Stefan Merriman powering through the damp conditions
Ballards Wellard Yamaha Offroad Team

Yamaha Racing Battles Wet and Wild Conditions At Opening Rounds of AORC

16 Mar 2010

A wet and wild weekend greeted Yamaha riders for the opening two rounds of the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) held at Port Macquarie over the weekend.

The double header weekend, with round one on Saturday and round two on Sunday was a real test of man and machine as the water logged conditions pushed bikes and riders to the limit. Yamaha riders posted some impressive results as the 2010 championship sets off on the eastern seaboard.

SATURDAY – Round 1
Stefan Merriman (Ballards Yamaha) headed the Yamaha charge on Saturday taking second place in the championship E2 class and landed in a very respectable third outright for the day. Merriman used all his experience from winning world off road championships to get his bike and body through the challenging day and leave himself well placed early in the series.

“It was tough out there today and the conditions became extremely wet and rutted. Being the opening round, it was just a matter of using your head, keeping the bike on two wheels and making the most of the sloppy conditions,” said the wily veteran.

Merriman was ably backed up in the E2 class by Josh Ballard (Ballards Yamaha) who put in a consistent performance to take eighth in class.

Yamaha took out the Championship Masters (over 45) with Geoff Ballard (Ballards Yamaha) racking up another win. Like Merriman, Ballard has a world of experience in his gear bag and put it to good use to claim the overall round win and put himself on top of the leader board early in the 12 round championship.

Other notable Yamaha performances came from Ben Burrell (Ballards Yamaha) and Kristian Sprenger (Pro Yamaha) taking fourth and fifth respectively in the E1 division. Tom McCormack (Pro Yamaha) slotted into eighth place in the same category.

Kirk Hutton (Ballards Yamaha) rode his big bore WR450F to fifth place in the E3 class while the girls had a tough day with Jessica Gardiner (Ballards Yamaha) in fourth and Jemma Wilson (Caboolture MC) in the back half of the top 10.

Dylan Hickling (Northstar Yamaha) finished out the day third in the junior class.

Round 1 – OUTRIGHT RESULTS

Rider

Class

Manufacturer

1st Toby Price

E2

KTM

2nd Ben Grabham

E3

KTM

3rd Stefan Merriman

E2

Yamaha

4th Jarrod Bewley

E1

KTM

5th Mitcham Harper

E3

Husaberg

6th Jason Davis

E2

KTM

7th Geoff Braico

E3

Husaberg

8th Josh Green

E3

KTM

9th Daniel McCoy

E2

KTM

10th Kirk Hutton

E3

Yamaha


SUNDAY – Round 2

Overnight rain ensured the wet and soggy conditions continued on Sunday and officials even had to alter the days course because of the amount of rain in the region. Thankfully there was no rain throughout the day and the riders were able to deal with the trying conditions.

Geoff Ballard again lead from the front taking the round win in the Masters class, only this time he was matched in the results by the Yamaha girls. Jemma Wilson and Jessica Gardiner returned to form and took the Womens class on Sunday with a 1-2 finish.

Dylan Hickling also made the top step of the podium in the junior class, topping off a great weekend for the young rider from the Gold Coast who is a top contender in junior motocross events around the country.

Stefan Merriman and Josh Ballard mirrored their Saturday results again taking second and eighth for the round in the E2 division.

Yamaha riders also posted top results in the E1 class with three riders inside the top 10. Ben Burrell took third in class for the round, two places ahead of Tom McCormack in fifth and Kristian Sprenger in eighth.

Kirk Hutton didn't compete in Sundays program as he rushed back to Brisbane to be with his wife Leigh who went into labour in the early hours of Sunday morning. They welcomed a baby boy into the world at 2.30pm Sunday afternoon.

Round 2- OUTRIGHT RESULTS

Rider

Class

Manufacturer

1st Toby Price

E2

KTM

2nd Jarrod Bewley

E1

KTM

3rd Daniel Milner

E1

Suzuki

4th Ben Burrell

E1

Yamaha

5th Stefan Merriman

E2

Yamaha

6th Ben Grabham

E3

KTM

7th Jason Davis

E3

KTM

8th Anthony Roberts

E2

Honda

9th Blake Hore

E3

Yamaha

10th Karl Power

E1

KTM

Rounds three and four of the Yamaha Australia Off Road Championship hit the rolling fields of Conondale's Green Park on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland on May 1 -2. All Yamaha riders will be looking to build on a solid start to the championship.

For more information and full results on the Yamaha Australia Off Road Championships, log onto http://www.aorcracing.com.au/

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