After a long off season that included a fact finding mission to Europe to work alongside and share information with the Outriders Yamaha in France team that proved invaluable, the Active8 Yamalube Yamaha crew are fired up and ready to go for the AORC season opener this weekend.
Leading the team again will be experienced campaigner and multi time national champion, Josh Green. Green will contest the E2 (450cc) class in 2018 and is out to make it his best season yet after an off season filled with extensive testing and a rigorous off bike program.
“The off season has been good for the team and myself and we have really had the time to take a good look at things and make some improvements to the way we go about it,” Green explains. “I feel fitter and fresher than I ever have as I have made changes to my training and diet as well as the bike is awesome.
“We had a hit out at the first round of the Queensland series a couple of weeks ago and I was able to get the win there and rode well so its time now we put all this behind the scenes work into practice and start chasing another championship,” Green ends.
Alongside Green will be former motocross and supercross champion, Luke Styke, who will make his AORC debut this weekend at Gympie. Styke will cover the team E1 role (250cc) as he learns the ropes of the off-road world but already has adapted to the change of environment and is eager to get his season under way this weekend.
“The change to off road has really worked for me and I’m excited every morning to get up and ride my bike,” Styke begins. “I have had to learn so much in a short period of time as there is a huge difference between motocross and off road and I understand there is still so much more I need to learn but the only way I can do that now is in racing and experiencing things as they happen in race conditions.
“The pre-season race here in Queensland went pretty well and I was able to pick up on a few things there and I hope continue to develop at each round. It’s a new start for me and I’m looking forward to it,” Styke said.
Unfortunately, missing in action this weekend will be Wil Ruprecht. Slated to ride the E2 class with Green after winning the E1 class in 2017, Ruprecht fell recently injuring his shoulder and is off the bike for the next four to six weeks but is already religiously following his rehab to be back on the bike as soon as possible.
“Apart from Wil’s injury, I think we are set and ready to go,” says team manager, AJ Roberts. ‘The off season hasn’t been easy in many ways but as a team we are all desperate to get back to the races and we love what we do.
“Josh is in good form and is really motivated to make 2018 his best year while Luke is raw but I have never worked with someone so excited to go racing. He will make life interesting with his enthusiasm alone and that as rubbed off on everyone in the team.
“We would like to be at full strength but injuries are part of the sport and Wil is sidelined for a month with his shoulder. All going well, he will be back for the A4DE as well as rounds three and four of the AORC.”
To view a video of the team preparing for the 2018 season: https://youtu.be/UmceWCBRZjs
Also on hand this weekend is the popular bLU cRU assist truck to help support Yamaha riders at national off-road events. There is parts assistance and off-road knowledge available for Yamaha riders participating at these events and they are welcome to call on the expertise available to make the most of their off-road experience.
Working from the bLU cRU assist truck and under the eye of the Active8 Yamalube Yamaha team will be the 2017 EJ (u19) champion, Michael Driscoll. Driscoll proved a revelation last season after switching over from junior motocross to off-road and securing a national championship in his first attempt.
“I’m stoked to be back on Yamaha and have increased support from Yamaha Motor Australia, Active8 Yamaha as well as the bLU cRU assist truck. Last season was amazing for me and I achieved every goal I set for myself so this year I have set my goals higher and have worked even harder to reach them and hopefully, that all starts this weekend at Gympie,” Driscoll said.
This weekend sees the opening two rounds on Saturday and Sunday ran in the sprint format with action getting underway early each day.