The 2020 Yamaha Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) roars to life this weekend when over 250 riders converge on Toowoomba in Queensland for the opening round of the championship, in what promises to be another exciting year in racing.Yamaha Racing will again be out in full force with a host of teams and riders amped for the event and ready to lay down their claims for the 2020 season, headlined with the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing Team of Josh Green and Luke Styke, contesting the E2 (450cc) and E1 (250cc) classes respectively.
Styke is the current E1 champion and looking to make it three championships in a row following on from his success in 2018 and 2019. And while he may have plenty of titles to his name, Styke strives to be better each season and his pre-season training and form has shown no signs of complacency as he continues to shake things up and find ways to improve.
“I have made a few changes to the way I go about things, the biggest is moving back from Queensland to Nowra where I can get more riding and training done and have the support of my family around me.
“Being an athlete can be selfish and with a wife and a toddler, we needed more support around them so the move back home was good and everyone has been really happy being back at Nowra. There is also so much more riding around here then where I was on the Gold Coast so its been a win both on and off the bike and I expect that to show up in our results this season,” Styke said.
Josh Green had a recent scare after a nasty fall saw him hospitalised overnight when he and a tree had an altercation but scans revealed nothing major had been damaged and he just needed to rest his beaten body from the impact.
One week later and Green is back on the bike and resuming his preparations for the opening round. While not an ideal lead into the opening round, Green is a seasoned veteran and has learned to roll with the punches in racing but with a good, solid base of training leading up to his incident and will come out firing at the opening weekend.
“Look, smashing a tree at top speed isn’t a great preparation for any race but considering what happened and what we thought was going to happen, to be back on the bike and riding prior to round one is a win for me. My body was battered and sore, but I had a ride over the weekend, and I felt pretty good on the bike.
“Apart from that, my pre-season had been going really well. There is a stability in the bikes and the team which means our base is strong and I kept working hard through the Christmas period so I’m fit and ready to go,” Green offers.
Heading up the bLU cRU support program are two of the up and coming stars of Australian Off Road, Michael Driscoll and Blake Hollis. Driscoll is a two time winner of the Under 19 class and finished his finish pro season in fourth place contesting the E1 division. After a successful 2019 ISDE campaign where he raced the 450cc machine, Driscoll will make is Australian debut in the E2 class in 2020. His transition to the higher capacity bike has been seamless with his style and size well suited to the 450cc machine.
Hollis is fresh out of juniors and will fly the Yamaha flag in the Under 19 division in 2020. Hollis has been a high level motocross rider in his junior days and at the same take competing in the AORC, highlighted with a win in the Junior J4 division in 2018.
Other riders contesting the championship include Jeremy Carpentier, Stefan Granquist and Kyron Bacon, all of them established pro riders battling inside the top 10 in every AORC round and desperate for class success. While Kirk Hutton will be back in action in the Masters class.
In the women’s class, Jess Gardiner and Emilie Karlsson will be tough to beat and as they continue to be the form riders in the class, while Danielle Macdonald will compete in the junior girls class.
Remember the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing Team will host an information night for riders, families wishing to learn more about the ins and outs of professional off road racing and are happy to pass on their tricks of the trade, both in the workshop and out on the trail. Things get underway at 5pm on Friday at the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing Team rig.
The AORC action starts this weekend at Toowoomba, visit https://www.aorc.org.au/ for more details.