After a mid-season hiatus, the Yamaha Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) picked back up at rounds five and six of the series contested at a challenging and technical Kyogle venue over the weekend.Organisers presented a course that featured everything from rocky creek beds, to loamy single track and faster, flowing sections that challenged all riders and the high intensity sprint format on both days had riders pushing their limits but again Yamaha riders performed well, and many are well placed in the championship at the half way stage.
Josh Green entered the weekend under an injury cloud after sustaining a wrist injury at the Hattah Desert race just a couple of weeks ago. The hard jarring on the rocky terrain wasn’t doing Green’s wrist any favours but he gritted his teeth and soldiered on all weekend to keep his championship aspirations alive.
Green finished fourth outright on both days riding his Yamaha WR450F and second in the E2 (450cc) class. He sits second in class after six rounds, some 18 points behind series leader, Daniel Milner. With a few weeks break leading into the next round, it will give Green valuable time for his wrist to recover and hit the second half of the championship at full strength.
“The weekend was tough, so I was happy to get through unscathed and earn some good points towards the championship,” Green offers. “Riding on a softer surface like sand would have been much easier on my wrist than a course littered with rocks but that’s what off road is about, and I just had to get through as best I could.
“The bike was awesome out there and as always the team did a great job preparing everything. We have about three weeks until Broken Hill, so the priority will be to get my wrist strong and in much better shape before then.”
Luke Styke had a mixed weekend at Kyogle, struggling to find his grove on Saturday but rebounding exceptionally well on Sunday. Styke couldn’t come to grips with the rocky surface on Saturday and spluttered to an eighth place finish outright and a disappointing fourth in the E1 class (250cc).
But he returned Sunday with renewed determination and increased his speed and intensity significantly over the previous day to be rewarded with third outright and the round victory in the E1 class.
After six rounds of the series, Styke leads the E1 category by 13 points over his nearest rival but understands that an off day can do damage to his championship lead and with five rounds remaining, there is still plenty of racing to come.
“Saturday was terrible! I rode badly, didn’t have any flow, was second-guessing myself and making a lot of mistakes that I just don’t usually make. I wasn’t happy with my riding or my results and I needed to get it sorted overnight.
“Sunday was far better and what I expect from myself. I was able to make better decisions with lines and ride a lot better and it showed in my speed and results. I aim to win my class and finish top three every round we do and I was able to get things back on track on Sunday and do that so it was a positive way to finish the weekend,” Styke ends.
E1 team mate Michael Driscoll also struggled with the Kyogle course was just off the pace of the class contenders all weekend. Despite not being at his best, Driscoll continued to fight all the way to the end and finished up inside the top 10 both days for outright honours, with third and fourth in class each day.
He is currently in fourth place in the E1 division but just 20 points separate the top four riders so this championship is a long way from being settled.
“I was just a bit off all weekend and with the four of us being evenly matched, all it takes is to be a couple of percent away from your best and you are off the podium.
“One of my weaknesses is riding on rocks and the dry river beds and after the weekend, it is something I will focus on more and will be better at next time we are here.
“The next few rounds are on softer surfaces which I prefer so I will really need to step it up at the coming rounds to challenge for the E1 championship,” Driscoll explains.
Yamaha riders also did well in a range of classes over the weekend. Jess Gardiner and Emilie Karlsson continue their 1-2 domination of the Women’s championship after another excellent result on the weekend. Both Women are 1-2 in the championship respectively, with Gardiner yet to lose a round.
Blake Hollis maintained his unbeaten record in the J4 class for 13-15 years junior riders on his YZ250FX. Hollis splits his time between off road and motocross and enjoys the challenge of both discipline’s but excels when the going gets tough in the bush.
Former off road champ, Kirk Hutton, made another appearance at the AORC, this time contested the Masters’ division for over 45 riders. Hutton, showed he is still more than capable on a dirt bike and raced his Yamaha WR450F to victory in the Masters’ class on both days.
E1 – 250cc
1st Luke Styke – 140 (Yamaha WR250F)
2nd Lyndon Snodgrass – 127
3rd Fraser Higlett – 123
4th Michael Driscoll – 120 (Yamaha WR250F)
E2 – 450cc
1st Daniel Milner – 150
2nd Josh Green – 132 (Yamaha WR450F)
3rd Jeremy Carpentier – 109 (Yamaha WR450F)
1st Jess Gardiner – 150 (Yamaha WR250F)
2nd Emilie Karlsson – 124 (Yamaha WR250F)
3rd Emma Milesevic – 120
Juniors – J4
1st Blake Hollis – 150 (Yamaha YZ250FX)
2nd Mackenzie Johnson – 128
3rd Zac Perry - 107
Round 5 – Kyogle
1st Daniel Sanders – E3
2nd Daniel Milner – E2
3rd Fraser Higlett – E1
4th Josh Green - E2 (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing)
5th Beau Ralston – E3
6th Lyndon Snodgrass – E1
7th Michael Driscoll – E1 (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing)
8th Luke Styke – E1 (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing)
9th Andrew Wilksch – E3
10th Jeremy Carpentier – E2
1st Daniel Sanders
2nd Daniel Milner
3rd Luke Styke (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing)
4th Josh Green (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing)
5th Lyndon Snodgrass
6th Fraser Higlett
7th Beau Ralston
8th Michael Driscoll (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing)
9th Andrew Wilksch
10th Kyron Bacon