The 2024 Australian Off-Road Championships (AORC) will again see a massive Yamaha presence, with Yamaha Motor Australia continuing its long and successful naming rights of the championship as well as supporting a host of riders and teams for the 2024 season.For over 20 years, Yamaha Australia has been a major player in the Australian Off Road Championship and that will continue for 2024 as again the bLU cRU have taken up the naming rights of the long standing championship. Another 12 rounds over six weekends are scheduled and taking in some of the best riding terrain in the country with the nations’ best off-road pilots.
Spearing Yamaha’s presence at the AORC will be the ShopYamaha off Road Team of Kyron Bacon and Wil Dennett. The two young guns of Australian enduro racing will be out to make their presence felt with Bacon contesting the E1 division (250cc) while Dennett steps up to handle the E2 duties (450cc).
Tasmanian based sensation, Kyron Bacon is fit, fast and motivated to get his AORC number 1 plate back after an injury interrupted 2023 season. Bacon took the E1 and outright honours in 2022, but a broken leg mid-way through the 2023 season halted any chance of retaining the crown, but to his credit, he still managed to charge his way back to a podium position by seasons end and finish the year on a strong note.
He is under no illusion of what lays ahead of him with the return of Daniel Milner to Australian racing and the improvement in riders like Jonte Reynders and Wil Dennett, but Bacon is ready to get to work.
“Last year had some challenges but it also had a lot of positive things I can take from it and I’m fired up and ready to get racing in 2024,” Bacon begins. “I’m well and truly over my injury and riding well and have already spent a few days with the team testing and preparing for the new season.
“I missed a couple of rounds last year and even though Josh Green has retired, the depth of this years’ championship looks even better. Having Daniel back will be great for the championship and his profile can only add to the AORC and I look forward to racing not just him, but all the other riders in this years’ championship and doing my best to keep the number one plate on Yamaha for another year,” Bacon said.
Alongside Bacon will be Wil Dennett who steps into the E2 division after the retirement of long-time racer, Josh Green. But make no mistake, Dennett earned his way onto the premier team with some sensational performances in the Under 19 class in 2023, that included plenty of Outright podiums and top five results.
Racing with bLU cRU support in 2023, Dennett was comfortably the most improved rider in last years’ championship and the steep learning curve looks set to stay with his progression to the ShopYamaha team and under the guidance of AJ Roberts.
“I have been a Yamaha rider for a long time and it’s awesome that I have been able to work my way up through the ranks with their support and make it to the premier team,” Dennett says with enthusiasm. “Last year was awesome for me, and it was topped off when AJ called at the end of the season and offered me a ride. I’m not sure who was more stoked, me or my dad.
“I have to keep working hard and I have big shoes to fill with Josh retiring but I’m looking forward to it. The extra support from the team gives me more time to ride and train, my bikes will be better prepared, and I have worked hard over the off season to improve my riding and fitness, so I will be ready for the opening rounds.”
Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off-Road Racing
Jess Gardiner and her team are back for another season and looking to keep the momentum going from a successful 2024 season that saw her and Danielle McDonald win their respective championships as well as finish on the podium in the worlds team championships (ISDE) in Argentina.
Continuing with a three-rider outfit that will now see McDonald join Gardiner in the senior women’s class after dominating the junior girls while Jeremy Carpentier will fly the flag in the E2 class on the WR450F.
Gardiner will be gunning for ninth AORC championship, but it is highly likely, her main opposition will be parked right beside her in the JGR tent. Gardiner has been a mentor for McDonald over the past few seasons, but this year, they go head-to-head over 12 rounds. Will it be the gritty determination of the veteran in Gardiner that climbs the mountain again, or the young, fast and stylish McDonald that brings the Gardiner train to a halt?
For Carpentier, the all new WR450F has been like a breath of fresh air and he has gelled with the bike the moment he threw a leg over it. The light, agile and exciting new model that was built for Australian conditions has Carpentier charged up for the new season and ready to create some damage in the E2 class.
Yamaha bLU cRU Support
A new layer of support was introduced by Yamaha for the 2023 and the success was instant. The three-rider team of Cooper Sheidow, Wil Dennett and Jett Yarnold finished the year with two AORC championships and a third place in an outstanding debut. The support given to Wil Dennett enabled him to move up to the ShopYamaha team while Sheidow and Yarnold return for another season with Yamaha bLU cRU Support.
Sheidow is the current E1 champion after a consistent and impressive start to his time on Yamaha. He was in the heat of the battle right from the opening round, filled in for the inured Bacon with the ShopYamaha team and when the pressure was on at the final round, Sheidow kept his composure and secured the championship for himself and Yamaha.
The South Australian rider established himself on the national scene in 2023 and with a season under his belt on Yamaha as well as the continued support of the ShopYamaha team, expect Sheidow to continue his upward trend in the 2024 season.
Yarnold stepped out of juniors and made in an immediate impact, taking third in the EJ (under 19 championship), and finishing on the podium at most rounds. Yarnold adapted well to the team surroundings and will enter this year’s championships as one of the favourites in the development category.
GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing
Yamaha Junior Racing made the move into off road racing in 2023 with the two-rider line up of Marcus Nowland and Harley Hutton. Both return for 2024 with YJR support and will continue to fly the flag at AORC events.
Hutton won multiple rounds in 2023 and showed he is the real deal when it comes to off road despite his young age. He will again contest the J2 (85cc) class for 2024 and will be out to get the number one plate on his YZ85.
For Nowland, he had an up and down year but gained valuable experience in his first year on the bigger capacity bikes. Now settled and comfortable on the 250cc machine, Nowland will be aiming for the top as he embarks on the new season.
The 2024 AORC gets under way in March and will run 12 rounds ending in September.