Dry, dusty and windy conditions greeted the riders at round seven of the Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) at the western New South Wales town of Broken Hill where the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube team were looking to consolidate their podium positions in the series.Contesting the always challenging Cross- Country format, the nations’ best off road riders faced nine laps of a demanding 20 minute course that pushed them to the brink physically and mentally.
Leading the charge for the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube team was Josh Green on board his WR450F. Green was a model of consistency all day as he navigated his way around the Australian outback on route to a fourth place finish outright and second in the E2 after three and a half hours of racing.
Mechanically, the day ran smoothly for Green and his Yamaha WR450F but the dry dirt and dusty conditions saw the experienced campaigner hit the deck a few times throughout the day. Yet, he soldiered on and was happy to keep his second place in the E2 (450cc) championship and pleased with his efforts.
“It was a demanding race in many ways,” Green begins. “Nine laps made the track quite rough and racing on dirt as dry and powdery as it was offered no traction at all. Then add the three hours of racing at high intensity and it makes for a real hard day at the office.
“Out of the nine laps, seven of them were in the 23minute area and I had two into the 24’s but that was because of crashes. They were nothing huge, but it just adds to the demanding nature of the day when you have to pick yourself and your bike up and get going again.
“But, I’m pretty happy to get out of here unscathed and hold my position in class,” Green ends.
Luke Styke was in fine form in the early stages of the round and had his WR250F singing in the opening laps. Styke was running inside the top three and not far from the lead pair for the first half of the event as well as leading the E1 (250cc) division.
But just past half way, the speed and intensity of the race began to take its toll as some mistakes crept into his riding. For the last four laps, he couldn’t replicate his opening burst and lost a couple of positions to slip to second in class and fifth outright.
“Today was tough,” said a drained Styke. “I wanted to run with Milner and Sanders for as long as I could, and I did that for the first half of the race but I crashed at one point and from then on I wasn’t able to regain the same speed and pace again.
“With the cross- country format, its like a three hour motocross race and I usually like that style of racing but I struggled with the conditions, especially the dry dirt and dust, once I lost my flow. I battled on as best I could do no better than second in class.
“I still lead the E1 class, but my goal is to win so I will need to go back and keep working hard to give myself the best chance for the remaining rounds.”
Fellow E2 rider and team mate, Michael Driscoll, wasn’t his usually speedy self on the weekend and had to settle for fourth in class and just outside the top 10 outright, in eleventh. Although extremely consistent all day, Driscoll was slightly off the pace of the front runners in the E1 division.
He finished the opening lap in fourth place and remained there for the rest of the day. His best lap came on lap two and then he mounted a late charge for the podium but ultimately came up six minutes short of the third placed rider.
“I just didn’t have the speed or the confidence to ride at the same pace as the guys up the front and was just the fourth place rider today. I tried a few different things, but nothing really made a difference. The reality is, I need to be better in conditions like this so it’s something I will have to work on so I’m far more competitive in the future.
“It’s a big effort to come all the way out here for a one day event, so thank you to the team and our sponsors for making all this happen.”
Other Yamaha supported riders also got to spray champagne from the Broken Hill podium included Kirk Hutton in the Masters class who took the class victory, Jess Gardiner and Emilie Karlsson with a 2-3 finish respectively in the Women’s division, Blake Hollis took the win in the J4 juniors while Jeremy Carpentier battled hard for third in the E2.
The Australian Off Road Calendar has the teams and riders all heading to South Australia for rounds eight and nine of the championship on August 31- September 1.
1st Luke Styke – 172 (Yamaha)
2nd Lyndon Snodgrass -162
3rd Fraser Higlett – 153
4th Michael Driscoll – 148 (Yamaha)
1st Daniel Milner – 185
2nd Josh Green – 164 (Yamaha)
3rd Jeremy Carpentier - 139 (Yamaha)
1st Daniel Sanders
2nd Daniel Milner
3rd Lyndon Snodgrass
4th Josh Green (Yamaha Active8 Yamaha)
5th Luke Styke (Yamaha Active8 Yamaha)
6th Fraser Higlett
7th Andrew Wilksch
8th Alexander Bolton
9th Jeremy Carpentier
10th Beau Ralston
11th Michael Driscoll (Yamaha Active8 Yamaha)
1st Lyndon Snodgrass
2nd Luke Styke (Yamaha)
3rd Fraser Higlett
4th Michael Driscoll (Yamaha)
1st Daniel Milner
2nd Josh Green (Yamaha)
3rd Jeremy Carpentier (Yamaha)