-- AORC arrives at Bulahdelah
Bulahdelah is well known for its off road riding, its big hills, loamy soil and good climate make it a great area for off road racing and the 2013 AORC championship round did not disappoint. After weeks of floods and a massive downpour the day before, made the enduro round on Saturday a battle of attrition and mental strength.
The clubman, masters and women’s riders were up first and it was really tough going.
"People were crashing everywhere, that downpour didn’t do us any favours." said a track official.
“The first lap was not too bad, but once the track started to get flogged out, creating massive bog holes, ruts as deep as my pegs and endless punishing whoops. I got bogged coming into the pits I was that beat up. The third lap I didn’t even feel like leaving the pits, I don’t feel as if I rode the final lap, I just survived it” were the words of one Clubman rider.
Towards the end of the clubman enduro the red flag came out as the Westpac rescue helicopter was called in to medivac an injured rider out. This tightened the field and made for some tight racing and some big crashes. Geoff Ballard took the win and was followed by Mark Cockerill then Robert Day.
Emelie Karlsson took out the women’s with an overall 4th outright fastest time followed by Jessica Gardiner and Kristie McKinnon. These girls definitely kept up with the boys through this tough event, with Emelie Karlsson and Jessica Gardiner coming in 4th and 5th outright respectively with Kristie Mckinnon coming in at 13th.
The pro/expert class started after the officials had added a nasty slippery hill just to test the riders even further.
KTM motorex rider Chris Hollis found a great return to form to take win followed by his KTM team mate Toby Price. Yamaha’s Daniel Milner came in third.
“The track got pretty flogged out, there were blokes running out of fuel, big whoops, and some massive stacks on the downhills, I even saw a bloke break his front wheel in half” Expert class rider Justin Mckinnon explained.
As the sun came up on Sunday morning every rider was absolutely stoked when the officials explained that the racing had been delayed for 30mins. They had to repair the track from yesterday’s racing.
“There is a god” claimed one of the riders as he limped gingerly back to his pits. ”I’m not feeling too bad, I hurt my knee yesterday and I have sore muscles but other than that I’m feeling good”. Off road racing legend Geoff Ballard said to me before Sundays sprints started, He won the masters class on Saturday and went on to win again on Sunday.
The sprints saw KTM team mates Hollis and Price battle it out again with some very fast times. No one could come close to them. Hollis won the first and fourth heat while Price won the second, third and fifth. Price got the fastest lap time of the event with a blistering 12:19:174.
Price took overall honours on Sunday followed by Hollis then Milner in third.
“This year is going to be a big one, I got 2nd on Saturday to team mate Chris Hollis and 1st today so it’s a great start to the season.” Price said.
“The sprints today were tough and to be honest a little scary, we were pushing really hard and there were a lot of places it could have gone really bad, but that’s the nature of racing enduro. It was a great event and a lot of fun.” KTM’s Chris Hollis said.
-- KTM Report
The new-look Motorex KTM Off Road Racing Team got its 2013 season off to a flying start with back-to-back round wins at the first round of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship at Bulahdelah, NSW.
The 12-round, 7-month championship is designed to reveal Australia’s fastest off-road racer and KTM pilots Chris Hollis and Toby Price have already served notice to the field, winning rounds one and two outright (respectively) and dominating their respective classes on both days.
KTM450EXC-mounted Hollis’ outright win came ahead of Price in Saturday’s 3-Hour Cross Country, while Price turned the tables on Sunday, launching his KTM500EXC to a narrow overall victory across Sunday’s five 12-minute sprint races.
The team’s E1 rider Ben Burrell fell afoul of the brutal humidity on Saturday, fading to third in class and ninth outright, but not before spectacularly elevating himself as high as second in class and 4th outright in the middle stages of the race.
Manager of the Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team and six-time Australian champion Brad Williscroft was very pleased with the efforts of his charges.
“What an awesome way to start the season,” said Williscroft. “The track this weekend was pretty brutal, and the humidity really added to the difficulty. Chris was in great form and all his fitness work really paid dividends in the hot conditions when a lot of other top guys hit the wall.
Benny Burrell was having a great race on Saturday until the cramps set in and still managed third in E1. Today he was still suffering the effects and couldn’t find his best, but Toby and Chris were really firing to win all five of the sprint races between them. There are a few teams raising the game this year and we wanted to step up as well. Chris and Toby are really pushing each other and we’re looking forward to an awesome year.”
Toby Price - “It was a great way to start the season for the Motorex KTM team. I got a decent start on Saturday but then the jet lag set in half way through and I started to cramp a little bit and finished second behind my team mate Chris Hollis who was on fire and going really, really well. My team made a great effort to get the bikes ready for Sunday and we came out with a win, although that last sprint was really tight! With just six seconds lead going into the final if I would have had one slip up anywhere the day would have been done. The 500EXC is working awesome and I had to try hard to keep in front of Chris. It should be a good battle this year. The gap between us in that first sprint today was less than 1 second – that’s one bit of wheel spin up a hill and you lose!"
Chris Hollis - “We had a challenging track to start on this weekend with a combination of roots, rocks, mud and technical sections, together with fast treed sections and water crossings - it was very mentally demanding with the hot conditions. I got out front early and was able to ride my own race and focus on keeping smooth. I got through the mud okay each time and did my own thing. It’s great to get that first win. I felt fast coming in but the other guys are always an unknown and you never know until that first round. But I backed myself and just tried to do my best and it all worked out pretty good. It was a good off-season and all the fitness and testing paid off. The bike was really good – just awesome up the hills and with the geometry and suspension settings I've chosen the handling is just spot-on."
Ben Burrell - “The results were up and down for me this weekend, but I learned a lot and will come away better able to prepare for the next one. I was going really well in the cross country until I hit the wall and fatigued with bad cramps in my legs and arms. It’s disappointing because I was up to fourth til over halfway when I started to struggle. Once I was dehydrated the second-last and last laps were so hard. I backed right off the pace and told myself to keep going because the main goal is to finish. Last night we were pouring in the energy drinks and stretching in the motel pool trying to get the cramps to go away but this morning I was pretty second-hand to be honest and struggled mentally. Backing up was a huge ask and even though I actually felt okay on the bike the times weren’t there. I hope to do a lot better in the next one."
Yamaha Australian Off Road Championship rounds 1-2, Bulahdelah:
3-Hour Cross Country Outright Seniors:
1. Chris Hollis 3:14:17:274
2. Toby Price 3:19:01:480
3. Daniel Milner 3:20:40:299
9. Ben Burrell 3:30:55:636
Sprint Outright Seniors
1. Toby Price – 1:02:13:646
2. Chris Hollis – 1:02:22:888
3. Daniel Milner – 1:03:22:097
4. Glenn Kearney – 1:03:43:481
5. Josh Green – 1:04:29:114
14. Ben Burrell – 1:07:57:905
-- Yamaha Report - Hollis takes down win in E1
CDR Yamaha’s young gun Daniel Milner rode his YZ250F to victory in rounds one and two of the 2013 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC), held this weekend at Harvey’s Chook Farm near Buledelah (NSW).
Milner, 22, from Lang Lang (VIC) dominated the Championship E1 Class in Saturday’s grueling three-hour cross-country and today’s five-lap sprint.
“My weekend was a bit up and down, but I got the job done,” Milner said.
“The track got ugly very quickly. It was rough with lots of sharp downhills in it that had sink holes that would steal our front wheels. It was pretty scary.
“I went out in the first heat today and did a pretty good time... I was a bit off [Toby Price] and [Chris Hollis] - they were both riding very fast this weekend.
“But I am happy to have won my class both days, it’s great to start the year with two wins.
“I think it’s going to be a close season between Glenn Kearney and I - I’m looking forward to battling with him.
“I can’t wait for the next rounds in Queensland at Warwick - they’re going to be fun.”
Milner said his YZ250F was working “a treat” all weekend, and he would only be making a few minor suspension changes before rounds three and four of the Yamaha AORC on April 6th and 7th.
“Our mechanics did a brilliant job this weekend,” Milner said. “The whole team worked perfectly, which was great - especially considering it was their first off-road event.
“The crew nailed it, even for the three-hour cross-country on Saturday, which can be a challenging race to pit for with the fuel stops and everything else.
“It was good to see my teammate, Stefan Merriman, have a better day today, too.
“He did a really good job this weekend, especially considering he was carrying two injuries from a training accident.
“He injured his knee and his hand, but he didn’t let the pain stop him out there. He was just gritting his teeth and going for it on the WR450F.”
Milner’s teammate, Stefan Merriman, finished the day third in the Championship E2 Class and sixth Outright.
Yamaha AORC Round 2
1. Toby Price (1:02:13:646) KTM
2. Chris Hollis (1:02:22:888) KTM
3. Daniel Milner (1:03:22:097) YAMAHA
4. Glenn Kearney (1:03:43.481
5. Josh Green (1:04:29.114) YAMAHA
6. Stefan Merriman (1:04:30.700) YAMAHA
7. Stefan Granquist (1:06:15.456) YAMAHA
8. Lachlan Stanford (1:06:19.372)
9. Scott Keegan (1:06:22.714)
10. Tom McCormack (1:06:43.428) YAMAHA
Daniel Milner (1:03:22:097) YAMAHA
Glenn Kearney (1:03:43:481)
Tom McCormack (1:06:28:021) YAMAHA
Chris Hollis (1:02:22:888) KTM
Josh Green (1:04:29:114) YAMAHA
Stefan Merriman (1:04:30:700) YAMAHA
Toby Price (1:02:13:646) KTM
Stefan Granquist (1:06:15:456) YAMAHA
Scott Keegan (1:06:22:714)
Emelie Karlsson (1:20:12:540) YAMAHA
Jessica Gardiner (1:21:23:060) YAMAHA
Tamara Gray (1:26:59:364) YAMAHA
-- Hollis wins AORC Opener
Today’s tough conditions of the opening round of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) were no match for the Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team boys, with Josh Green and Tom McCormack both finishing the grueling three-hour cross-country second in class and within the top-10 Outright.
Green, 22, and McCormack, 19, rode their WR450F and YZ250F to fourth and seventh Outright respectively and second in the Championship E2 and E1 classes.
Team manager AJ Roberts said he was “very proud” of his riders, who “did awesome”.
“A lot of people were saying it was the hardest race they’ve done in a long time,” Roberts said.
“The track was very rough, chopped out and slippery with bog holes to transverse.
“The boys are pretty knackered now, but they’ll be right by tomorrow - they are super fit.
“Tom ended up winning the Under 21 NSW state round and was second in E1 and seventh Outright, even though he ran out of fuel on his third lap and dropped two minutes.
“His fuel consumption was more than the other guys. He only ran out by about a hundred meters, but where he ran out was in a bog hole, so he had to push his bike out.
“Unfortunately, I had to pull out after the first lap - I injured my hand at our team video shoot last week and it was just too painful to proceed.
“But I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The bikes are all cleaned and prepped and the track is going to be different.
“We will get a sighting lap in the morning and we’ll check it out... hopefully we all come home safely again and get a good result.”
Yamaha AORC Round 1
1. Chris Hollis
2. Toby Price
3. Daniel Milner YAMAHA 1st in E1
4. Josh Green YAMAHA 2nd in E2
5. Geoff Braico
6. Jarrod Bewley
7. Tom McCormack YAMAHA 2nd in E1
8. Scott Keagan
9. Ben Burrell
10. Lachlan Stanford
-- Milner takes win at opening Yamaha AORC
CDR Yamaha’s Daniel Milner was the fastest 250F pilot today in tough, muddy conditions at the first round of the 2013 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) held near Buledelah (NSW).
Milner, 21, from Lang Lang (Victoria) took the win in the Championship E1 Class aboard his YZ250F after the grueling, three-hour cross-country race.
“I’m pretty happy with my result today - I had a few problems out there and lost quite a bit of time, so to finish in front in my class and in third Outright was a good result for me,” Milner said.
“I crashed at one stage, when I was on the back of [Toby] Price. I got back up and was chasing him again, but went too wide around a corner and hit a log with my chain guide.
“It took the chain off, so I had to find a log in the bush to bend the chain guide back, so I could get the chain back on.
“All up I reckon this cost me about three minutes and the opportunity to catch and pass Price, who finished second Outright.
“Thankfully, I didn’t have any more issues after this. I got a consistent pace going and stuck with that for the rest of the race.
“The track was real hard. It was single line and really rocky and choppy. It was also very slick, slippery clay and wet with bog holes to get through.
“Luckily, I was on the YZ250F - which worked a treat in these conditions and had just enough power to get traction.”
Milner said his race plan for tomorrow’s sprint round two was to “put in consistent laps” and: “make sure I finish”.
Milner’s teammate, five-time World Enduro Champion Stefan Merriman, also had a good day aboard his WR450F, placing 13th Outright.
2013 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship
Round 1 & 2 - 16-17 March - Bulahdelah, NSW - Cross Country/Sprint
Round 3 & 4 - 6-7 April - Goomburra, QLD - Enduro
Round 5 & 6 - 25-26 May - Corner Inlet, VIC - Cross Country/Sprint
Round 7 & 8 - 29-30 June - Coonawarra, SA - Sprint/Sprint
Round 9 & 10 - 17-18 August - Bendigo, VIC - Cross Country/Sprint
Round 11 & 12 - 7-8 September - Dungog, NSW - Cross Country/Sprint
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