pretty cool. Finally, It's just nice to come away with a win for the first time.
"The monkey is off the back and so I can probably relax a little bit more and go hard at it and see if we can try and pick up a few more and try and beat Scott's record of six."
As for Bennett, he was just happy to make the top three after a mixed day.
"It's a bit of a surprise. I spent most of the day in someone else's car as ours broke this morning. I am pretty happy with that actually," Bennett said.
"I hit one marker and I stalled it and lost a bit of time. I think I lost about 15 seconds throughout the day so to be up within the top five is a surprise.
"Aaron has a had a very clean day and a big congratulations to him and he has been knocking on mine and Corinne's door for a very long time so it's great to see him win one."
More to come.