The curtain has been drawn on this year’s Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship which saw CDR-Yamaha’s Daniel Milner taking out the grand finale at Heathcote in Victoria.
With Milner taking out the outright and E2 win yesterday it means both the Victorian and KTM Enduro Team’s Toby Price have both won six rounds a piece in season 2014.
With Milner’s wins it slotted the 2013 champion into second position in the outright championship, but he had to settle for third in the E2 class, just two points behind Josh Green (Active8 Yamalube Yamaha).
Just 12.731 seconds was the difference between Milner and Price, who tried his hardest to keep Milner honest but was unable to so. “Today went fairly well” said Price who really didn’t need to push that hard. “I didn’t have to ride over the top or anything, seeing we sealed the deal in round 11.
“Today was a bit of fun, we got to cruise along and have a bit of fun. In saying that, there wasn’t much cruising, Daniel was on the pace all day.”
Collecting his second piece of silverware for the weekend was Active8 Yamalube Yamaha’s Beau Ralston.
“It was a tough day today, the track chopped up a lot and it was hard to keep consistent” explained Ralston. “I’m happy with my result and really enjoying learning each race as they come. A big thanks to the whole team” added the former motocross superstar.
Another fourth position went to the newly crowned Transmoto 19 & Under champion, Daniel Sanders. It is without doubt that round 11 and 12 have been Sanders’s strongest rounds in the 2014 championship.
With two fourth places, Sanders managed to finish sixth outright in the championship, and the end result in the 19 & Under Championship saw him winning the series with 297-points to Broc Grabham’s 259.
Fifth outright went to Josh Green who is still struggling with injuries that he suffered from the A4DE. “Today was much better then yesterday” explained Green. “For me, still I’m struggling with injuries, but I did feel that I had a consistent day.”
Milner’s teammate, Chris Hollis was sixth and fifth in the E2. Hollis ended up fifth outright in the championship and dropped back to fourth in the E2 title race.
It was an unfortunate round for Husqvarna’s Lachlan Stanford who ended up seventh outright and sixth in the E2. Stanford, 23, had a goal of finishing in the top five for the round. “Today didn’t go to plan” said Stanford. “I was a bit disappointed on how I rode. I was riding smooth, but I just didn’t quite have the speed I needed. I’ll have a bit of a break now and get myself ready for the ISDE.”
Rounding out the top 10 was Broc Grabham, who finished second to Sanders in the Under-19, with the new E3 champion Glenn Kearney completing the top 10. Kearney did hit the deck pretty hard in the first part of the morning, but all in all the likeable New South Welshman was really pleased and wrapped to walk away with the E3 title under the belt.
“It’s been a really good year” said Kearney. “The only way it would have been better if I were to have won the outright championship. But to finish third behind Toby and Daniel in the outright, I’m pretty happy because they are both world class riders.”
Just missing out on the top 10 in the outright was the new E1 champion, Tom McCormack. McCormack was once again the victor of the E1 class which saw him winning a total of nine rounds. Finishing second in the E1 class, 26.179 seconds behind McCormack was Husqvarna’s Scott Keegan, while it was a remarkable ride from young Nic Tomlinson in third.
Peter Boyle (KTM Enduro Team) and Tom Kite were fourth and fifth.
26-year old Emelie Karlsson wrapped up the season by finishing on a high note, claiming the win in the Women’s class. The new champion for 2014, Jess Gardiner (Balllard’s Motorex Off-Road Team) finished second, with Tayla Jones taking the last step on the podium who was riding a borrowed KTM.
Karlsson’s win leaped frogged her into second position into the championship, finishing just one point ahead of Jones in the final standing.
Sophie Coldiutt and Elizabeth Lee were fourth and fifth respectfully.
Queenslander Derek Grundy took out the Masters division ahead of Trent Lean
and Ian Jenner. Kirk Hutton completed his season with a win in the Vets beating the 2014 champ Damian Smith (Husqvarna Enduro Team) who has bowed out from AORC racing after spending many years at the top of racing. South Australian hotshot Rowan Pumpa was third.
Kawasaki’s Lyndon Snodgrass did all he could to try and stop Wil Ruprecht’s charge towards to taking the J4 crown. The dynamic pair have been at each other for the whole year, so the script was written to plan, with just .284 seconds between Snodgrass and Ruprecht. The end result was just six points in Ruprecht’s favour.
Seth Muller was third in the overall standings, finishing thirty points behind Snodgrass. Victorian’s Stuart Holt was fourth ahead of fellow Victorian Jai Wedlock.
It was another masterful display from the 2014 J3 champion, Ben Kearns as he collected his eleventh round win. Kearns, who has simply been the runaway rider in the class dropped only one round which was in round elven.
Hunter Semmen and Dean De Fazio joined Kearns on the podium.
It was a home round win for Mason Semmens in the J2. Semmens’s finished 23.120 seconds ahead of this year’s champion, Joshua Brierley. Joshua’s brother Mitchell was third, finishing 14 points behind in the overall standings.
Top 10 Outright Round 12 Result:
Daniel Milner (E2)
Toby Price (E2)
Beau Ralston (E2)
Daniel Sanders (U19)
Josh Green (E2)
Chris Hollis (E2)
Lachlan Stanford (E2)
Riley Graham (E2)
Broc Grabham (U19)
Glenn Kearney (E3)
Top 10 Outright Championship:
Toby Price 260
Daniel Milner 218
Glenn Kearney 211
Josh Green 208
Chris Hollis 191
Daniel Sanders 165
Lachlan Stanford 162
Beau Ralston 156
Tom McCormack 150
Geoff Braico 131
In a record-breaking season, KTM Enduro Racing Team rider Toby Price has become the first rider to win a fourth career AORC title, as the Australian Off-Road Championship concluded this weekend at Heathcote in Central Victoria.
Riding a KTM 450 EXC, Price took a 28-point lead into the double-header final and put the issue to bed on Saturday with an unlikely win that aptly illustrated just why he is one of Australia’s most respected off-road racers all time.
Price recovered from a poor start to slowly pick his way through the dust and the traffic, eventually breaching a 30-second gap to leader Beau Ralston and wresting the lead away with just two laps to go.
With the number one plate securely in his keeping Price finished second today behind Daniel Milner and ahead of Ralston, to cap off an incredible year which has seen him contest both desert and off-road racing calendars, finishing second in the KTM Enduro-X series and A4DE, and winning at Hattah, Finke, in the WA Desert Tri-Series, and now, in the AORC as well.
Price’s team mate Peter Boyle pushed hard as he shot for second in the highly-competitive E1 class, finishing eighth outright and second in class yesterday on his KTM 250 EXC-F, but a big crash early today forced him to settle for third.
In the Womens category, KTM’s Tayla Jones suffered a DNF on Saturday before finishing third today, missing out on second in the championship by a single point to Emelie Karlsson, with Jessica Gardiner taking the AORC crown.
KTM Enduro Racing Team Manager Brad Williscroft: “Toby rode awesome yesterday, he had a bad start and just worked his way up from around tenth, and by the time he got into second, he was 30 seconds behind Beau Ralston. Travis and Mick did a super-fast fuel stop for him and he came out just 17 seconds behind. He got real close, dropped it, then caught him again and with two laps to go he got into the lead and held it.
“He wrapped up the championship early and it was a big relief. It’s been a long season, with a lot of hard work by the whole team, and he’s just been unbelievable how he’s ridden. He’s had a few injuries, but he has pushed through, and we got points when we had to, and we got the wins when we were feeling good. He never gives up, and it doesn’t matter what sort of track it is, he seems to adapt quickly to every sort of surface. He’s just a talent. One-of-a-kind really.
“Boyley had a really good start in the cross-country yesterday, and held the lead until the last lap, when MacCormack got him. He really needed that win to try and get past Keegan in the series. Today wasn’t a good day for him with a couple of crashes, and he’d be disappointed, but he still ended up third in the class, which wasn’t too bad.”
Toby Price – KTM 450 EXC. “It’s awesome! This year has just flown by that quick, and before we know it, we’ve done everything. I’m over the moon, the whole KTM team has worked really well, and helped me achieve my goals that I had, which was to get back on the bike after the injury last year and try to win races again. I didn’t think winning a championship would come again so soon, but that’s what we strive for. I definitely wanted to win that one yesterday and get everything done and dusted. And it worked a treat. The 6-day is next, but I’ll have a little bit of a break and let a few things heal up first. And then we’ll be good to go.”
Peter Boyle – KTM 250 EXC-F. “A bit sore in the head today. The track was good yesterday and I got a good start and was running in the top five which was great. But we just couldn’t keep up with those 450s around the track and I slipped back. I think I had to win today and Keegan had to come third, but that second loop I had a crash and hit my head, and bent my brake lever, and had to just finish off the day the best I could. I’d like to say thank you to the KTM Enduro Team and KTM Australia, for giving me the opportunity to compete on their bike.”
The new-look Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team has added two off-road titles to its maiden season, as the Australian Off-Road Championships wound up at Heathcote in Central Victoria.
Just three weeks after the team won two Australian Enduro Championships at the four-day, Team Manager Glenn Kearney took his career-first AORC title when he powered his Husqvarna FE 501 to two more demonstrative victories in the E3 category, keeping alive a winning streak that was begun at round three.
In fact Kearney dropped just one class win from the 12 rounds, when he suffered his worst finish of the series – a second place at Bulahdelah.
Kearney iced his season’s cake by finishing third on the AORC Outright standings, sharing the podium with KTM’s victorious Toby Price, and Daniel Milner.
In the Vets class, Damo Smith and his Husqvarna FE 350 completed an almost identical domination to that of Kearney, using a Saturday win to secure the 2014 championship, before taking only his second runner-up finish of the year in today’s final round.
Today’s ride was Smith’s last in AORC competition, the 39-year-old Central Coast rider and seven-time Australian champion winner has decided to scale back his activities for 2015, and he was solemnly and respectfully recognised by his peers at the end of his final circuit today, with a guard of honour …and a dunking in the nearby dam!
Of the other Husqvarna men, Lachy Stanford finished seventh outright and fifth in the Premier E2 class, while Scott Keegan fought off the attentions of KTM’s Peter Boyle to maintain his second place in the E1 championship.
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Glenn Kearney – FE501 “Really stoked to get the win in the class and wrap the championship up yesterday. It’s actually my first AORC championship, because it didn’t exist when I went to America. But to have everything come together with managing the team, finishing on the outright podium, and winning the class is great. Together with Lachy riding so well all year, and Scotty finishing second in E1, and Damo obviously dominating the vets, I think it was a really good first year for the team, and I couldn’t be happier really as Team Manager.”
Lachlan Stanford FE 450 “I didn’t have the best weekend. I don’t really look forward to cross-country format, but surprisingly I did pretty good. And got 5th outright – so I’m starting to like them. I felt really good in the Moto, just real comfortable on the bike, and I had fun, just sat there the whole race. Today I felt comfortable and smooth, but I just didn’t have the outright pace; the boys were pulling big gaps on me. Disappointing, but it just gives me more hunger for next year.”
Scott Keegan – FE 250 “I’m pretty happy today. I came away with second in the E1 championship which is what I was hoping for. With the cross-country I probably struggled a bit in the first three laps with arm pump from being a bit tense. So I just had to find the flow, I could see Boyley yesterday but I didn’t go above and beyond trying to get him because I knew what I had to do. Then today I was pushing very hard because I felt good, like I had a win in me. I was close, but it wasn’t close enough. It would’ve been nice to finish with a win, but it is what it is. Glenn’s got a FE 450 for me for the six Day, which should suit my laid-back riding style a bit better I think. I’m looking forward to it.”
Damo Smith – FE 350 “I was pretty happy to wrap up the title yesterday and take the pressure off a bit, and then have a bit of fun today. I got the guard of honour as I came through the last round today, which was pretty cool. Pretty much all the pro-boys just made a big arch, then threw a bucket of water over me and threw me in the dam! It was one of the best things ever, like I had just won a world title or something. But it’s been great – to get the four-day and the AORC title for Husky. We’ve had a terrific season.”
Husaberg Enduro Racing Team rider Geoff Braico has put the finishing touches to the final season of Husaberg as a factory-backed entity in Australian off-road motorcycle racing, at the weekend’s Australian Off-Road Championship finale at Heathcote, in Central Victoria.
Braico became the sole flag-bearer of the distributor-backed team in Husaberg’s final AORC after Husaberg teammate Jarrod Bewley withdrew before the event due to a shoulder injury.
With the re-unification of Husqvarna and Husaberg, 2014 was the 25th and final year for new Husaberg models, and Braico’s Husaberg FE 350 was in fact the very last to leave the warehouse in Western Australia
He showcased the brand prominently one last time on Saturday afternoon when he posted the fourth fastest overall time on his way to ninth overall, but he finished 12th today after a couple of early crashes.
Braico finished the Australian Off-Road Championship in 10th place outright, with teammate Jarrod Bewley and his FE501 taking 11th spot despite being unable to face the starter at Heathcote.
Braico was also seventh in the Premier E2 class, with a best result of third in the third round of the series in Queensland, while Bewley finished third in the E3 class.
Geoff Braico – FE450 – “My weekend wasn’t too bad, I got ninth overall yesterday and did the fourth-fastest lap time which was pretty cool. Today I crashed twice in slippery conditions this morning and it just sort of ruined any chance of a top-10 so I didn’t get to give the ‘Berg quite the send-off that I wanted to, but we showed some promise. I want to say a big thanks to Jeff Leisk and everybody involved in the Husaberg Team for the fantastic support in the last four or five years, they put a huge amount of faith in me so I can’t thank them enough. Also a huge thanks to Drew for all his help; he’s gone above and beyond what I expected this year so that’s fantastic. It’s been a great period, and it’s a little sad to see it come to an end, but it was great to be a part of.”
Active8 Yamaha’s Tom McCormack has added the 2014 E1 (250cc) Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) victory to his resume after winning the final two rounds of the championship held in Heathcote, Victoria, over the weekend.
McCormack entered the final two rounds with the championship lead and a comfortable gap back to his nearest rivals but was determined to make every post a winner and out to stamp his authority on the E1 division in 2014.
Things started off badly for McCormack on Saturday when he fell on the opening lap of the three hour sprint race but he quickly regained his composure and charged back through the field to take round win and in the process lock down the E1 championship with a round to spare.
McCormack again cut lose on Sunday and took the E1 victory making it nine rounds wins out of the 12 rounds and left no doubt that he is the 2014 E1 Australian Off Road Champion. This victory combined with his E1 A4DE win caps off a great year for McCormack and one that he will long remember.
“The past 12 months have been a bit of a dream run for me and I have been able to meet more goals again today,” McCormack explains. “This championship means a lot to me as I have put in an enormous amount of work to make it happen as have the people around me.
“The Active8 Yamaha team have been unreal and have been a huge part of my success. AJ Roberts is always there to lend a hand or pass on some advice and the 2014 Yamaha YZ250F is just an amazing bike.
“Thank you to everyone that has helped and supported me this year, Yamaha as our team sponsors as well as the series sponsors and everyone involved in the organisation of the AORC.”
Josh Green bought his YZ450F home in second place in the premier E2 (450cc) division after the championship wrapped up. Green came into the final rounds with an ankle injury sustained at the recent A4DE and was obviously below his best but soldiered on all weekend determined to hang onto a podium position in both class and outright honours. Unfortunately, he just slipped off the podium in the outright finish but managed to hold his second place in the E2 class.
“I knew this weekend was going to be tough as my ankle isn’t 100% but I tried to do the best I could with what I had. I’m not too disappointed as a felt I did as well as I could over the weekend, although it would have been nice to finish in the top three Outright, as I had been in contention all season.
Stefan Granquist matched the results of Green, also taking second place, but in the E3 (over 450cc) division. Granquist was looking good on Saturday and heading the E3 field before he had a big fall and damaged his bike. Sunday also wasn’t kind to Granquist but he was able to maintain his WR in second place for the E3 championship.
Beau Ralston was on fire during Saturday’s event barnstorming his way to a second place outright finish, his best result of the season. He backed that up with another solid performance on Sunday and finished an impressive sixth in class, eighth outright in his debut off road season. Ralston more than showed he is a capable performer in the off road game and will only improve as he gains more experience.
Team Manager, AJ Roberts, was happy with his teams’ performance through the 2014 AORC.
“Having four riders has been a massive undertaking and throughout the year all of them experienced some highs and lows so it’s been a credit to the riders that they have all continued to work hard and take a professional approach to their racing,” AJ offers.
“Tom proved that he is the man this year in the E1 class and he basically dominated that class for the majority of the season. He deserved his win and there was no question that he was the best rider this year.
“Josh again worked hard and was close to eye off a championship but untimely injuries slowed him. So many things have to go right in 12rounds of racing and injuries at the wrong time of the year didn’t do him any favours but he is a fighter and I can’t question his commitment to racing.
“Stefan continues to roll along like a diesel train and had some things gone his way at some of the rounds, he may well have been a lot closer in the points in the final round while Beau has impressed me with the way he has taken to off road and I believe he has found his niche in dirt bike racing.
“I would also like to thank Yamaha, Active8 Refrigeration and our team sponsors for their support and belief this year. To have four riders, all at the highest level, takes a lot and our sponsored delivered all season long,” AJ ends.
The Active8 Yamaha team now switch to safari mod and will be the team behind the campaign of Rod Faggotter and Shane Diener at the upcoming Australian Safari to be held in WA, later this month.
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